Focus on quality, not quantity, say early years experts

The TES is reporting that early years experts have suggested politicians should focus on the quality of childcare provision rather than competing over how many free places can be provided…

An open letter from leading academics and advisors states that the three main parties should put more emphasis on improving the skills of people working with young children. Currently, two in five private nurseries have no graduate-level staff.

Professor Tony Bertram, president of Early Education, said: “This election has seen promises to increase the number of hours of childcare for working families, and much less discussion about the quality of early education, especially for the most disadvantaged children.”

…Beatrice Merrick, chief executive of Early Education, said: “Politicians of all parties clearly think offering more hours of free childcare will appeal to parents, but they need to look rigorously at the evidence of whether that is good use of scarce public funds. One clear lesson from every previous expansion of early years provision is that quality does not keep up with quality when the sector is pressured to grow too fast.

“We feel the priorities have tipped too far in the wrong direction and there is too much emphasis on quantity over quality. We recognise that some parties are looking at this issue, but as politicians work on the detail of their proposals, we want to make sure they don’t leave quality behind in the rush for greater numbers…”

 

See the letter in full from Early Education at: Election statement from Early Education’s President and Vice Presidents

 

What do you make of these comments from Early Education?

Do they have a fair point in suggesting that the focus on the numbers of free hours of childcare that will be offered is ignoring the more important issue of how good the provision actually is?

Anything you would add? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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