Mayor of London is raising the childcare bar to reduce inequality in London By Family and childcare trust

Really interesting blog by the family and Childcare trust that I felt would be of interest to nannies and clients.

 

Mayor of London is raising the childcare bar to reduce inequality in London

Josh Cottell

27 March 2018

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, unveiled new plans earlier this year to boost children’s outcomes and support families to earn more by improving early years provision in London. These plans set out how he will deliver on his manifesto pledge to ‘make childcare more affordable and accessible with a strategy that delivers for business and workers’. They aim to increase the quality of early years provision and improve access to services for families, allowing parents to start or return to work.

The Family and Childcare Trust supported the Mayor and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to develop their early years strategy, looking at how they could achieve the changes London families need and how they could measure the difference they were making. The GLA do not have any statutory responsibilities for childcare, so they needed to think creatively about how they could intervene most effectively.

The GLA are developing a range of initiatives to achieve their objectives. They are supporting local authorities to standardise the way data about local childcare is collected. They are developing a Good Work Standard which encourages employers to offer family friendly working practices.

The GLA will be piloting Early Years Hubs which will improve access to early years services for the most disadvantaged families and promote early years careers to support better progression and recognition in the early years workforce. The Mayor will also introduce a Childcare Deposit Loan Scheme for all staff in the GLA group such as Transport for London and Metropolitan Police, supporting access to childcare and encouraging other employers to do the same.

The GLA also wanted to make sure they had the right tools in place to measure how much of an impact their new initiatives will have. To help the GLA evaluate the outcomes of their new plans, the Family and Childcare Trust identified four metrics for the GLA to track: (1) mothers’ employment rate, (2) the take up rate of the 15 hour offer for two year olds, (3) the proportion of childcare settings rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted and (4) the proportion of children achieving a good level of development in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile. These metrics will measure both whether parents are able to move into work and whether early years provision is adequately accessible and high in quality to make a real difference for children living in the city.

Currently, London faces a set of challenges which set it apart from the rest of the UK. Mothers in London are less likely to be in paid work than mothers elsewhere in the UK. Fewer eligible two year olds in London use their free early education entitlement than in the rest of England. There is strong evidence that these free early education places for two year olds significantly boost children’s outcomes, and so it is important that children in London do not miss out.

More positively, London has slightly higher quality childcare than the rest of England. More children in London have a good level of development at age five and a higher proportion of children are in a childcare setting rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. Early education only improves children’s outcomes when it is high in quality, so it is important to keep a strong focus on driving up the quality of the early education available in the city.

Ultimately, the Mayor of London aims to improve social integration and to reduce inequality in London. The GLA is putting their early years policy to work by supporting low income families to increase their earnings and making sure all children can access high quality early education. This has a knock-on effect on the economy where employers can find skilled and reliable staff more easily because parents are not locked out of the labour market by childcare needs. By setting out a clear strategy for the early years, and carefully monitoring the impact on childcare in London, the Mayor and the GLA have an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of families across London.

Commissioned by the Mayor of London, the Family and Childcare Trust has produced reports on Childcare and early education funding in London and the Experiences of childminders in London, as well as a free childcare sufficiency assessment template for local authorities. Over the next few days, the Family and Childcare Trust will be publishing a series of blogs on this work.