writes to Minister for Children and Families

9th September 2021 have written to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families in England, Vicky Ford, in relation to comments she made in an exchange in the House of Commons with shadow children and early years minister Tulip Siddiq regarding a decline in the number of childcare providers since the start of 2001. We have received a number of concerns from our registered childminder community that the comments are dismissive and disrespectful, appearing to imply that childminders are less important than nursery settings.

Vicky Ford MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families
Department for Education
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BT

9th September 2021

Dear Minister Ford are the leading childminder support network in the UK and are dedicated to raising the profile of independent Ofsted registered childminders.

We are writing to you today in response to your comment in the House of Commons on 6th August when answering the question from Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, about the loss of early years provision during 2021.

You said the loss of almost 3000 early years providers since the start of 2021 ‘was, ‘largely a fall driven by childminders and carers, not nursery settings.’

Our childminder members find this comment dismissive and disrespectful and have asked to write to you today to remind you of the important role childminders play in the early years sector, continuing to provide the highest quality care and education to thousands of children every day and remaining open while a pandemic sweeps the country despite the obvious challenges to their personal and family health, finances and wellbeing.

Childminders play an essential part in the early years childcare structure in the UK. They offer the highest quality, flexible early years care and education as well as before and after school care for thousands of children. Ofsted data (31st March 2021) states that childminders currently make up almost 16% of early years and childcare places.

Looking back over recent months, childminders were excluded from the home testing rollout, excluded from receiving essential PPE, excluded from ventilation support, underfunded by the 3 and 4 year funding offer and more – yet they have continued to work tirelessly to support the children in their care. urges the Government to address further losses to childminder numbers as a matter of urgency and looks forward to hearing your comments on this matter.

Yours faithfully

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