A REDDITCH early-years education specialist is calling on MP Karen Lumley and education minister, Sam Gyimah, to review their attitudes to childcare as the Government encourages more parents to enter the workplace.
Tricia Wellings, who operates Studley-based MBK Training, said that while she wholeheartedly supports plans to allow more parents to return to work, the Government is turning a blind eye to the requirements of early-years professionals.
Tricia’s plea comes after a statement last week by the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, who encouraged councils and childcare providers to come forward and be among the first to deliver 30 hours of free childcare in September 2016.
“It is incredibly frustrating,” Tricia added. “The term ‘free-childcare’ is woefully inadequate – it is not free it is provider-subsidised and it is not childcare, it is education.
“The sector is judged and graded more highly on the quality of education it provides to children than on the care provided.
“It is high time the Government acknowledged that there is no such thing as cheap childcare.”
Tricia added that while the Government’s stance on trying to support parents was commendable, it’s ‘over to you’ attitude was likely to enrage the early-years education sector.
“Essentially, the Government has tossed the baton to us – it is now passing on responsibility because it has made a promise that it can’t afford.
“We should not be being challenged – we are here 51 weeks a year, providing in many cases, 52-and-a-half hours per week of care and education.
“Providing 30 hours a week is no challenge to us – the challenge falls to the Government to fund it.”
Tricia has invited both Karen Lumley and Sam Gyimah to join her in a meeting at MBK Training’s headquarters to discuss the situation.
“I fully support the intention, but the Government has to face the fact that it is not our job to provide free education, it is its job to fund it,” Tricia added.