Quality childcare: improving early years childcare

Document type
Waldegrave, Harriet
Policy Exchange
Date of publication
28 January 2013
Children and Young People, Education and Skills
Social welfare
Material type

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Childcare policy in the UK has developed dramatically over the past fifteen years. However, in a number of ways, it remains confused and incoherent. The UK has a range of different funding systems, run by different departments,
and at times there can be tensions between what different policies are trying to achieve. This report looks at the two major issues that childcare policies are trying to address, namely increasing maternal employment and closing the development gap in children from different backgrounds. However we must remain aware that while these laudable goals often naturally go hand in hand, government priorities can sometimes change the emphasis placed on each. When
discussing social mobility and improving children’s life chances, the quality of childcare comes to the fore. The cost of childcare plays a bigger role when government’s priorities focus on improving employment figures and getting Britain back to work.