In this submission on foundation years and the government's life chances strategy, we identify key characteristics of an early years service which would deliver on improving the life chances of disadvantaged children, and consider where current provision succeeds and where new approaches may be needed.
Improving life chances requires investment in early years services to support disadvantaged children, but also strong efforts to reduce family poverty and disadvantage which are at the heart of life chances.
We would like to see an expansion of supply-side support and a much greater share of provision by the maintained sector, alongside investment to ensure that all provision is graduate-led, as high quality care is essential to realise the benefits of early education for disadvantaged children.
To tackle disadvantage at source, however, it is vital to support family incomes. Childcare needs to be available on a flexible basis for parents who work atypical or variable hours, and ought to be provided free for low-income parents who are in education or training.