Blog: All too often, early years services are a poor relation

A few weeks ago I wrote about UNISON’s campaigning to secure proper nursery funding. Activists from Salford – which recently faced the threat of nursery closures – came to Westminster to lobby against the risk of cuts and closures.

Thanks to dedicated campaigning from the local branch, the Labour mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett, agreed to keep on funding nurseries until August next year.

Yet unless the government takes action, nurseries across our country will continue to be at risk.

Over the years, UNISON has led the campaign against closures to nurseries, sure start centres and early-years services. Yet this Conservative government has trashed these vital community resources that have such a crucial impact on the life chances of our children.

Thanks to UNISON, the government has agreed to meet with UNISON members tomorrow. Yet the person they’re sending to the meeting is Nadhim Zahawi – a parliamentary under-secretary at the Department for Education. While it’s a positive development that Mr Zahawi is engaging with this vital debate, this isn’t something which should be left to a junior minister – this is something that education secretary Damian Hinds should be involving himself with.

All too often, early years is a poor relation, yet all the evidence suggests that intervention at an early age has the greatest impact on the lives of young people and their families. It is the responsibility of the government to take nursery cuts seriously – and that should start with the most senior voices in that government.

Please support the campaign and demand the government reverse changes to the Direct Schools Grant – sign the petition.