Early Years Alliance responds to Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan

The Early Years Alliance has reacted following the Labour Party’s pledge to invest £112 million in the Early Years Pupil Premium as part of its Children’s Recovery Plan 

The early years are crucial for determining children’s life chances, however, the pandemic has significantly disrupted development and learning opportunities.

The Children’s Recovery Plan stated,:

“The Education Endowment Foundation has reported that language development has been delayed as the measures taken to control the spread of Covid-19 have deprived children of the social contact and experiences needed to develop vocabulary.

“However, the early years pupil premium is significantly lower than for children of school age. The Early Years Pupil Premium is worth only £302 per year, significantly less than for pupils at any other age in schools. This level of lower investment is entirely out of keeping with the reality, which is that a significant proportion of the attainment gap emerges during the early years – with disadvantaged pupils 4.6 months behind their more affluent peers, which has remained largely unchanged since 2013.”

Commenting, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said: “We welcome the fact that Labour has recognised the huge impact the pandemic has had on the early learning and development of many young children, and there’s no doubt that a pledge to increase the early years pupil premium is a step in the right direction. That said, it is vital that this forms part of a wider package of much-needed early years investment, as increasing pupil premium alone, without taking any further action to ensure that our vital sector remains financially sustainable, is not enough to alleviate the significant challenges facing the sector. 

“Early years providers have been a vital lifeline for parents during an extremely challenging period, and we know how important quality early education and care is to children’s long-term development. But unless funding rates for the early entitlement offers increase substantially, we will see more and more settings forced to closed and the sector will continue to lose qualified professionals as a result of low pay, making it extremely unlikely that there will enough places available for the young children who need them. 

“As such, we hope that this commitment is part of a much wider packages of measures that Labour plans to roll out that ensure that our sector is given adequate financial support to ensure that providers can continue to deliver the high-quality care and education that children and families need and deserve.”

Date Published: April 19, 2022