Early Years Digest

6th December, 2023


BBC News - What is the plan for 30 hours of free childcare and how will it work?

The government has announced more details about the extra help with childcare costs which it promised in the Spring budget. The UK has some of the world's most expensive childcare, and there are concerns that the extra money is not enough to meet the demand for childcare places.

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The Standard - 'Government cares more about pubs and shops': Early years organisations feel left out in autumn statement

The sector warns an increase in national living wage will contribute to the rising costs for early years providers. Early years organisations have called out Jeremy Hunt for ignoring the sector in his autumn statement on Wednesday.

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nursery kindergarten teacher

BBC News - Childcare providers welcome £400m funding but say more support needed

The government is to invest £400m in its plans to expand free childcare for working parents in England from April. The Department for Education (DfE) has also announced an increase in funding rates for nursery places.

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The Guardian - Can the minister for children deliver the government’s flagship early years scheme?

Following the announcement of a £400m funding package, David Johnston conducts a charm offensive over its delivery. With a little more than four months to go until the first part of the government’s new flagship childcare offering kicks in, David Johnston, minister for children, families and wellbeing, is now in charge of making sure it actually happens.

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Student doing maths on abacus at elementary school

Early Years Educator - DfE confirms average local authority funding rates from April 2024

As the Department for Education (DfE) announces national average hourly funding rates, the sector warns the increase is insufficient, and adds up to more early years settings closures.

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Close up of a businesswoman using a calculator.

Nursery World - Autumn Budget: Increase to minimum wage will 'tip many early years settings over the edge'

The sector has warned that the announcement by the Chancellor to increase the national living wage by almost 10 per cent will risk the livelihood of many early years settings.

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couple work on laptop computer at modern living room indoor home

The Conversation - Raising a child from birth to 18 in UK now costs more than £200,000 – here’s why

Parenting has become more expensive and time-consuming. In its annual cost of a child report, the Child Poverty Action Group – a charity that works to alleviate poverty and social exclusion – estimated the cost of raising a child in the UK until the age of 18 in 2022 at £150,000 for couples and over £200,000 for single parents. In 2021, the cost of bringing up a child stood at £194,000 for a single parent.

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Children and Young People Now - Early years leaders praise Ofsted plans for complaints procedure reform

Early years leaders have praised Ofsted plans to push forward with reforms to its complaints process, allowing providers to contact the inspectorate to raise concerns following inspections.

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Cute baby brinking from a bottle

The Guardian - Iceland boss hits out at parent ‘exploitation’ in baby milk market

The boss of Iceland has hit out at “exploitation” of new parents and joined calls for a price cap on baby formula after the competition watchdog found evidence of greedflation by leading manufacturers.

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happy little child play game and have fun, education lessons in colorful kinder garden playground indoors

BBC News - Cost of living: Childcare before breakfast clubs could cost £1

Parents who use free childcare before school breakfast clubs could soon be charged for it. A price of £1 per day has been proposed by Rhondda Cynon Taf council for primary and special schools looking after children.

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Ballot box with person casting vote on blank voting slip, grungy background

Children and Young People Now - One in 14 people trust Conservative Party plans to reduce childcare costs

Voters are sceptical the Conservative Party can reduce the cost of childcare facing families, a survey has revealed.

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Mother giving warning to young boy using smartphone

The Conversation - Gentle parenting can be really hard on parents, new research suggests

The idea of gentle parenting has been around since the 1930s but received increased attention over the past few years on social media and blogs, as well as in popular books, magazines and newspapers. Despite its growing popularity, what remains unclear is what, exactly, this parenting style entails.

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Wendy Ratcliffe

Nursery World - Interview – Wendy Ratcliff, Ofsted's Principal Officer for Early Education 

Nursery World's Catherine Gaunt spoke to Wendy Ratcliff, Ofsted's Principal Officer for Early Education, about the findings of Ofsted's Annual Report for 2022-23.

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Newborn baby first days with his father

The Guardian - Singing to babies is vital to help them learn language, say scientists

Study finds infants first understand language via rhythm and tone rather than individual sounds.

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Picture from Belong Chester

Children and Young People Now - Integrated children's nursery opens at adult care village

The first intergenerational care village in the North West has opened in Chester, promoting older people and younger children learning and living together through a day nursery.

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The Conversation - How minimum wage rises will affect the early years education and childcare sector

Expanding access to early years care is vital for addressing socio-economic inequality, educating society’s youngest members, enabling early interventions in children’s lives and helping more parents access the labour market or increase their participation in work.

