Report shows less money spent on early years

A new report has shown that “real spend” per child on early years, childcare and Sure Start dropped by a quarter between 2009 and 2013.

The Coalition’s Record on the Under Fives: Policy, Spending and Outcomes 2010–2015, published by London School of Economics and the Universities of Manchester and York, shows a fall in spending per child from £2508 to £1867.

Also revealed was that the tax benefit reforms have hit families with children under the age of five harder than any other household type, as well as the following.

  • Take-up of the free entitlement scheme for three- and four-year-olds rose between 2010 and 2014.
  • Fewer than half of funded disadvantaged two-year-olds were in a provision with a qualified teacher or early years practitioner as of January 2014.
  • Early years staff qualifications have improved overall, but there are gaps in qualifications at private, voluntary and independent (PVI) provisions compared to children’s centres and early years practitioners.

In conclusion the report says that “although it is too early to judge the effects of current policies on children’s outcomes, it is not too early to raise concerns”.

Neil Leitch of the Pre-School Learning Alliance said: “This report highlights just how much more needs to be done to ensure that families — and particularly poorer families — are being adequately supported.”

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