Winchester & Chandler’s Ford MP, Steve Brine, led a special debate in Parliament on the future of nurseries and early years.
The MP, who chairs the cross-party group for Childcare and Early Education, told MPs a “complete overhaul” of the system was required for it to be sustainable in the future.
He said; “Childcare providers really have been the fourth emergency service during the pandemic, so it’s important to keep the show on the road.
“As the National Day Nurseries Association say in their recent report, A Plan for Jobs needs a Plan for Childcare. But many providers feel they have reached the end of the road and they discuss market failure with me.
“The impact across our country is stark if we get this wrong. We need a complete overhaul of the whole system. I would like to see a funding mechanism that increases rates along with rising costs for wages, pension, inflation – which all erode the balance. While the £66m increase this year we managed to secure in the spending review was a very welcome cash injection, sadly many settings saw it as a funding cut in real terms once costs were taken into account.
“Ultimately, early years is about the building blocks of a successful society and economy."
MPs from across the country spoke about the challenges facing the PVI sector (private, voluntary, independent nurseries) but also the specific issues before the Maintained Nursery Sector which includes Lanterns in Winchester.
And in addition to mentioning settings including Kingsworthy pre-school, Compton & Shawford and Colden Common Steve Brine made special mention of St Paul’s pre-school after Lead Teacher Silvia Brown had written in advance of the debate. She said; “I hope that in your debate, you are able to put across to the House the importance of sound Early Years Care and Education. The future of our country, our leaders, our doctors, engineers, teachers, key workers … rests in the hands of Early Years teachers and practitioners.”
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