Rosedene, a childcare provider which operates 12 nurseries across Tees Valley and North Yorkshire, has hit back at a recent report by the Children’s Commissioner for England which cites ‘disjointed education’ for disadvantaged children in Middlesbrough.
The childcare provider is calling for better support for parents to apply for funded places in order to address this inequality before it significantly impacts the child’s life.
The Best Beginnings report highlighted inequalities faced by disadvantaged children in early years provision in the first five years of their lives. One of the areas of focus was Middlesbrough, where last year 38 per cent of children did not achieve the expected level of development by the age of five.
Rosedene, which has been praised for its early years provision since it was established more than 27 years ago, urges more action to ensure disadvantaged children aren’t left behind and don’t suffer the consequences of disjointed education for the rest of their lives.
This includes ensuring parents of children entitled to funded early years places from the age of two are aware of the scheme and encouraged to apply for it.
Rosedene looks after more than 1000 children across their settings, each child with an individual development programme, with the final year focused on school readiness. The ratios of staff to child at nursery are much higher than in school, meaning that children can get the individual support they need before they start school.
Alice McCullagh, director at Rosedene, said: “This report has highlighted how essential early years care is and the impact on the child’s entire life if it’s not handled correctly. At Rosedene, our team has nearly three decades of experience in helping children to reach their full potential through exploration, play and learning.
“The statistics from Middlesbrough were eye opening and have raised a pertinent point that more must be done to resolve this issue and help our children.
“Unfortunately, there are a large number of parents, particularly from disadvantaged families, who just aren’t aware that they’re entitled to government-funded places from age two until their child starts school. Places are also available to all children aged three and four-years-old, meaning that no child should miss out on early years care, regardless of family circumstances.
“More must be done to raise awareness about what individual families are entitled to and support provided to them to apply for the vouchers.
“The places are there and nurseries like Rosedene are ready to help. Children have already missed out on two terms of development due to the pandemic and this is only going to intensify the problem. Educational inequality should not exist in 2020 and we must do all that we can to ensure that this gap closes quickly.”