Does the children’s well-being not matter?
It seems that no matter what anyone says, the Government continues to ignore what is best for the well-being of children and families in favour of ticking the boxes for party political manifesto pledges.
There has been lot of press regarding the pledge to increase funded childcare for 3 & 4 year olds to 30hrs. Parents are being given the spin that this will be beneficial to them but that is it, they are not being given all of the facts. So parents do not understand why the industry is so against it.
There is the issue that the current 15hrs is underfunded and so delivering the 30hrs will be devastating to many settings. However, for me the more potentially damaging issues are those that concern the children themselves.
Government have put out a 30hrs Consultation to the industry, in it they look at widening the hours settings can provide the service to 6am to 8pm!
We are already seeing constant reports berating nurseries for failing children, the most recent one concerning language skills. However, nurseries, and indeed all childcare providers (childminders, pre-schools etc) HAVE to comply with the Government’s EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) programme – so clearly it is the EYFS that is failing!
As always though the Government put out policy changes without looking at the implications on the children. Sleep is one of the most crucial aspects of a child’s development, and being disrupted to fit in with attending nursery should not be a consideration. For parents, they may not feel they have a choice if shift work or long hours is the work that they can get! Not getting sufficient sleep can have a direct affect on the baby’s development, stress levels and subsequent mental health.
When are Government going to start doing what is right for the wellbeing of children and families instead of what is right for their public image!!