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Concerns over school childcare provision plans

Concerns over school childcare provision plans

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said parents in England will be given the right to request schools provide childcare for the full working day during term time and in the holidays. But the childcare sector has voiced concerns about the plans.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said the government opted to remove staff qualification and ratio requirements for out-of-hours providers last year despite significant opposition.

“We are concerned that the quality of wraparound provision available to children and families is likely to be highly variable," he said. He added that the plans appear to have been driven by the government’s desire to extend childcare provision, rather than “what is best for children”.

June O’Sullivan, chief executive of London Early Years Foundation said the policy could be used as "as a backdoor for decreasing childcare ratios”.

She also raised concerns about the potential for schools to deliver high-quality childcare, pointing to findings earlier this year that academy chains were struggling to close the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils. "The policy is based on the assumption that all schools are good,” she said.

"Why is the government not talking to the sector about a partnership with us? We need to do this in partnership," she said.