Put your hard hats on kids, Childcare is heading in to a demolition zone!

Yet again I am saddened and frustrated at media reports, specifically Good Morning Britain today, that are berating nurseries and claiming they are BAD for children.

First of all, did you know it is ILLEGAL to film in nurseries in the way you have?? What you have done is BAD!

Nurseries have to have policies and procedures in place to PROTECT children from being filmed for outside use because of pedophiles. How can you blatantly disregard child safety?

That aside, yet again, how can you scaremonger and put so much guilt again on every parent that is now leaving their child with doubts in their minds because of your report – because you NEVER show both sides.

There are over 13,000 nurseries out there and what you are showing is less than 1% but this is NOT communicated. The only reason I see any value in this report is to show the failings of Ofsted and Government policies.

BEFORE Ofsted we had an assigned Under 8’s Officer. This person inspected us EVERY YEAR. They also performed drop in visits throughout the year and was the link and liaison for any concerns we had about a child. Crucially though they also SUPPORTED nurseries and childminders.

SINCE Ofsted, we have a grading system that shows no difference between a ‘GOOD’ nursery that just missed out on Outstanding and a ‘GOOD’ nursery that just missed out on Needs Improving. If you were to look at that in a percentage based grading system that could be as big as a 40% difference!

However, this is not the worst of my woes for Ofsted. In my last inspection report only received last week, there is NO mention of the CARE of the children and the reason we are not Outstanding? We do not ‘teach’ the children enough!

There is no mention of the specific CARE programme the we have in place, that we have an extensive nutrition programme ensuring maximum salt, sugar and saturated fat content, that ensures ‘9’ a -day of fruits and vegetables through our own ‘super sauces’ that also provides 4 meals (not the general 3 in other settings) to ensure optimum nutrition levels throughout the day. There is no mention that our programme encompasses colour psychology or aromatherapy to create a specific nurturing environment for the children throughout the day. There is no mention that we use music therapy for the children well-being, mentally, physically, emotionally or developmentally. There is no mention that we train our staff on how to interact with their children to ensure the best outcomes for their development. There is no mention of how the children are CARED for at all.

Today I have a meeting with David Whitebread of Cambridge University who is an advocate of delaying the age that children start formal education as it is the ever decreasing age of formal education (a Government policy) that is damaging to children and their development. It is the EYFS (a Government policy) that we have to adhere to in nurseries that is damaging to children and in particular causing the current trend of developmental regression. It is the constant changes to education and failing GCSE results and entry requirements to childcare courses (Government policies) that is pushing nurseries to their limits and as it seems causing these situations you are reporting on. Finally, it is the constant meddling by Government in to the financial policies of funding that is forcing the current crisis we are seeing in recruiting staff and cutting corners by some settings. With the new 30hrs Government policy coming in next year funding in some cases only 80% of the actual cost of places will do one of two things;

  • force settings to cut corners and therefore care where they can to survive, or CLOSE
  • force the excess costs on to parents of children under 3, raising costs to an unaffordable rate for parents resulting in FEWER parents returning to work and nurseries to CLOSE

The Government want better outcomes for children and more parents in work, never before have their decisions and policies been so grossly out of sync with their required outcomes!

I have a meeting on Thursday with the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Early Years – I can only hope she listens or all you may be left with is those unscrupulous owners willing to run nurseries that ARE bad for children – but I will not be one of them!

Put your hard hats on kids, childcare is in crisis and it’s heading in to a demolition zone!