Thank you for writing to me about your concerns about the Government’s disappointing lack of commitment to ensuring that all children have access to high quality childcare, led by early years teachers.
As you point out, the announcement by the Childcare Minister that he is dropping the commitment to increase the number of early years teachers in nurseries, starting in the most disadvantaged areas, is unbelievable.
As you will know, it is very well established by research that investing in high quality teaching for early years children is essential to give those children that are the most likely to fall behind the best possible chance of enhanced development. Without it, the current relatively small gap of around four months in the early years will just grow through their school years, so that they will start adult life with significantly fewer qualifications and often be unable to access higher paid jobs, with all that implies.
Investing in high quality early years childcare seems of such obvious benefit, for all children and for society in general, that it is hard to understand – or forgive – a decision to go back on increasing the number of graduate Early Years teachers in nurseries, and it is certainly not one that a Labour Government would support.
We are committed to transition to a qualified graduate-led workforce, by making careers in Early Years considerably more attractive, in terms of salary and training opportunities, as well as to halting the very damaging Conservative closures of over a thousand Sure Start centres and increasing the amount of money available for Sure Start.
I have passed on your concerns to the Secretary of State for Education and as soon as I have received a response I will contact you again.
Thank you again for raising this very important issue with me.