At PACEY we have always taken our role very seriously in championing the work you do at the highest levels. Sadly there are times when childminders are depicted in a less than favourable light. A case in point is the current drama ‘In The Club’ on BBC One.
With a storyline that follows ‘Diane’, a registered but seemingly overly-stressed childminder, whose husband has just returned from prison following a failed armed robbery, it was always a worry as to how the plot would evolve. Needless to say we were right to be concerned and no doubt childminders across the country were screaming at the television last night.
We have contacted the production company, but the damage is done. Retrospectively we can’t undo an entire storyline.
The programme has quite rightly prompted an outcry from PACEY members arguing that if the production company had undertaken thorough research, they would have had a better understanding of the high quality childcare that childminders offer. They would have found out that 84% offer good or outstanding provision in England, not quite the calibre of the ‘setting’ shown on TV last night.
We have fought long and hard to achieve a change in perception and we are proud of the efforts of all our members to make this happen. The childcare minister for England even said at a recent PACEY event that “childminders are increasingly important providers” and Welsh Government developments have seen all childcare providers, including childminders, having an important role to play with key recognition at a ministerial level for the sector.
So when a mainstream TV programme gets it so wrong, it feels like a step backwards. But we shouldn’t feel disheartened. We need to dust ourselves down and carry on. Because the childminder community is crucial to the future of childcare in this country.
At PACEY we recognise the dedicated, highly skilled childcare professionals who have shared their views and the challenges they face, that have in turn, helped us be a strong advocate for change.
And we are starting to see evidence of real progress.
In England, the proposed regulations to support delivery of 30 hours of free childcare demonstrated that government has listened to us about the challenges that childminders and small group settings face. But there is still a significant way to go.
We know there remain real concerns about whether the level of funding will be sufficient to deliver the high quality childcare that children deserve, and the next few months will be critical with the much-anticipated consultation on the new funding formula.
While in Wales PACEY Cymru were a key partner, working with CSSIW and Welsh Government and Cwlwm, in supporting the development and implementation of the recent changes to regulation in Wales for children up to 12 years of age and this high level partnership working will continue with the embedding of the new inspection framework and the move towards ratings for settings in Wales. We are also awaiting the announcement of a potential childcare offer in Wales following the Welsh Government elections so there are interesting and challenging times ahead.
One thing that is unwavering is PACEY’s commitment. We will continue to speak up for the vital role our members play in building bright futures for the children and families they care for. Rest assured we remain committed champions of high quality childcare.