Campaigning for Equal Access to Childcare

In 2014 Every Disabled Child Matters launched a new campaign called Levelling the Playing Field following an independent parliamentary inquiry into childcare for disabled children and those with Special Educational Needs.

Chaired by Pat Glass and Robert Buckland, the Inquiry held three oral evidence sessions with representatives from childcare providers, local authorities, family members and young people themselves. Consensus from this evidence found that the childcare workforce often lacked the knowledge and skills required to work with disabled children. This knowledge helped to build the Inquiry’s recommendations that called on the Government to develop an action plan to meet the needs of families with disabled children who have, more often than not, struggled to access affordable, suitable and high-quality childcare. Moreover, the issue was becoming topical, as at the time childcare was becoming one of the top electoral issues for the General Election with all parties pledging to expand the free childcare entitlement. All parties were contacted and urged to recognise that disabled children could not be an afterthought in the childcare system and their electoral offer.

An expression of interest to provide oral and written evidence was sent to all EDCM supporters, as well as those of the campaign partners – Contact a Family, Family Childcare Trust and Working Families. Three oral evidence sessions were carried out with representatives from childcare settings, MP's, parent carer organisations and local authorities sharing their experiences alongside parents and young people on affordability, availability, inclusion and the quality of childcare available in their local area. A report was written and disseminated online to both supporters and external stakeholders and this also included results from an additional parent survey on the issue for those who preferred to share their experience anonymously. The final written report (Parliamentary Inquiry into services for disabled children) was launched at a Parliamentary reception in the summer of 2014.