Today, Nick Clegg announced a new policy to double the number of free nursery places for two-year-olds in order to help parents with childcare costs. This comes off the back of the Findababysitter.com Annual Childcare Report last week, which revealed the 19% increase in childcare.
The policy has raised concern with an education charity, who claim it will ‘lower the standards of care’. They are urging the government to postpone the September launch of the scheme in order to give more time to find staff with relevant qualifications.
If this policy were to be put in place in September, Nick Clegg’s idea of free childcare will put huge amounts of pressure on nurseries as the majority will be filled to over capacity, and full of under qualified staff. I know, as a parent of two, this is a huge concern for parents in the UK. The thought of sending my children to a nursery, which is over subscribed with under qualified staff, would make me worry about how my children’s education would be affected.
With the countdown to the 2015 election already on the MP’s minds, no wonder ridiculous policies like this are being rushed. Clegg clearly knows what to say to try and swing votes, a political tactic, which doesn’t always end well – at least, in this case, it won’t.
I completely agree with the concerns shown by the education charity, the nursery staff to children ratio is already ludicrously high, with Elizabeth Truss announcing back in 2013 that ratio’s are 1:4 for two-year-olds and 1:8 OR 1:13 for three-year-olds. We need to continue to raise awareness of the importance of good quality childcare.
Last year, I was fortunate to meet with local MP’s to discuss the importance of good quality childcare. I was shocked to hear that they believed the only option was to send their kids to nursery. Sending your child to a nursery is only one option, an option that may not always provide the best education for children. Here at Findababysitter.com we will continue to push this and to help educate parents that home childcare options may, in fact, be the best and safest choice.
Tom Harrow, CEO and Dad of Two