As I sit here, glued to my sofa watching the Olympics, a reminder in my calendar pops up continuously to complete the response for the commission on childcare! My response is to dismiss it (manana, manana!) as I know that I have until the end of August to complete. But it is one task that I will tackle as if I’m going for a gold medal because childcare for working parents is an issue that is very dear to my heart; both on a personal level, as a single working parent, (I have used every type of childcare over the years) and on a professional level, working passionately with the childcare sector both nationally and internationally.
So what is the commission on childcare? It is a joint concept led by the Department of Education and the Department for Work and Pensions They have asked anyone with an interest to complete a consultation response and the three main areas of focus are:
- ways to encourage out of hours provision, so that parents are able to access care for their child when they need it;
- identifying any regulation that is not needed to ensure safety or quality; and
- how childcare helps to get parents into work and out of poverty.
https://www.education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/departmentalinformation/consultations/a00211976/commission-on-childcare Penny Webb, a childminder from Worcestershire has kindly shared her response. http://pennysplacechildminding.com/2012/07/29/commission-on-childcare-call-for-evidence-example-response/ In addition, Penny has also responded to Michael Gove’s letter to Sir Michael Wilshaw’s letter. http://pennysplacechildminding.com/2012/08/07/7th-august-my-thoughts-on-gove-comments-about-deregulation/ … It is vital that as many individuals as possible complete this response. I am strongly in favour of keeping quality high on the agenda of childcare. We have worked so hard over the years to maintain and improve on quality. We only have to look at the Nutbrown Review http://media.education.gov.uk/MediaFiles/A/0/9/%7BA098ADE7-BA9A-4E18-8802-D8D4B060858D%7DNUTBROWN%20FINAL%20REPORT%20-%20final.pdf and EPPE research to recognise that quality does make a difference to children’s outcomes. I recently shared a few solutions: http://laurachildcare.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/simple-solutions/ . If the Government truly want children to be ‘school ready’ it is VITAL that children, irrespective of the setting they attend, receive exceptional care and education and are given the finest opportunities (to quote my 14 year old son: “like a three star Michelin Restaurant!”) in their early years. Well, yes! Aim high! We cannot short change children in their early years. Every child, in order that they are given the spark to achieve, must be given the foundations to learn within their early years, regardless of their background. Therefore we MUST not remove standards but continue to ENHANCE standards. When completing my response, I will have at the forefront of my mind the Olympics mantra ‘Inspiring a Generation’.
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