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Cameron considers childcare

David Cameron this morning spoke about the disagreements in the Coalition government over childcare.

The BBC reported that Mr Cameron had spoken out to say that the Coalition "will find a way forward" over its proposed childcare changes in England.

Whilst PACEY is pleased that the Prime Minister has said he will hold further discussions within government on proposed changes to ratios, we remain concerned that the views of parents and childcare professionals on these and other proposals are not being heard. Ratio change is just one aspect of what appears to be a Government with no joined up strategy for quality improvement in childcare or for tackling childcare costs. Rather a random set of proposals that have in recent weeks only served to conflict and confuse parents and professionals.

For example, on one hand Ofsted wants higher quality childcare and is going to focus its inspection on providers requiring improvement, on the other Government is proposing to remove the local authority statutory duty that ensures these providers get the training and support so they can improve. Government says it will only allow providers with higher qualifications to operate its proposed higher ratios. But, for childminders, it is not proposing any qualification requirement, only the option of joining a childminder agency which childminders themselves have rejected as a bad idea. And all this despite the sector time and time again saying higher ratios will reduce quality and make no savings to pass on to parents. Finally in the same week that one part of government announces new start-up grants to help childcare providers set up in business, another part increases the financial burden on providers, by removing their current subsidy for DBS checks.

PACEY wants Government to have a full and open discussion about childcare with the sector, so that the parents of the up and coming generation of 3- and 4-year-olds, as well as disadvantaged 2-year-olds, know they can rely on quality childcare for their family as well as it being affordable. That starts with Government finally publishing its response to the evidence it gathered via it’s Childcare Commission last year. The Commission’s goal was to consider how best to improve access to affordable quality childcare, including afterschool care. PACEY hopes Mr Cameron will start his discussions by returning to the wealth of evidence and ideas many organisations offered the Commission last year.