A children’s charity has urged Whitehall to ‘closely monitor’ early education in primary academies to ensure the quality and availability of places is not negatively affected by academisation.
The Family and Childcare Trust has published a new report which warns councils and Regional Schools Commissioners may struggle to offer effective oversight of, and support to, primary academies.
As well as urging the Department for Education to ‘closely monitor’ the academies, the charity also called for the introduction of a Chief Early Years Officer who will work with the Government to improve the quality and availability of childcare.
The study, entitled Academisation and Early Years Education, cautioned that the different freedoms, financial arrangements and levels of oversight between academies and maintained schools could result in a two-tier system.
Almost a quarter of primary schools in England are now academies, providing an estimated 72,000 children with early education.
According to the Trust, primary academies are as likely to achieve a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating for the childcare they provide as maintained schools.