Nursery owner to meet minister over free childcare places concerns

A YORK nursery owner is taking her concerns over free childcare places to Westminster.

Helen Gration, owner of York Montessori Nursery and trustee for the National Day Nurseries Association, has warned of a looming crisis due to government underfunding of “free childcare” places.

Mrs Gration is meeting with the Minister for Childcare, MP Sam Gyimah, to express her concern that while politicians promise free childcare places, the money allocated does not cover the economic cost of delivering the free hours.

She fears this could result in a situation where those who can afford it receive superior childcare to those who cannot.

Mrs Gration said: “Free childcare, talked about by all the main political parties, is a sales trick. Before any funding is extended to more hours, the funded rates must be realistically set, otherwise we will end up with a two-tier nursery system. The Minister must listen.

“It is not right that we live in an ‘Election 2015′ era when politicians lure parents into votes by bribing them into thinking that childcare comes in ‘free funded hours’ for early years.

“Nursery providers across the country, whether private or the voluntary playgroups, are topping up the government’s funded hours from the pot of unfunded hours, and the sums no longer add up in equations created by government departments who can’t do the maths.”

All three and four-year-olds in England are entitled to 570 hours of free early education or childcare a year, often taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks.

The free places scheme was first introduced in the late 1990s and expanded in the mid-2000s, but the grant funding has never kept pace with inflation.

Last week it was reported theLords Committee on Affordable Childcare found that 85 per cent of private nurseries were making an average loss of £809 a year per child on the scheme.

Mrs Gration, wife of television presenter Harry and mum to twin boys, said nurseries try to cope by charging more for additional hours, above the free 15 hours, to recover their costs, putting a burden on parents.

In nurseries where not many parents are working full time, there is no option to recoup costs and therefore the care they will be able to offer will not be as good, she argued.

Mrs Gration said: “Early years care is paramount to the development of each child and what they achieve in the long-term. Therefore it must be of a high quality.”

Source Article from http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/11827358.Nursery_owner_to_meet_minister_over_free_childcare_places_concerns/?ref=rss
Nursery owner to meet minister over free childcare places concerns
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カテゴリー: Childcare   パーマリンク

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