NCB response to Budget statement

In response to the Budget statement on March 15, Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said:

“With both main political parties in England making the availability of childcare a top priority, it is crucial that we do not lose sight of the quality and inclusiveness of early education that children receive as part of this offer.

“At the National Children’s Bureau, we are unashamedly focused on high standards in all types of provision for children and young people, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, especially in the vitally important early years.

“We welcome the Chancellor’s commitments to invest a further £4bn into childcare and early education, to expand and extend the availability of the early years childcare entitlement, and to increase support for England’s working families.

“At a time when families across the country are struggling to make ends meet and the cost of childcare and early education has been spiralling, these proposals are a significant step forward for families.

“We are concerned, however, that the measures announced today are not sufficient to ensure that more children benefit from a high-quality early education and that they do not do enough for the early years workforce or the sustainability of the early years sector.

“Plans to increase child to staff ratios are disappointing and we have been clear that we do not support such measures because they risk reducing the quality of early years provision and putting a further strain on the overstretched workforce.

“We welcome the measures to encourage more people to join a critically under-resourced childcare workforce, but have doubts whether these measures go far enough.

“In fact, the retention and recruitment crisis extends beyond early years and encompasses the entire children’s workforce. We need an integrated children’s workforce strategy to renew and rebuild our most important asset. Reform will only be successful if there is a workforce to deliver it.”

A quote from the NCB CEO on the 2023 Budget