Dingley’s Promise CEO calls for increased funding for Early Years Sector at All Party Parliamentary Group Meeting.
Catherine McLeod MBE, Chief Executive of Dingley’s Promise, was a key speaker at the latest meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Childcare and Early Years Education, which called for the Government to use the Spending Review to address shortages in early years funding.
Catherine spoke about the stark reality of the lack of easily accessible funding in the mainstream for providing support to children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) across the Early Years Sector. Shockingly, 81% of settings report having to fund SEND costs themselves, with 49% doing so on a regular basis (EYA, 2020). With the cost of specialist primary school places being almost six times as expensive as mainstream places, the long term costs of not giving children the right early intervention in the early years is not only damaging to the child, but also builds more expensive cost liabilities in the primary school system.
The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have exacerbated existing issues within the sector. Social isolation and delayed access to services have been the most extreme for children in the early years (Disabled Children’s Partnership, 2021) meaning that this group are more in need than ever before. Vital early intervention cannot be provided to all the children that need it unless settings receive sufficient funding. Without that, settings are left in the impossible situation of having to choose between the sustainability of their business and inclusion of children with SEND.
The group, chaired by Steve Brine MP, have collectively called for increased funding for the Early Years Sector as a whole, asking the Government for almost £3000 per child to address funding shortages. Within this ask, there is a call to effectively fund support for children with SEND in mainstream settings to take this extra cost pressure off the sector.
To read the full press release, click here: https://connectpa.co.uk/early-years-catch-up-premium-needed/
Dingley’s Promise is a proud member of the APPG, representing the needs of children with SEND in the early years alongside key national partners. This shows that even though we are still a small, local charity, we can have a large impact on increasing inclusion in the Early Years Sector on a national scale. Our role within the group is to ensure that the voices of children with SEND, and their families, are not forgotten or left out of national conversations about future policy.
To hear Catherine’s full speech, watch the video (Catherine’s speech takes place from the 19th to the 26th minute): APPG for Childcare and Early Education – Early Years and Spending Review
To learn more about the positive difference Dingley’s Promise is making on a national level, visit our UK Impact webpage.