Childcare expansion: DfE claim 79% of codes validated 

The Government has published new statistics on the two-year-old childcare expansion which was launched earlier this month.

These include: 

  • 195,355 two-year-olds on the scheme across England 
  • 79% of total codes have been validated by providers 
  • Department for Education estimates that providers will need to deliver 15,000 additional places – an increase of 1% – for the September roll-out for under twos 
  • Around 70,000 further places are likely to be needed for September 2025 when the funded hours will double to 30 for all eligible children per week during term time 
  • Last year, the number of childcare places increased by around 15,000 and the number of staff by around 13,000 (Provider Survey 2023) 
  • A total of 40,000 additional staff compared with 2023 are required by September 2025 

The DfE added that its recruitment campaign which was launched in February had resulted in interest from 73,000 people.  

It is also piloting a new scheme to increase capacity by matching up PVI providers with space in schools and colleges. If successful, this will be rolled out nationally ahead of September 2025. 

But NDNA told the press and media that there were serious issues regarding providers’ ability to physically expand to deliver extra capacity to meet demand and finding staff needed when faced with a workforce crisis in the sector. 

Jonathan Broadbery, Director of Policy and Communications at NDNA said: “While an expansion of funded childcare is great news for parents, our members are telling us that many nurseries have waiting lists for under threes. Nurseries are working hard to deliver the existing offer, but creating additional places for under twos can be very challenging. 

“When we surveyed our nursery members earlier this year, 56% said that they could not meet local demand for places. So not all parents will be able to get their first choice of hours or places they would like for their child. 

“Early years workforce pressures mean that 38% of nurseries wouldn’t be able to offer any additional places for under threes. We’ve welcomed initiatives to get more people into our amazing sector but we know that getting staff with the right qualifications is the key issue. With high staff turnover as well, it is clear that the sector will need to recruit more than the 40,000 staff needed if we are also to replace those who leave. 

“The pilots in schools and colleges present opportunities to expand the number of places but this must be done in partnership with existing providers, avoid duplication that would threaten established provision and we have to put children’s needs first in ensuring these environments are right for babies and toddlers. 

“There is still a lot of work for the Government to do to fully support the sector to achieve its ambitious plans. They must improve funding rates for three and four-year-olds which is having a negative impact on sustainability for 83% of nurseries, offer sufficient capital grant support and boost the early years workforce urgently.”  

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “We are transforming childcare in this country to deliver the support that hard-working parents deserve. 

“As today’s figures show, our plan is working. Thousands of parents are returning to work, and tens of thousands more will be able to do so later this year and next.  

“Childcare expansion on this scale is unprecedented in this country, and we will continue providing maximum support to nurseries and all providers to make it a reality.” 

  • England

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