Wide welcome for ten year child care strategy

Child care campaign groups have welcomed the government’s
ambitious ten year strategy for child care but warned that to
achieve the changes outlined, major investment over many years will
be necessary.

4Children’s director Anne Longfield said that the
strategy’s publication marked “a defining moment in
this country’s attitude to children” and congratulated
the government on the plan’s ambition but warned that
delivery would be challenging.

4Children estimates that about £1.4 billion a year over six
years will be needed to provide the expended schools provision

Child poverty campaigners have also welcomed the strategy but
warned that childcare will still be very expensive, especially for
large families. 

The ten year child care strategy which was published last week 

• Paid maternity leave extended to nine months  from April
2007, with a goal of a full year by the end of the next
• An increase to £300 a week of the childcare element of
the Working Tax Credit from next April.
• The current entitlement for three and four year olds to
free nursery education will be increased to 12½ hours a week,
38 weeks a year from 2006, and 15 hours a week by 2010, with a long
term goal of 20 hours free early education and child care a
• 2500 children’s centres by 2008 and 3500 by 2010,
though not all will provide child care.
• A new duty on local authorities to secure enough child care
to meet local needs. A guarantee of an out of school child care
place for all children from 3 to 14 between 8am and 6pm very
weekday by 2010.           
• Major workforce reforms, including “full day care
settings” to be led by a graduate early years professional. 
A single qualifications framework for early years and childcare
workers. “Working with pre-school children should have as
much status as a profession as teaching children in schools”
says the strategy.
• £135 million a year from April 2006 for a
“transformation fund” to build the quality and
sustainability of the child care workforce.
• Childminders will have strong links to children’s
centres and extended schools via childminding networks, and will
receive more training.
• A new regulation and inspection regime, to improve
standards and give parents more information.


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