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
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