You are here: News Response to the National Audit Office report 'Preparations to extend early years entitlement for working parents in England'

In response to the National Audit Office report 'Preparations to extend early years entitlement for working parents in England', Lydia Hodges, Head of Coram Family and Childcare, said:

The National Audit Office’s report on the challenges facing the rollout of the new early years entitlements is deeply concerning. The findings, that two thirds of local authorities do not feel confident in meeting demand for the September expansion, and even lower confidence rates in meeting the September 2025 milestone, echo the findings of Coram Family and Childcare’s annual childcare survey this year and raise clear questions about the ability of the current system to provide the places needed for the expansion.

Providing the 85,000 new places that the NAO estimates are required by 2025 will be incredibly challenging for a sector already struggling to recruit and retain skilled staff, an issue highlighted in today’s NAO report and in our annual childcare survey. We call on the Government to work with the sector to ensure funding rates meet the real cost of provision for all children, and create a workforce strategy to address the pressing issue of staff recruitment. We are particularly concerned about the potential impact on children with SEND and children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who have historically seen provision drop as universal funded childcare increases and who are most at risk of missing out in a system that focuses support on children with working parents in higher income families.

For the investment in childcare to truly improve the lives of children, and be the game changer it has the potential to be for many parents and carers, the concerns raised in this report must be heeded, and our childcare system reformed. We call on the Government to ensure the upcoming expansions do not result in greater inequalities, and instead facilitate a sufficient, high-quality childcare system that values staff, enables all parents and carers to work, and is available to all children, no matter their needs or where they live.

For more information, please contact Emma Lamberton, Communications Manager, Coram at / 0207 520 0427 / 07908 827908. For our latest research on barriers to successful delivery of the expansion of funded childcare, see our Childcare Survey 2024

About Coram Family and Childcare

Coram Family and Childcare works to make the UK a better place for families by bringing together what we learn from our on the ground parent-led programmes and our research to campaign for solutions that parents want and need. We focus on childcare and early years to make a difference to families’ lives now and in the long term.