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Proposal for schools to extend hours and take in two year olds

Some government advisers are suggesting that extending children's school day could be a great election promise.

Liz Bayram, PACEY's Chief Executive, is quoted in Independent Voices. She says, "The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years is very concerned about proposals to extend the school day to provide before and after school care.  It places a parent’s need to work above children’s well-being as it would mean children stay in school for 45 hours a week, much longer than an adult's average working week.

"We know parents look for after school care that provides a relaxing and fun environment for their children to wind down in after a busy day at school. This type of care is already on offer in a variety of different settings including childminders, afterschool clubs and indeed in some schools. I suspect many parents would prefer policy proposals around how government can expand this sort of provision further and better support families with the cost of childcare than proposals to keep teaching children for longer days."

The Telegraph has also reported that Childcare Minister, Liz Truss, is proposing that primary school nurseries extend their opening hours to allow parents to leave 2-year-olds during the working day.

Liz Bayram says, “Whilst there are some school nurseries that already care for these very young children, most do not as it demands a very different approach to caring for a 3- or 4-year-old. Combined with recent proposals that schools stay open from 8am to 6pm and children are formally assessed at the age of 4, PACEY, and we suspect many parents, would want reassurance that this is not going to result in all 2-year-olds being placed in an environment which is focused more on teaching than wider child development through play.

"Today's announcements also contradict yesterday's news that the government wants to encourage more people to become childminders. The concept of schools working with local childminders to deliver before and after school care, whilst schools also care for more 2-year-olds, is not tested and is likely to further damage childminders and other PVI Childcare's sustainability not improve it. What is missing here is a joined up approached from the government, offering parents flexible working options as well as more choice in flexible childcare."

 

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Extending school day