MN WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus a follow-up question if appropriate, ie once you've had a response. 2. Keep your question brief 3. Don't be disappointed if your specific question doesn't get answered and do try not to keep posting "What about me?". 4. Do be civil/polite. See guidelines in full here.

Live webchat about childcare reform with Liz Truss, Education & Childcare Minister, Thursday 7 February, 1pm

(408 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 06-Feb-13 13:14:14

Hello hello,

We'll be welcoming the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare - Elizabeth Truss MP - for a webchat on Thursday Feb 7th (tomorrow) 1pm - 2pm.

As the Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk, Elizabeth Truss lives in Downham Market with her husband and two daughters. She was brought up in Yorkshire and, before entering Parliament, worked as the Deputy Director at the think-tank Reform. She also worked in the energy and telecommunications industry for 10 years and is a qualified management accountant.

Elizabeth recently wrote a Mumsnet guest blog on the Government's plans for childcare reform, which generated this recent thread - and childcare expert Penelope Leach responded to the proposals here.

Do post your question in advance on this thread, or join us live on Thursday 1pm-2pm.

And, as ever, a gentle reminder to all to stick to our webchat guidelines.

Many thanks.

PoppyK Fri 08-Feb-13 13:40:28

Perhaps part of the reason that people are so distressed at being seemingly ignored is the fact that the problem with the new ratios is the worry that our children will end up being similarly ignored by their carers?

vezzie Fri 08-Feb-13 13:42:23

Thanks Justine

I know Handbag, "that is how politicians work" - that is why you can't have guidelines preventing this - Paxman has the reputation that he does because he is pretty much unique in not letting them get away with it - and he doesn't have guidelines which say "one question only" and "don't be rude".

vezzie Fri 08-Feb-13 13:45:59

PoppyK - absolutely.
I made that point earlier in the chat - which I now see has also been deleted - when I said that watching Truss spout soundbites was like watching an over-stretched childminder plug the mindee's mouths with biscuits instead of finding out why they are upset.

Bicnod Fri 08-Feb-13 13:47:59

YY Vezzie - join the FB group. Do you know how to find it? PM me if not.

Justine - I agree with Vezzie that issuing a statement would be a Very Good Thing, and something I suspect the majority of MNers would support.

Even if you think there's no worry about her misrepresenting the webchat, it would still be a gutsy thing for MNHQ to do on behalf of MNers (unanimous NO verdict in webchat - surely that is important?) - I would be very proud if you did it.

After all, 'lots and lots' of us are pretty angry about this.

FunnysInLaJardin Fri 08-Feb-13 13:52:31

'Very pleased to say that the Minister is hear and will be kicking off shortly.'

You can tell it was a serious web chat. No one picked Justine up on the above grin

Lostonthemoors Fri 08-Feb-13 13:57:37

It would be WONDERFUL if MN were to issue a statement - this would send a very powerful message that we parents aren't happy with this.

Bicnod Fri 08-Feb-13 13:59:45

Please MNHQ? Statement?

ssd Fri 08-Feb-13 14:08:01

I think they will only issue a statement in answer to anything that they feel portrays MN badly in the media eg. saying mnetters endorse these proposals

I don't think it would be right if MN issued a statement off their own backs...although maybe Ms Truss is hoping that happens and sneaks in an endorsement anyway

blondieminx Fri 08-Feb-13 14:32:26

<adds to calls for MN statement>

I am just so furious that Truss could ever think the proposed ratios would provide safe care, and that when she "answered" my question she was so glib and vague and ignored my suggestion that she actually went and tried doing the job she's proposing to inflict on childcare providers angry angry angry.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 08-Feb-13 14:44:51

I don't think there's any need for a statement - the media are fully aware of this webchat - we sent out a press release and a heads up beforehand and indeed many of them regularly use MN so I'm quite sure it will get referenced. It would be odd to pre-empt something that is imho unlikely to happen and to be honest would be a bit rude to our webchat guest - assuming they are going to misrepresent the situation.

