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40,000 more staff and 84,500 places needed by 2025 to meet increased early entitlement demand, PAC warn

by Jess Gibson

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has published a letter to the Department for Education (DfE) highlighting challenges in meeting the number of early education and childcare places available for the entitlement expansion. 

The letter follows an inquiry by PAC into the DfE鈥檚 early entitlement expansion for working parents in England. 

PAC鈥檚 inquiry found that, though the DfE 鈥渕ade good progress in getting the programme off the ground鈥, it now 鈥渇aces huge challenges in increasing the number of places available for children鈥.  

This is in light of DfE estimations suggesting that the early years workforce needs to grow by 40,000 between now and September 2025 鈥 a 12% increase compared to July 2023. In addition, the DfE also estimates that the early years sector will need to create 84,500 new places for children by September 2025 鈥 with a fifth of local authorities having to increase hours by 20% or more. 

In total, the inquiry provided six conclusions and recommendations for the DfE to consider before September 2025. 

Some of these recommendations include the DfE: 

  • continuously monitoring the impact of the extended entitlement on the quality of early education and childcare provision. 

  • taking a 鈥渉olistic approach鈥 to growing the early years workforce, including developing and publishing a long-term strategy and delivery plan to address recruitment and retention challenges. 

  • making plans to track how impactful the new entitlements are in terms of access to places 鈥 as well as the attainment of disadvantaged children and those with SEN 鈥 clear.  

The full outline of PAC鈥檚 conclusions and recommendation can be found . 

Commenting, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years 王中王开奖结果, said: "The Public Accounts Committee is absolutely right to warn of the serious risks of the planned early entitlement extension. 

"We're told that an additional 40,000 staff are required to deliver the additional places needed for younger children, and yet, the sector is already in the midst of one of the worse staffing crises in its history 鈥 so where exactly are these extra educators expected to come from? 鈥 

"As the Committee rightly highlights, attempts to increase capacity in the sector by reducing qualifications requirements and relaxing ratios are likely to put the quality of early years provision at risk, something that we know would have a particularly detrimental impact on the children who need the most support, such as those from low-income backgrounds and those with additional needs. 

"It's clear, therefore, that whoever is in power after the next election must ensure that a comprehensive workforce strategy is absolutely central to their plans for the early years. Without this, it's hard to see how the planned expansion can have any hope of succeeding in the long term."