01 August 2023
Assistant Minister for Education and Children, Deputy Louise Doublet, has completed the first phase of a review to inform the policy development around early years education and childcare in Jersey.
The evidence paper, which has been written by the Isos Partnership, has been published by the Assistant Minister. It focuses on messages for Jersey from the UK and international evidence on optimising early childhood education and childcare, known as ECEC.
Key messages in the review include:
- participation in childhood education and childcare can have transformative, positive effects on young children
- the benefits to children's outcomes from high-quality childhood education and childcare are significant. Conversely, expanding childhood education and childcare without attending to quality could be detrimental to their outcomes
- at 32 weeks, Jersey's paid parental allowance offer is longer than that of most other countries, with pay likely to be broadly in line with averages, although more generous than the UK
- relatively low use of formal childhood education and childcare reported amongst economically disadvantaged families in Jersey is not surprising in light of similar trends in other countries in Europe and beyond
- care from friends or relatives is commonly relied upon by working families around the world, especially those with the youngest children and those who live in countries that do not offer comprehensive access to free/cheap formal childhood education and childcare. It is naturally a strong feature in Jersey, given the high level of female employment
Speaking about the publication of the evidence paper, Assistant Minister for Children and Education, Louise Doublet, said: "I am committed to delivering a plan for joined-up, medium- and long-term investment, which addresses the Early Years Education and Childcare sector as a whole. The scale of this challenge is significant and any changes to the sector need to make the best use of public funds and be in the best interests of children and families.
"It is important to me that decisions are backed by a sound evidence base. This report gives us an overview from the UK and further afield to see what approaches have the most impact in this sector.
"This builds on the work produced by the Early Years Policy Development Board and is a critical step to ensure that proposed changes will provide the best experience and outcomes for children growing up in Jersey.
"I would like to see all children and families having access to affordable, high-quality childcare, and whilst this is not something that can be achieved overnight, as a Ministerial Team we continue to strive for this long-term goal."
To progress the development of a plan for the sector the next steps will be:
- to seek feedback on the report from key stakeholders
- to develop a detailed 'fact base' of the local sector which will, amongst other things, establish the position on workforce, finances, capacity and quality
- to plan for wider engagement with providers, parents, and businesses
The review is available online via the Government of Jersey website: https://www.gov.je/government/pages/statesreports.aspx?reportid=5697