We are however continuing to reflect the view that the strong evidence from MN (survey and forum) is that our users don't support and increase in childcare ratios. Just given a quote to the Mail on Sunday on this very issue.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 08-Feb-13 14:50:15

FunnysInLaJardin

'Very pleased to say that the Minister is hear and will be kicking off shortly.'

You can tell it was a serious web chat. No one picked Justine up on the above grin

Cripes.

vezzie Fri 08-Feb-13 15:46:38

Hi Justine - thank you for explaining - and for giving that quote to the Mail on Sunday!

Everyone else - don't forget there is an official consultation about this as well as the petition. These are two ways to have your views officially recorded.

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/department-for-education-drop-plans-to-increase-child-to-adult-ratios?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=17245&alert_id=wFgXwNXbDI_WAfOuHNOyC

www.education.gov.uk/schools/careers/payandpensions/a00220966/early-educ-childcare-staff-deploy

Lostonthemoors Fri 08-Feb-13 15:54:10

Signed! Thank you for the link Vezzie.

Thanks for your response Justine. I think everybody on the thread agrees that the behaviour of Liz Truss here is how politicians typically deal with dissent. It's just very depressing every time you see it. Mumsnet has a lot of influence. The response from mumsnet members has been utterly united on this issue. We need to make sure that voice is being heard.

neolara Fri 08-Feb-13 17:02:34

I've just signed and replied to the consultation. Thanks for putting up the link.

SouthernPolish Fri 08-Feb-13 17:25:52

I have just re-visited the 'crime scene' that was yesterday's webchat and re-read it. Wish I hadn't - made me angry all over again.

I'm fearing Liz Truss is so arrogant and thick-skinned that she will just plough on regardless. I could not believe it when she insinuated that the NCMA had been in agreement. I was thumping the kitchen table when she kept ducking that one.

Am wondering if, petitions aside, a proper demo complete with prams might be the best way of drawing more attention and making her realise she's not going to get away with this one?

SouthernPolish Fri 08-Feb-13 17:31:05

Oh and another massive THANK YOU to Mumsnet!

sheilaturn Fri 08-Feb-13 18:38:02

I am really sorry I missed the webinar as in meetings all day. I am a nursery owner, a teacher, a mother, a grandmother, I employ 35 staff. Every one of them is qualified to Level 3 and 7 are graduates with 2 holding QTS. I am a tutor and assessor in childcare. I will never change my ratios as we are open from 7.30 in a morning until 6 at night and even having a degree does not enable you to look after 4 babies or 6 2 year olds for this length of time alone. Its just madness. I work in one of the most deprived areas of the country and we cannot expect parents to pay much more than they do.
Sort out VAT for nurseries
Stop business rates for nurseries
Stop tax fraud - have voucher schemes for childcare
Bring back the Childrens Workforce Development Council
Have a Workforce Development Fund for practioners to gain qualifications
Pay settings for having EYP/QTS
Make a Level 2 the least qualification an Early Years Worker should hold. There are some fabulous practioners out there who do not need/ want a degree but are great with children. You will loose too many good practioners.
I cannot comment on foreign settings as have never been but I think Ms Truss needs to visit a flexible day care nursery open 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. 51 weeks of the year or a childminder in this region. The offer is open to you.
Mumsnet can have my name and setting.

noviewsonbiscuits Fri 08-Feb-13 20:14:55

This is one of the most depressing webchats I've ever seen, and believe me, I've seen a few politicians getting mauled. Like others I cannot decide whether the Minister is just dim (4 under 2s as a normal family set up, WTF), set up by Dave as token lady-to-talk-to-ladies-about-lady-things or simply in the pockets of the large nursery chains who support this as a way of making more cash.
If anyone does know of any planned demonstrations on this one, please let me know. I'd be more than happy to take DD2 in her buggy as she enjoys shouting and waving things.