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portrait stressed sad young woman outdoors. City urban life style stress

HR Brew - More than 80% of working mothers in the UK struggle when returning from maternity leave due to lack of support, study finds

A new report sheds light on some of the challenges faced by moms in the UK upon returning to work after maternity leave.

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Children and Young People Now - DfE proposes cut to councils’ retained early years funding allowance

The Department for Education has proposed to reduce the proportion of early years funding allowed to be retained by local authorities to deliver functions like staffing, family support and the administration of the funded childcare offer.

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Teacher reading her pupils a story at the elementary school

BERA - What are we educating for in early childhood education?

Jo Warin, Professor of Gender and Social Relations in Education at Lancaster University, covers what is being done now at the current time by educators (what are we educating for), and it can also be understood as an invitation to consider what we could or should be educating for when we free our imaginations to capture the very best aims we can express for the next generation.

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Rear view of students attentively listening to male teacher in the classroom

Nursery World - Ofsted highlights early years workforce crisis in annual report

Ofsted’s annual report highlights the impact of the early years workforce crisis on the sector, and the growing number of unqualified staff in nurseries and pre-schools.

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Save the Children - The Princess of Wales gives royal backing to uk baby banks to support families and children this winter

The Princess of Wales has given her backing to baby banks across the UK today to shine a light on the crucial support they provide for families with babies and young children.

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happy child kids group have fun and play at kindergarden indoor preschool education concept with  teacher-1

Early Education - Early years funding rates for 2024-25 still fall short for 3- and 4-year-olds

The Department for Education have today announced the funding rates which will apply from April 2024, including for the new entitlements launching from that date. They have also published the response to the consultation on the new funding rates.

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Early Education - How nurseries show community leadership and create happier local neighbourhoods -

Nurseries are at the heart of enabling children to positively contribute to the communities they live in. Through their work with children and families, nurseries can help to create happier and healthier neighbourhoods that are more cohesive. In this blogpost, Mona Sakr explores how early years providers might show this kind of community leadership.

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London - Palace of Westminster, UK

UK Parliament - Quality of early years education up for debate in the Lords

Members of the House of Lords discussed the importance of good quality early years education provision and environments, particualrly since the Covid-19 pandemic, in a debate on Thursday 30 November.

Read the report here
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Department for Education - Press release: Date set for new childcare offer applications

Applications for the first wave of the rollout of the largest ever expansion of free childcare for working parents will open on 2 January, the government has announced on Wednesday 29th November.

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Nursery World - PVI settings invited to take part in early language trial

PVI and state-maintained nurseries are being invited to take part in a trial of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme.

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Young school girl reading a book at the library

Scottish Childminding Association - Early Learning and Childcare Audit 2023

SCMA has published its annual independent Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) Audit 2023, which is commissioned by the Scottish Government. The Audit warns the local implementation of ELC expansion and funded hours policy continues to have a serious impact on the annual decline of the childminding workforce.

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Charming mother showing images in a book to her cute little son at home

Totaljobs & Fawcett Society - Paths to parenthood: Uplifting new mothers at work

A new report has been launched to provide actionable steps for employers to become more family-friendly, in order to improve retention, productivity, and the lives of their employees

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Middle Eastern Muslim mother playing with her little baby in green park and holding him in arms

University of Essex - Worrying gap between time parents spend on childcare

Parents in the UK are spending more time on childcare than ever before, but some children are still missing out more than others, according to new research from the University of Essex.

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Happy child next to a doctor in hospital ward

University of Leeds - Early education provides sustained benefits

The more time pre-schoolers spent in childcare during the first year of the pandemic, the more their vocabulary grew, a new study has found. Research led by the University of Leeds found that attending Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) during the Covid-19 outbreak had sustained benefits for youngsters’ development. 

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Small group of children eating apples together, shallow DOF

Theirworld - 100+ organisations call for G20 action on early years crisis

The more time pre-schoolers spent in childcare during the first year of the pandemic, the more their vocabulary grew, a new study has found. Research led by the University of Leeds found that attending Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) during the Covid-19 outbreak had sustained benefits for youngsters’ development. 

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Rear View of Young Office Workers in Casual Outfits Listening to a Top Manager Explaining Something Using Illustrations.

Connections and Conversations: High Quality Interactions In The Early Years

A one-day conferance explore the themes of Communication and Language, with a mixture of keynotes and practical workshops from leading experts in the field.

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