Responding to a report by the NAHT on the Government’s 30 hours free childcare offer, Cllr Roy Perry, Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:
“Councils are committed to ensuring that parents have access to high quality, flexible childcare so that all children get the best start in life.
“Since last September, councils and providers have been delivering the Government’s commitment to an additional 15 hours of free childcare for working parents, bringing the total to 30 hours.
“However this report reaffirms concerns councils have had that the funding behind the scheme is not enough to secure this provision for everyone who wants it. We have previously warned about the impact on quality, with a risk that insufficient funding will lead providers to employ less qualified staff or struggle to provide enough support for children with additional needs or disabilities.
“As we approach the end of the scheme’s first full year, the Government needs to carefully evaluate and learn from the experiences of local areas to ensure that there is no reduction in the quality of early education and care provided.
“Councils need to have both adequate funding and sufficient local flexibility to work with their providers to ensure that all families have access to high quality care that meets their needs.”