Research carried out in the London Borough of Merton will help other local authorities and childcare providers make sense of new legislation handed down by the Government.
Last year, the Childcare Act 2006 outlined changes to the way free nursery education is provided for three and four year olds.
The impact of the reform has now been determined after extensive consultation with providers in the Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) sectors as well as schools.
The report found extending the hours of free care from 12.5 to 15 and from 33 weeks to 38 would affect funding, licensing and staff terms and conditions.
The extent to which childcare providers are affected varies between the maintained and PVI settings.
A number of recommendations have been made by researchers.
They include helping schools understand and plan for the changes, establishing partnerships with other providers, communicating effectively with parents and ensuring positive outcomes for children with Special Educational Needs.
Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Debbie Shears, says: “The London Borough of Merton is working to provide excellent childcare opportunities that meet the needs of both children and parents. This research has supported Merton in forming stronger partnerships with schools and providers and is now being used to inform a formal review of places for three and four year olds across the borough.”
Notes to editors:
· The full report is available by contacting Julie Danzey on 020 8545 3796.
· The Childcare Act 2006 can be found at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts