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
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
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."
What do you think?