Early years education has a major impact on child development and access to affordable, high- quality childcare and early years education is one of the most effective drivers of social mobility, writes Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley.
I therefore agree that all children should be provided with the care and support they need to fulfil their potential and to help parents back to work.
Having access to good quality childcare and early years education is vital for children and families in our area and across the country and I believe nurseries should be graduate-led.
However, the critical shortage of early years graduates across the country is very worrying.
In March 2017, the Government published its Early Years Workforce Strategy which outlined plans to boost the number of teachers in nurseries.
Unfortunately, the current Government has decided not to proceed with its proposed study.
In my view, for too long, Government policies have ignored the role that childcare and early years education can play in child development.
Serious underfunding is making it increasingly difficult for provision to be universally high-quality.
Low funding also makes it difficult to attract the staff needed for a graduate-led workforce for the sector.
Labour is committed to a properly funded system, with 30 free hours of childcare entitlement to all three and four-year-olds as well as introducing 30 hours of weekly free childcare for two-year-olds.
Labour has pledged to phase in subsidised provision on top of free-hour entitlements, to ensure everyone has access to affordable childcare and to transition to a qualified, graduate-led early years workforce.
I will continue to press for the funding and resources that are needed to support the world-class early years provision that our children deserve.