Affordable, accessible childcare is back at the centre of politics as Liz Truss, Conservative MP for South West Norfolk and a supporter of Cameron and Osborne, takes on the Early Years brief from Deshuffled Libdem Sarah Teather MP at the Department of Education. But my fear is that quality may be lower down her list of priorities
A member of the 2010 intake, Truss has campaigned for more deregulation within early years – particularly in Childminding which she believes will help up the number of Childminders and make them cheaper by allowing them to take on more children. And it seems likely that she will be working closely with Osborne to come up with a policy for the Autumn Statement that makes childcare a Conservative issue.
Her recent report Affordable Quality called for an increase in the number of under-fives that can be cared for by a single Childminder to go up from three to five, and for Childminders to be able to care for two babies (under ones) rather than the current one baby rule. At the same time she would removing regular inspection by Ofsted. and introduce a lighter touch inspection modelled on the Dutch, where only around 15% of minders are inspected each year.
My concern is that whilst parents do want lots of affordable childcare, when I speak with them about childcare, as I do every week, they also talk in detail about the need for that care to be of the highest quality. So that upping the number of children cared for and lowering the inspection will prove a bigger problem than she imagines.
Affordable Quality – read about the Report here
Daycare Trust argue against deregulation here
Read more here in Nursery World