Provision and use of Pre-School childcare in Britain.
Key Research Findings Seminar at Institute of Education, Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL, London.
July 24th 2015
The research was undertaken with the aim of understanding childcare provision and usage in Britain, with the view to contribute to policy development.
An engaging debate was held at the seminar at UCL, in the midst of the graduation ceremonies. It sparked much conversation and thought about issues of childcare, work force, viability, education and childcare.
The research titled, ‘Provision and use of Pre-School childcare in Britain’, a secondary analysis of childcare using large-scale national datasets, published on 24th July by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), warns of the possibility of a shortage in the childcare work force.
Chairing the seminar was Emeritus Professor of Education, Peter Moss and research summaries were given by Antonia Simon and Charlie Owen, with a panel including Jill Rutter, Family and Childcare Trust, Claire Schofield, National Day Nurseries, and Neil Leitch, Pre school Learning Alliance.
It appears that in 2015, the sector has developed considerably in some ways but there are glaring inadequacies which are preventing Early Childhood Services moving into a world class provision, a previous goal. Professor Moss indicated that the work force remains poorly paid, access needs improving , and we currently have strong central control with a fragmented system of provision and delivery.
The research on the work force was led by Antonia Simon and will be available on a new website at beginning of August.
Key findings were; that the work force is strongly gendered, 98% are female, qualifications have increased but pay is persistently low. It was interesting the educational qualifications of mothers had the most beneficial aspect to enable young children to access good quality childcare, both in amount and type.
For the majority of parents, the access to different types of childcare, was important, and a combined use of formal and informal provision was the most normal pattern.
The debate from the attendees and panel raised some fascinating questions and created a consensus that this debate and research would be a very useful if our forward to the DFE.
The Early Years Sector has had a considerable degree of travel over the last decade and it would seem that there is still much room for development to allow a system which delivers quality provision and universal accessibility, indeed a world class provision.
‘We have a system which is creaking at the seams. We need to make changes rather than add on more to a ramshackle approach’. Professor Peter Moss
Sue Martin FRSA
Consultant in Early Years Childhood Services
SmithMartin Partnership LLP