Responding to the Annual Nursery Survey, Plaid Cymru’s shadow cabinet secretary for education and young people Llyr Gruffydd said:
“This report paints a worrying picture about the current state of Wales’ childcare sector. Access to high quality early years services has lasting benefits for children’s learning and development, particularly for the poorest children. That’s why Plaid Cymru made strengthening the childcare offer in Wales a key priority in our Compact agreement with the Welsh Government.
“The work currently under way to test different models of provision will help ensure the programme works for children, parents and providers, and Plaid Cymru would expect no less than any provision being financially sustainable for the sector.
“It’s also high time the Government focused more on strengthening the childcare workforce. It’s disappointing that we’re still waiting for Labour to publish its Early Years, Childcare and Play Workforce Plan. It has been in draft form since the autumn of 2015 and, despite promises of it appearing this spring, we’re still waiting.
“In the meantime I’m concerned that too many children in Wales, especially those living in poverty, still fail to meet key developmental milestones each year. The research is clear that falling behind early, particularly in cognitive development, has a lasting effect on children’s outcomes in later childhood, particularly through educational attainment and life chances in adulthood. This report is a timely wake-up call for all of us.”