This week saw an airing of ‘childcare providers are all rich from taking money off the state’ from Channel 5’s Matthew Wright on the Wright Stuff programme. Wright seemed to suggest that providers are somehow raking in money – when most of us receive much lower than our normal hourly rates for 3 and 4 year old funded children and provider costs have risen year on year. He did, to be fair, say that this was a joke on the second day of tackling the subject – but many feel that the damage was already done.
Instead of researching the real issues early years providers are currently facing (maybe by talking to a few of us first) and looking at them fairly and sensitively, Wright decided to focus on one thing during the second programme – whether higher ratios would solve all the problems. He did this by making comparisons with ratios for childcare in Scandinavia.
What he clearly doesn’t realise – but I imagine he will blame his researchers rather than accept responsibility for being ill-informed – is that we dealt with the issue of ratios in 2012/13 when we told the Government of the time (Elizabeth Truss – many remember the damage she did to childminders) that higher adult:child ratios are not the answer – they will only serve to lower quality of provision and put children at greater risk of harm.
Wright’s incorrect comments, lack of understanding of the issues involved and hectoring of a very polite and dignified Purnima Tanuku (NDNA’s Chief Executive) sent childcare provider’s collective blood pressure soaring. She did her best, but I do wish Neil Leitch had been on the phone line – he tells it like it is and might have told Wright to shut up with his bullying tactics and listen!
I have tried so hard to be positive when talking to colleagues about the £4 an hour** the Govt has promised for the 30 hours from September – even though it’s less than my normal hourly rate our parents have said they will pay a ‘voluntary donation’ for outings and food so we will make it work between us… I have rolled with all the changes that have been thrust upon childminders over the years… I have even embraced all the paperwork and Ofsted expectations.
**Oh and as an aside while I am on the subject of £4 an hour – it won’t be that much in Cheshire east because of all the bits and bobs that are being taken off it for this and that… which is even more of a blow for us all.
Do you know? When I hear someone on the national media causing so much damage to the wonderful, hard working professionals who are responsible for ensuring our young children are safe, healthy and educated, I wonder… maybe now that nurseries and childminders are united, is it time to say ‘no’ to low funding rates that damage our businesses?
What will the Government do if we simply say ‘no’ and don’t offer their flagship 30 hours..?
Answers on a postcard from my overseas holiday villa bought with the tax payers money!!
Chat soon, Sarah x