II. Implementation of the National Childcare Strategy
I. Changes in Government Departments and Activities
- The Education Sub-committee of the House of Commons Education and Employment Committee is instituting an inquiry into aspects of early years education including content, staffing, and training.
- The Childcare Commission, a 12 member commission, chaired by Harriet Harman will investigate how business and Government can best supply childcare, and will examine extending paid maternity leave to one year.
- Work-home balance for employees is being investigated by an Advisory committee to the Government. It is slated to report in Fall, 2000.
- Interdepartmental focus of Sure Start developed from a series of cross-department seminars held by the Treasury for the Comprehensive Spending Review in 1997 and 1998. Sure Start Unit is based in but not part of the DfEE. The target is to have 250 Sure Start schemes active by the end of 2002.
- On September 14, 1999, a new guidance to help set up after-school clubs and summer schools was launched. The Code of Practice for the primary schools is called Club Class, the secondary version is called Extra Time.
- Eary Years Directorate, a new arm of OFSTED,to provide and monitor all publicly funded provision.
- On March 27, 1998, the DfEE announced that all early childcare and education responsibility would be merged under the DfEE at the national level. Parts of the Children Act 1989 were transferred to the DfEE from the Department of Health include Section 18, which gives local authorities the duty to provide day care for children in need, and the powers to provide it for other children; Section 19 which places a duty on local authorities to review every three years the services they provide for the under eights and publish the results; Part X which sets out the provisions for registration, regulation, and inspection of childminding and day care provision.
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