The House of Commons Select Education Committee has launched an inquiry looking into whether the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) system are “meeting the needs of pupils with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND), and the improvements that could be made to better support young children with SEND within early years provisions.”

The Committee is also exploring the “current provision of childcare in England and what steps, if any, could be taken to improve it, especially in relation to families living within the most deprived areas in England.”

The inquiry’s home page offers the following summary:

“The Education Committee has launched an inquiry into support for childcare and the early years. The inquiry will examine how easy to navigate the current childcare system is for parents and carers, and whether current childcare entitlements are providing families with affordable and flexible childcare. The Committee will assess the effectiveness of the different funding entitlements, including those funded by the Department for Education, the Tax-Free Childcare scheme and support for childcare from the benefits and tax credit system.

Additionally, it will examine how support for childcare impacts upon parents/carers returning to work.

The inquiry will also explore early years provisions and examine how it prepares young children for their transition into primary education.

It will also look at the current workforce issues faced by early years practitioners, and the extent to which the Covid-19 pandemic may have worsened existing workforce challenges.

The Committee’s new inquiry will also look at the Government’s consultation on changing childcare ratios in early years settings, which proposed changing the current staff-to-child ratios from 1:4 to 1:5 for 2-year-olds.”

The inquiry says it is taking submissions until 23:59 on Thursday 19 January 2023. Submissions should be no more than 3000 words.

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