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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Childcare Act guarantees a sure start for future generations

  • Published: Wednesday, 12 July 2006

The Childcare Bill has now received Royal Assent becoming the Childcare Act. The Act guarantees accessible, high quality childcare and other services for children under five and gives parents greater choice in balancing work and family.

Marking the first ever piece of legislation specifically on early years and childcare, the Act places responsibility for childcare provision with local authorities, charging them with raising quality, improving delivery, and achieving better results.

Local authorities would effectively become strategic leaders in the field of childcare - expected to work with both public bodies and private companies to ensure higher standards.

They would also be expected to make sure that parents' views are heard in the planning and delivery of new services, so that new childcare schemes and businesses in each area reflect the real needs of families.

  • all children under five will have access to high quality early learning and care and better access to early childhood services by the free offer of care and learning which will increase and become more flexible for parents of three and four year olds that want it
  • a high quality learning and development framework for young children - the Early Years Foundation Stage will be developed - all providers registered on the early years register will have to work to this framework which will support the work to improve outcomes for young children
  • local authorities are to provide better joined up and accessible early childhood services through children's centres
  • working parents will be given the choice of a wide range of childcare
  • reforms to the regulation of childcare providers to provide parents with greater confidence about the childcare they choose

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