ATL comment on Public Accounts Committee Report on free education for three and four year olds
22 May 2012
Daniela Wachsening, education policy adviser at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said:
"We share the Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) concerns that children from the most disadvantaged families are least likely to be getting free education at age three and four, because these are the children who would most benefit from it.
"We also share their concerns about disadvantaged children being excluded from free education if some nurseries demand that parents buy additional hours.
"We agree that the Department for Education (DfE) needs to do more to make sure all children receive this free education.
"However, we disagree with the PAC that value for money is best obtained by making parents responsible for comparing nurseries as this discriminates against the children whose parents lack the ability to make an informed choice. Instead the government needs to invest properly in state funded early education as this is consistently shown to be the highest quality.
"Regrettably we are unsurprised by the DfE's inability to properly monitor how the money for early years education is spent - it mirrors its lack of monitoring of the funding for academies."
Notes to editors
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 170,000 teachers, headteachers, lecturers and support staff in maintained and independent nurseries, schools, sixth form, tertiary and further education colleges in the United Kingdom.
ATL exists to help members, as their careers develop, through first rate research, advice, information and legal advice.
ATL is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). ATL is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.