Government includes early years in next step of recovery plan

The Department for Education has announced its next step in the Government’s education recovery plan to ensure no child loses out on their education as a result of the pandemic.Department for Education logo

A total of £1.4 billion is being invested across education including some funding for the early years sector. 

Within the investment announced, £153 million will provide the opportunity for evidence-based professional development for early years practitioners, including through new programmes focusing on key areas such as speech and language development for the youngest children.

Stella Ziolkowski, NDNA’s Director of Quality and Training, said: “The early education and childcare sector was facing a workforce crisis even before the Coronavirus pandemic hit. The investment in early years professionals’ will be really welcome as we know that a well-trained, experienced and properly rewarded workforce has the biggest impact on children’s development and learning outcomes.

“Nurseries and childcare settings tell us they are struggling to recruit or be able to release staff for existing professional development opportunities. Early years is very different from other industries with a legal requirement to maintain specific staff to child ratio. It’s important that funding of additional training for staff is sufficient and provides backfill to free up staff to attend.
“Today’s announcement needs to herald the start of better investment in our vital early years sector. The Government’s own Education Recovery Commissioner recognises that more needs to be done given the impact of the pandemic. Young children have lived large parts of their lives under lockdown conditions and have missed out on so much.

“Children and providers in early years need support now. One immediate measure could be to bring the Early Years Pupil Premium in line with the primary school rates. However, the Government also need to address the long-term underfunding of the sector. If we are to address the attainment gap and truly build back better, we must invest in our youngest children as these earliest years form the foundations of lifelong learning and development.”

The announcement also included:

  • £1 billion for national tutoring revolution which will see up to 100 million tutoring hours for children and young people across England
  • Further investment of over £250 million to help give 500,000 teachers world-leading training 
  • This package is a further instalment in the government’s work to ensure no child loses out on their education as a result of the pandemic

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“Young people have sacrificed so much over the last year and as we build back from the pandemic, we must make sure that no child is left behind.

“This next step in our long-term catch up plan should give parents confidence that we will do everything we can to support children who have fallen behind and that every child will have the skills and knowledge they need to fulfil their potential.”

Education Recovery Commissioner Sir Kevan Collins said:
“The pandemic has caused a huge disruption to the lives of England’s children.

“Supporting every child to get back on track will require a sustained and comprehensive programme of support.

“The investments in teaching quality and tutoring announced today offer evidence-based support to a significant number of our children and teachers. But more will be needed to meet the scale of the challenge.”

Read more here.