Commenting on Support for Childcare and the Early Years, a report by the House of Commons Education Committee, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"This important report on early years gets right to the heart of the matter. The Education Committee has clearly understood the extraordinary pressures in the early years sector and has recognised that staff turnover and the number of nurseries closing is unprecedented.
"Every day, more settings face the prospect of closure, includingn our maintained nursery schools. It’s maintained nursery schools which have been shown to guarantee the highest quality early education, particularly for young children from disadvantaged backgrounds or with SEND. We were pleased to see the committee endorse recommendations from unions and the early years sector to increase childcare entitlement subsidies and remove business rates for nurseries.
"The Committee has also noted the overwhelming opposition to ratio changes from the sector, which look to worsen quality and safety in the early years. They have said that Government should monitor and reverse this reform should education and quality outcomes suffer. We say that our children’s education can’t be put at risk; the changes on the adult:child ratios must be undone imminently.
"We wholeheartedly agree with the Committee’s praise of early-year professionals, who are crucial in generating good outcomes and positive experiences for young children. However, to retain and recruit these staff, pay levels need to reflect the vital work they do; retaining these staff is linked to pay.