Early childhood education and care (ECEC) has occupied an important place on the political agenda in the UK since the mid-1990s. Under the Labour Government in office from 1997 to 2010, the expansion of childcare was seen as a crucial plank in the campaign against child poverty, enabling lone parents and second earners to enter employment or increase working hours. At the same time, increasing evidence pointed to the importance of early education in promoting more equal life chances, suggesting the “double dividend” which could be delivered by high quality ECEC (DfES et al, 2002, 29). Spending on services for children under 5 increased three-fold in real terms between 1997 and 2007, faster than spending on any other policy area (Sefton, 2009). All children aged 3 and 4 became entitled to a free parttime nursery place, the number of childcare places was rapidly expanded and childcare subsidies for low-income working families were introduced. The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government which took office in 2010 has reduced support for childcare subsidies but remains committed to early education, including expansions to disadvantaged two-year-olds, as part of its social mobility agenda.

Full Text

Published Version
Open DOI Link

Get access to 115M+ research papers

Discover from 40M+ Open access, 2M+ Pre-prints, 9.5M Topics and 32K+ Journals.

Sign Up Now! It's FREE

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call