Labour responds to NDNA’s concerns about nurseries in schools plan

Labour’s Shadow Education Minister Bridget Phillipson has responded to NDNA’s concerns about Labour’s plans for early education and care in schools.

In an interview on The Battle for Number 10: A Sky News Leaders’ Special, Labour Leader Keir Starmer said:

“We want to create 100,000 new places for childcare, this is 3,000 nurseries around schools because I think primary schools are the best place for nurseries so that that means children get the opportunity to develop the skills that they need before reception year which isn’t happening in the way it should at the moment in my view, but also parents and carers can go back into work which many of them want to do  and that then helps the local economy.”

NDNA responded to Keir Starmer’s comments saying:

“In an interview with Sky news this week, Labour leader Keir Starmer said that ‘primary schools are the best place for nurseries.

“The PVI sector delivers 86% of nursery places in England. Where high quality nursery provision already exists, based on the needs of children in their early years, any duplication from school-based nurseries could threaten this provision, put further pressure on staffing, create uncertainty for parents and disrupt the relationships that children have developed.

“What is needed is a long-term plan, based on the unique needs of our youngest children, which addresses the chronic workforce and funding challenges the sector is facing, rather than pitching sectors against each other.”

NDNA contacted Labour with both their concerns and those of many of their members which prompted the following response from Bridget Phillipson saying:

Thank you for raising this and passing on the concerns of your members. I would like to reassure you and them, that I, Keir, and the Labour Party recognise the hugely valuable contribution the PVI sector makes to the delivery of early education and care for children and families, and the importance of this to providing the best start in life for all our children and enabling parents, especially women, to have choices about their employment.

As you know, earlier this week Keir and I announced Labour’s intention to create over 3,000 new school-based nurseries. We are clear that these can be either school-led or delivered in partnership between schools and PVI providers, which I have seen positive examples of across the country. It is this latter point which I understand Keir was trying to emphasise during his interview on Sky News but as you will know the nature of broadcast interviews means messages are sometimes truncated so I hope this serves to reassure your members that Labour wants to work with and include them in this expansion of early years provision.

As we have discussed, should Labour win the trust of the British people we will launch a comprehensive Early Years Strategy, developed through engagement with the sector, and building on the work of David Bell’s early years review to which I know NDNA, its members and providers have contributed.

As I have said, the early years will be my priority should I become Education Secretary in a Labour government, and I hope to be able to continue working with you to deliver the changes that I know your members, and children and families need.

  • England

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