Report of the Head of Education and Learning (CS/21/14) presenting the annual return on the sufficiency of accessible, affordable, high quality early years and childcare places, attached.
RESOLVED that the Childcare Sufficiency Assessment Annual Report be welcomed and endorsed and arrangements made for the Report to be published on the Council’s website and social media platforms.
(Councillors Connett 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/21/14) presenting the annual return on the sufficiency of accessible, affordable, high quality early years and childcare places.
It was a statutory duty for Local Authorities, set out in Section 6, of the 2006 Childcare Act, to secure sufficient, accessible, affordable, high quality early years and childcare places so far as is reasonably practicable and the Children and Families Act 2014 required that a Report be prepared annually for Members on how the Local Authority was meeting their duty.
The 2020/21 Childcare Sufficiency Annual Report was the eighth annual Report. Sufficiency 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 Report encapsulated key findings from data relating to 1 September 2020 to 31 August 2021 and actions for the Early Years and Childcare Service for 2021/22.
The data analysis indicated that overall, there appeared to be sufficient early years and childcare provision within Devon. Although the rural/urban spread of different types of provision varied and Childcare Sufficiency Hot Spots had been identified.
The focus for next year would be regular audits of out of school provision to better understand what was available, carry out a travel to work survey with Exeter Providers to understand whether fewer children had been accessing provision on travel to work routes, monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the supply of childcare including closure of providers and the demand for childcare as parents work patterns changed, promoting the services of the Early Years and Childcare Service including the unable to find childcare form to better understand the demand for childcare, introduce spotlight areas (and carry out a deep dive investigation into the supply and demand for childcare and consider other local factors and data that might have an impact), embed the new two-year-old funding process and monitor outcomes in registered childcare providers as Ofsted started to reinspect provision.
The actions arising from the Report were highlighted including that the Early Years and Childcare service would:
· continue to assess sufficiency and identify hot spots through data analysis and discussion on the supply and demand of childcare.
· support providers to open or expand businesses where appropriate.
· continue the termly survey of providers to capture data regularly.
· continue the data review of out of school provision to ensure the accuracy of the data held.
· support providers through Early Years ONE Devon to become good or outstanding.
· work with providers to build greater flexibility and affordability into their provision for parents, where provision was open all year round but did not enable parents to stretch their funding for two-, three- and four-year olds.
· promote the take up of the entitlement and hours particularly for children with special educational needs and ... view the full minutes text for item 71