Commenting on Education Secretary Nicky Morgan’s speech to the 2015 Conservative Party Conference, Deborah Lawson, General Secretary of Voice: the union for education professionals, said:
“I welcome Nicky Morgan’s acknowledgement of the ‘hard work’ of heads, teachers and school staff.
“However, on parents’ ‘right to request’ that schools provide childcare, we need to know more details about how this will work and be funded. Will it be for pre-school children as well as children of school age?
“This seems to be a return to the Extended Schools programme that faded away when the Coalition Government came to power.
Back in 2013, when the Government published More affordable childcare, I warned about the readiness and ability of many schools to deliver services on top of their core purpose of education, and the impact on them of taking on those extra services.
“My concerns remain. Great care is needed before this policy is implemented
“If schools set up in competition with existing providers, rather than in partnership with them, this could destabilize the local childcare market, resulting in less, not more, childcare.
“The Government should be investing in existing providers to meet the needs of families.
“In her speech, Nicky Morgan said ‘there isn’t a one size fits all way of running a school’. Although the Government seems to think academies and free schools are the only ways to run schools, there is no ‘one size’ way for childcare.
“All childcare, whatever its setting, should be provided by trained, specialist professionals with appropriate terms and conditions of employment in a suitable environment. It should not be a hasty bolt-on to an education provider that has no experience of childcare.
“We look forward to exploring these plans with ministers and the DfE.”
Voice: the union for education professionals
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