Montessori St Nicholas charity welcomes House of Lords consultation report on Affordable Childcare
We support the three main recommended actions for the new government to take in order to get the best value for its investment:
- Prioritise spending in early years education and childcare to focus on disadvantaged children.
- Ensure that disadvantaged two year-olds access free education in settings rated good or outstanding by Ofsted no later than 2020.
- Address the under-funding of free early education places in the Public, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) sector.
We welcome recognition that there is not an even playing field between the PVI and maintained sector. Underfunding continues to be a major concern for the Montessori Schools Association. The PVI sector provides the majority of nursery places in most areas of the country and faces considerable problems in maintaining its provision and quality whilst funding remains inadequate. The House of Lords report is a welcome contribution to the debate, and action is urgently needed to address this issue.
We recognize the fundamental impact good quality early years provision makes in a childs early development. The Montessori Schools Association represents 679 Montessori settings of which 91% were rated Outstanding or Good in their last inspection.
We introduced the Montessori Evaluation and Accreditation Board (MEAB) scheme to continue our commitment to raise standards within the Montessori Schools Association and put ‘best practice’ at the heart of what it does. There are now around 175 accredited Montessori schools.
We continue to provide high quality Montessori teacher training through Montessori Centre International. Over 50 per cent of our diploma students are degree qualified on entry and we are committed to increasing the number of graduate-led Montessori settings through our Level 5 Foundation Degree and new HE Certificate of Education course launching this September. The majority of staff members now have a level 3 or 4 qualification.