Championing our educators


imagesUJ64W9R5In the debate about the doubling of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds, a promise made by the Government at the last General Election, it is easy to focus on those who made the promise, particularly as it transpires it was uncosted. Subsequent speeches and discussions from these people have disclosed that they would like Nurseries and PreSchools to help extend the hours of free provision, with little additional resources from the Government. Again the focus could so easily be on the Politics of trying to get a quart out of a Pint Pot. In the debate about our health Service, Jeremy Hunt has already offered an 11% pay rise to some of the Doctors in an attempt to get them to extend their hours. However just as our health service is really an issue for the patients, and the care and clinical judgements that they benefit from, so too our education is really a matter of how our children and their families are cared for and helped to learn. It would be easy to assume that early years education is simply a matter of how long the parents of these children are freed up to work. The truth is that educating our youngest children relies on as much care and understanding as happens in our top Universities or best Schools. It would be inconceivable if teaching staff in Schools or Universities were paid below the Governments ‘living wage’ level. However the pay for those involved in early years education does often fall below the ‘living wage’ level. According to a recent paper published by KPMG of some 699,000 jobs in early years and childcare, around 280,000 are being paid below this level. This is the situation before the imposition of a doubling of the hours of ‘free’ childcare. The National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) believes that simply raising the existing pay rates to the ‘living wage’ will increase the costs for Nurseries and Pre Schools by 10%. That is before the additional ‘free childcare’ provision is introduced. It is vital that we ensure the educators of our youngest boys and girls are paid at an appropriate rate. If 280,000 of these people are being paid below the level the Government has identified as the figure needed to live, there is something desperately wrong. Whilst Politicians are discussing how much free childcare they are willing to provide, we need to ensure they also explain how over 40% of the workers in this part of our educational provision will have their standards of living raised. For far too long these educators have been treated as the Cinderella of our education system, yet most educational theory agrees that the influences on us during the first 7 years of our life is the most critical. It is time that these Politicians and their rash promises have their feet held to the fire, so that our children and their educators are not short changed.

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About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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