A report from the new Early Education and Childcare Coalition finds general public support for investment in early years education.
A new report from the Early Education and Childcare Coalition (EECC) has revealed that For 42% of British voters, childcare and early education reform will be key in their decision about who to vote for in the general election, according to a new report.
The new report, ‘Pulse Check: Public attitudes towards early education and childcare’, contains a snapshot of voter attitudes towards the early education and childcare sector based on new research conducted by Claremont and More in Common for the Early Education and Childcare Coalition [EECC], a collection of childcare providers, campaigners and others.
It found that almost two-thirds (59%) of voters think that good early years education benefits the whole country, not just parents.
Sarah Ronan, Acting Director for the EECC, said: “Right now, we have an opportunity to truly transform the future of early education and childcare through sustainable reform of the sector. Voters understand that we all benefit from an early education and childcare sector with the right investment. Politicians need to understand that, too and invest accordingly.”
The report shows over a third of voters (40%) support investing more taxpayers’ money in early education and childcare even if it means higher taxes for everyone. That figure rises to 59% for people who are hoping to become a parent. However, 44% think those working in childcare and early education are underpaid and 31% believe they are undervalued. Almost half of all voters (49%) said that well-trained staff was an important factor when it came to providing good quality early education and childcare, with over a third (36%) saying the same about decent pay for staff.
Earlier this year in the Spring Budget, the Chancellor set out plans to invest more in childcare. The report found that over two-thirds of voters (68%) think that it’s a good idea in principle to expand childcare provision. Voters believe this will give parents the freedom to return to work or increase their hours (54%) and make children more sociable by playing with children their own age, as well as getting them ready for school (45%).
However, support for the Government’s proposals drops to just 32% when the public is presented with criticisms of the policy due to low funding rates, workforce strategy and a lack of floor space.
Victoria Benson, CEO at Gingerbread, the charity for single parent families, says: “Childcare is economic infrastructure, and yet we have a patchwork of provision that is expensive and unavailable to many single parents. Without sustainable funding and a realistic workforce strategy, current proposals will amount to more empty promises for struggling parents. Our political leaders need to work harder to prove they are paying attention to issues that are important to voters, and childcare could be an easy win. We need to see a focus on reduced household costs which will allow all parents to be better able to balance work with their parenting commitments.”