Nuffield Foundation and Fawcett Society Reports Call for Early Years Overhaul

Nuffield Foundation and Fawcett Society Reports Call for Early Years Overhaul

Two new reports have called for significant changes to be made in the early years sector. These reports come at a time when the government had seemed determined to make changes, potentially on a scale not seen for some years. However, with the recent political turmoil, it remains to be seen whether the incoming government expected in September will take up their proposals.

The Nuffield Foundation report argues that the current early years system is not fit for purpose and calls for a whole system review of childcare. While the UK’s childcare provision is something to be proud of, the fact it has become so integral to peoples’ lives means it is now trying to do much more than was originally intended. The report recommends a new strategy focussed on provision for all children’s’ needs in the round, ensuring choice of care, tackling disadvantage and addressing early childhood poverty.

Meanwhile, the Fawcett society has also released a report, this time looking at the approaches taken to childcare by countries with similar welfare provision to the UK. It points out that despite the UK’s broad childcare entitlement, it still generally spends less on childcare than other countries, leading to higher costs for parents. It also argues that the funding system itself is unwieldy and inefficient. Based on this research, PACEY who sponsored the report are proposing a three point plan which would:

- Improve integration of family and childcare support services at a local level

- Reform the early education funding system

- Put in place a national workforce plan

They are concerned however that governments have a tendency to tinker with regulations rather than undertake the hard work that reform actually requires. Taken together, however, these two reports make plain the case for new reforms in the early years sector and that will be the challenge not just for the incoming governments, but governments for some time to come.

The Nuffield Foundation report can be found here: https://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Bringing-up-the-next-generation-Nuffield-Foundation.pdf

The Fawcett Society report can be found here: https://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=88773740-12ac-40d8-9921-217f3228363d