I am absolutely seething at the comments made by Fiona Bruce (Conservative) at Tuesday’s Commons Debate on Child Care
Why am I so angry, well here are just some of her comments and my thoughts about them:
‘The Government’s child minder agency initiative is an excellent step, not least because it will mean that families will have a local resource that they can access to find a child minder they can have confidence in—a child minder who has been through the appropriate training, and who is from an agency that they know is maintaining proper standards.’
‘Will enable child minders to concentrate on delivering high-quality education and care, which is what they want to do, and not be driven out of their profession simply because they do not want to face the regulations and red tape they have had to deal with until now.’
1. Parents already have a local resource – it’s called the Family Information Service (FIS) – so maybe the government really do need to look at what is already out there before they reinvent the wheel!!...There was more to be angry about as well as some comments that just left me feeling totally deflated by their obvious lack of understanding or care for anything other than the bottom line! Just wish there had been one comment, just one, that had made me think ‘okay, someone is fighting our corner, or understands’ but unfortunately not.
2. Parents can already have the confidence in the child minder they select – they use the fact that the child minder has to be registered and inspected by Ofsted – another example of the governments’ ignorance or is it just scare mongering to gain favour for their ideas!
3. Child minders already have to have the appropriate training – part of their registration requirements – so as yet I don’t see any evidence of this excellent government agency idea doing anything more than the current system already provides.
4. So yes the agency may be following the proper standards (not that we know what they are as they have yet to be decided or released) but this does not necessarily translate to every agency registered child minder doing the same – AND is the agency actually going to admit to Ofsted that they have child minders not fully meeting registration requirements when they get inspected – I THINK NOT. Let’s face the truth, these agencies will be keeping everything crossed that the inspectors do not select certain child minders to visit as part of their random sample.
5. Most child minders (over 70%), given Ofsted’s own figures, are operating at Good or Outstanding levels and therefore already focus on delivering high quality education and care, AND, we do this to our own strengths with regards to planning, tracking and assessments. We use our individuality, drawing on our knowledge and systems that work for us. We do not want or need a prescriptive, one size fits all, system that the trial agencies are already stating they will introduce. In the same way that children are all different and learn/operate in different ways so do the child minders that are instructed to care for them – trying to make every child minder use the same policies, procedures, planning and tracking will not work as they would know if they bothered to consult with us!
6. As for being driven out of the profession by regulations and red tape, well, I am sorry but any child minder who is not prepared to follow regulation and jump through the occassional hoop for the children they care for should not be in the profession in the first place. Do the government really expect that the agencies will remove all regulation and red tape from child minders! Do we then not need policies! Do we not need to show how we meet the ‘proper standards’! Do we not need to demonstrate the development and learning of the children in our care! Are the government creating a new tier of child care that doesn’t actually have to follow the legal requirements set out in the EYFS as long as their agency can tell Ofsted how they do it!!! Regulation drives quality and the maintaining of standards, as well as giving parents that all important confidence that the child minder they have selected is offering the same level of care and education that every other child care provider offers.
There were many other comments that I was also very angered by as well as some comments that left me deflated by their obvious lack of understanding or care for anything other than the bottom line! I just wish there had been one comment, one statement that could lead me to believe that someone is fighting our corner or prepared to stand up for quality for all children, but alas there was none.