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Early years groups criticise plans to promote school-based childcare

Early years groups have said that government moves to make schools publish details of their own childcare provision alongside their academic results is an attempt to prioritise school-based early education over that provided by the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector.

The decision will require schools to publish information about what childcare is on offer in primary and secondary schools, ranging from full-time nurseries to holiday and after-school provision, alongside their academic performance tables.

The Department for Education says the move will “support parents to make the best childcare decisions for their families” and help them access the 15-hours a week of free childcare for three- and four-year-olds.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said: “The DfE has made its desire for a school-led early years system very clear, and this would appear to be yet another initiative aimed at promoting school-based childcare provision over and above the PVI sector. It is vital that parents are well-informed about all types of early years provision, and so we hope that the government will also be looking at how they can use existing communications channels, such as family information services, to ensure parents are aware of all the available childcare options in their local area.”