This morning one of the news items on my radio is the report that nurseries and preschools are struggling to deliver the existing 15 hours a week of free education that 3-4 year olds are eligible for. It is significant that this report comes as parents prepare for these 15 hours to be doubled to 30 hours a week, based on promises made by the Government during and since the election. Whilst the Government has promised parents that ‘they’ will double the provision of education the increased funding will not be made available to Nurseries and PreSchools until 2017. For politicians to pay attention to the educational needs of young children seems to be eminently desirable, although sadly their real focus may have more to do with reducing the cost of benefits from the parents, than with the services for these young students. However for them to promise provision to parents, whilst expecting the private sector and voluntary sector to fund this is a matter that simply does not add up, even by the standards of the Maths that 3-4 year olds are taught. As long ago as 27th October, there was a discussion about this issue in the House of Lords. David Freud who was the Minister who boldly argued that the number of food banks increased demand, without ever having visited a foodbank or met the people who run them was one of those who spoke during the debate. He said:
“It is clear that when you put up people’s rights, the provision has to catch up. It has been doing so, but there is some way further to go and we will be working on that.”
Sadly they have done nothing since then and it seems as though this Government is badly in need of a bit of remedial Maths. Along with the failure by David Freud to understand the difference between demand and provision in foodbanks and now in childrens education, we also have Jeremy Hunt demonstrating that he does not understand that additional Health services cannot be delivered without greater resources. However there may be a solution near at hand. Also on todays news has been a report that Colin Hegarty (pictured above) a Math teacher from a School in Ruislip is in the running for an International Prize. Irrespective of if he wins, perhaps David Cameron could introduce Colin to his Cabinet and organise some special classes for them?