Report of the Head of Education and Learning (CS/19/22) seeking endorsement of the Annual Childcare Sufficiency Report and for the report to be published on the Council’s website, attached.
(Councillors Biederman, Connett, Dewhirst and Hannaford attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).
The Cabinet considered the Report of the Head of Education and Learning (CS/19/22) presenting the Annual Childcare Sufficiency Report, circulated prior to the meeting in accordance with regulation 7(4) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.
The Cabinet noted the statutory duty to secure sufficient early years and childcare places which was met through a variety of providers that included all types of schools, pre-schools, day nurseries, holiday clubs, breakfast clubs, after school clubs, childminders etc. These provisions were within the private, voluntary, independent and maintained sectors. The Local Authority had to take into account what was “reasonably practicable” when assessing what sufficient childcare meant.
The Early Education and Childcare: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities, set out that the Authority should report annually to elected Members on how they were meeting their duty to secure sufficient childcare.
The Head of Service’s Report contained both the full report and executive summary. The Annual Report for 2018/19 encapsulated key findings from data relating to 2018/19 (1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019) and actions for the Early Years and Childcare Service for 2019/20.
The data indicated that overall there was sufficient early years and childcare provision within Devon, although the rural/urban spread of different types of provision varied and Childcare Sufficiency Hot Spots identified.
There continued to be increased and improved communication with providers through social media platforms. The number of subscribers to the Early Years Weekly Digest, number of likes of the Early Years and Childcare Facebook Page, the number of followers to the Early Years and Childcare Service Twitter page and the number of connections to the LinkedIn Showcase had all increased.
The Report then highlighted the actions arising and what the Early Years and Childcare service would do in response. This included continuing to assess sufficiency and identify hot spots, address the issues in hot spot areas, carry out actions identified from the annual survey of providers 2019, survey parents, carry out an annual survey of providers, continue to promote the take up of funded two-, three- and four-year-old places to parents, promote the take-up of the extended entitlement to 1140 hours of funded childcare for eligible three- and four-year-olds, monitor take up, promote the stretched offer to working parents to help with spreading the cost of childcare, promoting the take-up of the Early Years Pupil Premium, monitor openings, closures and expansions and finalise the Early Years Infrastructure Plan.
To continue to ensure the duty was met in 2019/20 the main areas of focus would be ensuring sufficient places for 2-year olds and marketing and promotion of this entitlement, ensuring sufficient places for the increase of the early years entitlement to 1140 hours a year for 3 and 4-year olds of working families, raising the quality of funded places– specifically those judged as ‘requires improvement’ and ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, meeting the need ... view the full minutes text for item 393