Report of the Head of Education and Learning (CS/18/32) seeking endorsement of Annual report outlining how the Council is meeting its statutory duty to secure sufficient early years and childcare places and identifying challenges and actions for the coming year in relation to meeting the duty, attached.
(Councillors 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/18/32) seeking endorsement of the Annual Report outlining how the Council was meeting its statutory duty to secure sufficient early years and childcare places and identifying challenges and actions for the coming year in relation to meeting the duty. The Report was 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 Report highlighted the Council’s statutory duty to secure sufficient early years and childcare places, sufficiency being met through a variety of providers (e.g. schools, pre-schools, day nurseries, holiday clubs, breakfast clubs, after school clubs, childminders, etc.)
The Early Education and Childcare: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities, set out that the Local Authority should report annually to elected Members on how they were meeting their duty to secure sufficient childcare. This was the sixth Childcare Sufficiency Assessment Annual report.
The Annual Report 2017/18 encapsulated key findings from data relating to 2017/18 (1st April 2017 to 31st March 2018) and actions for the Early Years and Childcare Service for 2018/19. The analysis indicated that overall there was sufficient early years and childcare provision within Devon. Although the rural/urban spread of different types of provision varied. Childcare Sufficiency Hot Spots had been identified.
In terms of moving forward, the Early Years and Childcare service would continue to assess sufficiency and identify hot spots, carry out actions to address issues in hot spot areas, survey parents to gain a greater insight into demand for childcare, carry out the annual survey of providers in January 2019, continue to promote the take up of funded two, three and four year old places to parents as well as the importance of taking up the full entitlement, continue to promote the take-up of the extended entitlement to 1140 hours of funded childcare for eligible three and four year olds, monitor the take up of funded places and hours (two-year-old funding, universal funding, extended entitlement), monitor the impact of the extended entitlement on the number of places for two-year-olds, promote the stretched offer to parents, increase the take-up of the Early Years Pupil Premium, capture information on Governor Run out of school provision that was not Ofsted registered and monitor openings, closures and expansions.
The actions arising from the Childcare Sufficiency Report contributed to the promotion of equality of opportunity and the actions identified for the coming year were a continuation of the ongoing work of the Early Years and Childcare service in promoting equality of opportunity for all families through provision of accessible, affordable, childcare.
To continue to ensure the duty was met in 2018/19 the main areas of focus would be ensuring sufficient places for 2-year olds 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 for early years and childcare places where there were new housing developments and ensuring inclusive early years and childcare provision for children with disabilities and special education needs.
The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, sustainability, carbon impact, risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) set out in the Head of Service’s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:
It was MOVED by Councillor McInnes, SECONDED by Councillor Hart, and
RESOLVED that the Annual Childcare Sufficiency Report be welcomed and endorsed and arrangements be made for the Report (and supporting reports) to be published on the Council’s website.