BoffinMum Sat 09-Feb-13 09:55:06

Well that webchat went well, didn't it?grin

SouthernPolish Mon 11-Feb-13 09:22:54

A FB group has been mentioned - cant find it, could somebody DM me details? Ta.

vezzie Mon 11-Feb-13 14:13:28

Don't know if there was a fb group about this - the one that Bicnod mentioned is our antenatal group, April 09 - so not really relevant!

I accept that MN thought that "are you stupid?" was rude and deleted it, but the comment I made about Truss stuffing irrelevant facts like an overstretched CM stuffing biscuits into children's mouths.... well ok it was a bit flippant, but nothing compared to bogstandard argy-bargy in the House of Commons. It was a relevant point - Truss was really bombastically and complacently refusing to answer questions.

I am quite pissed off actually that such a broad definition of "rude" pertains here. What is the point of inviting guests if they can ride roughshod over us like this and no one is allowed to comment? I get that MNHQ have to retain a cosy tea party atmosphere to keep high profile guests coming on, but that sort of bossy censorship goes too far in the sense that it substantively censors the debate - it's not like deleting a few random insults. I was pointing out - yes flippantly, but is that a crime? - that Truss was being really disrespectful to the substantive nature of the questions, and it got swept away in case the precious flower was upset. She doesn't need protection from us. She is an MP in the HOC for heaven's sake.

I am reporting this post, and reinstating my mn-retirement.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Feb-13 14:27:09

vezzie

Don't know if there was a fb group about this - the one that Bicnod mentioned is our antenatal group, April 09 - so not really relevant!

I accept that MN thought that "are you stupid?" was rude and deleted it, but the comment I made about Truss stuffing irrelevant facts like an overstretched CM stuffing biscuits into children's mouths.... well ok it was a bit flippant, but nothing compared to bogstandard argy-bargy in the House of Commons. It was a relevant point - Truss was really bombastically and complacently refusing to answer questions.

I am quite pissed off actually that such a broad definition of "rude" pertains here. What is the point of inviting guests if they can ride roughshod over us like this and no one is allowed to comment? I get that MNHQ have to retain a cosy tea party atmosphere to keep high profile guests coming on, but that sort of bossy censorship goes too far in the sense that it substantively censors the debate - it's not like deleting a few random insults. I was pointing out - yes flippantly, but is that a crime? - that Truss was being really disrespectful to the substantive nature of the questions, and it got swept away in case the precious flower was upset. She doesn't need protection from us. She is an MP in the HOC for heaven's sake.

I am reporting this post, and reinstating my mn-retirement.

Well, yes, we certainly think we should go for higher standards of civility than the House of Commons Vezzie (although that's not such a high bar smile). Disagree, as said, that Liz Truss was refusing to answer questions, though certainly answers were not what many wanted to hear.

FloatyBeatie Mon 11-Feb-13 14:50:19

"stuffing irrelevant facts like an overstretched CM stuffing biscuits into children's mouths" was good vezzie. grin

It's so easy to mistake what these political webchats are. They aren't consultations, for sure, and they don't amount to any kind of serious democratic accountability, either: with a few dozen questions chosen for answer from an unrepresentative sample they aren't a greater source of accountability than, e.g., a meet-and-greet in a local shopping centre.

I think that in MN's past both politicians and MN have reaped kudos from political webchats (and strange threads on which "our opinion is sought" for some governmental purpose or another) being perceived as something like a consultation or a serious holding to account. I always thought that was a bit dangerous. Happily, the significance of these webchats is much much clearer nowadays, because they have to stand alongside lots of sponsored discussions, Q&As from business and celebrities with stuff to sell, and other such commercial content. So it is easier to see them as simple attempts to stir up publicity for a product -- attempts that take seriously the advertising wisdom that even negative talk can aid your brand, provided you surf it adequately.

vezzie Mon 11-Feb-13 15:20:41

Well yes this is obviously nothing to do with what happens with policy, (which is what happens at elections, which is when the party with the majority - erm - kill me now), it's just that this sort of headmistressrsy obstructs catharsis. I want my Bob Geldof moment, dammit.

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