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Ofsted Director calls to scrap nursery subsidy for middle income families

(152 Posts)
Italiana Mon 03-Dec-12 09:03:59

Susan Gregory is calling for the 15 hours Free Entitlement to be scrapped for middle income families

This is a short preview in The Times today

Bicnod Mon 03-Dec-12 13:53:29

Haven't read the thread but my initial reaction is that it's yet another way of this bastard government screwing over mothers who want/need to work.

I couldn't afford to work if DS1 didn't get the 15 free hours.

Squeezed middle. Again.

LoonyRationalist Mon 03-Dec-12 14:00:04

If they remove the funding from "middle earners" virtually all the non nursery places in our local area would disappear as it is the funded hours that keep playgroups run as charities going. Children with funding would then find it hard to get a place in their local area - making them much more likely to not attend.

Free childcare also helps many children get ready to start school and ready to learn, they can already sit quietly and listen in a group environment, have learnt sharing with their peers etc etc. Remove the funding and you would seriously dent the effectiveness of the reception year as the first term would instead be spent teaching these skills.

mum2twoloudbabies Mon 03-Dec-12 14:05:13

I missed one bad news for my blood pressure (these threads, this govt) angry

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Mon 03-Dec-12 14:07:25

Oh great. What is their definition of middle class?

Will it be free for the nobles and the clergy?

Ok. Will read the article and come back...

snowtunesgirl Mon 03-Dec-12 14:15:30


A large majority of the country are like my husband and I and will be completely buggered. We are not low-earning enough to qualify for any benefits but aren't high-earning enough to be able to afford everything. We also don't have any grandparents around to help us with childcare and it would be impossible for us to live off my DH's wages and we shouldn't have to.

What is clear though is that if this goes ahead, this is not just a cut that will affect DC but will affect women in general. How many families with more than one child will take a look at their finances and go: right then, we can't afford childcare so SAHM is the only option. How is this right? How is this going to help the economy if more and more women will be forced out of the workplace?

Disclaimer: yes there could be SAHD but it's still more common for it to be SAHM.

NewMumJuly11 Mon 03-Dec-12 14:16:55

I think that this is utterly outrageous. My DH and I will probably fall within the middle-income bracket but we both work to support our family. Before having a family we saved and scrimped to make sure we could give our children the best possible start in life. We then very carefully budgeted every last penny (and we hope that the givernment would consider this responsible parenting). We included within this budget CB and assisted funding for when our children hit 3. It now looks like all of this is being taken from us at a time when incomes are not matching inflation. It is IMO wholly unfair to change the rules half way through. When we decided to have children we were entitled to various things. At the very least the government should honour that and only change the rules for children concerived after they make the decision. Childcare is sooooooo very expensive - we currently pay circa £1000p/m. We had hoped to have another child and were carefully planning to only start TTC once we knew that by the time that child went to nursery our DS would be getting the assisted funding and so we could possibly afford it. What if they change the rules now?? sad

EdgarAllanPond Mon 03-Dec-12 14:18:44

on the one hand sending DD1 to nursery was brilliant for her age 3.

on the other she didn't need it, and i didn't need to send her either. it was a nice to have, not a need.

AfterEightMintyy Mon 03-Dec-12 14:39:33

Both my children adored their pre-school. My ds went for 5 terms (September baby) and we would have both gone a bit nuts if we had been in each other's company full-time over that period.

So, he got to make friends (some of whom he still plays with at school now, 4 years later), learned simple numeracy and some literacy, learned to sit down when asked and listen to the teacher, learned about leaving the house on time in the mornings, taking turns, sharing with other people, growing plants, mini beasts, took part in the nativity, went on trips to a farm and a natural history museum, learnt about tidying up and putting things away, how to tie laces, how to help his friends, and had a shed-load of fun.

He would have missed out on this if the funding hadn't been there because dh and I would not have been able to justify finding the money to send him.

Italiana Mon 03-Dec-12 15:23:51

More from Susan Gregory in Nursery doesn't get any better

I would like to reassure the Ofsted director that thousands of c/ms are 'up to the job' of delivering the EYFS and do so with outstanding results
Early Years policy in a mess???

TheMysteryCat Mon 03-Dec-12 15:39:53

My LA are already means testing the 15 hours for two year olds. It's only available to lone parents, parents of disabled children and those on income support... And here's the real stupid kicker... Up until recently it was only available to then if the child was not in nursery in the first place. So for anyone in those groups who were already placing their child so they could work part time, there was no support.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 03-Dec-12 15:49:12

sad I'm well educated, probably lower-middle income though. Certainly not able to pay for pre-school without the funding. It has done my daughter the absolute world of good. I so hope my second daughter gets the same opportunity.

Tanith Mon 03-Dec-12 15:59:32

I would prefer to see the Government prioritising the collection of taxes owed by the big foreign companies.
As EYE have said, those missing taxes are enough to adequately fund our Early Years provision.

However, that has nothing to do with OFSTED: nor has the Early Years Free Entitlement, incidentally.

ImpYCelynAndTheIvy Mon 03-Dec-12 16:16:01

When is this likely to come into effect? I've just applied for a PGCE for next year, but we can only afford it if DS1 gets his 15 hours (and as it is we'll have to use our savings to cover the costs). We'll be better off if I stay at home 'til their at school without the 15 hours.

TigerFeet Mon 03-Dec-12 16:22:27

On reflection I think we need to separate this from the issue of the high cost of childcare. When one has to pay for childcare anyway due to work/lack of non-family availability then the pre-school sessions are automatically there (obv). It would be hard for us to keep paying the full amount every month especially as dd2 is a September baby and will spend 2 years in preschool. We could do it however, as we've been paying this amount every month since she was about 9 months old. With the rising cost of everything else we're being left with very little disposable income.

If one parent is a SAHP and the family lives from month to month financially (I know a number of families in this position despite the working partner being on what many would consider a decent salary), there's every chance that there isn't enough disposable income to cover the cost. Fine if that's what you want or if you plan to HE anyway however it would be hard on children whose parents can't afford to send their child to preschool, they'd be at at a disadvantage socially when they finally start school.

So my child would get to go to preschool, but my friend who is a SAHM's child wouldn't, even though the family incomes may be similar.

It should be universal imo.

Ephiny Mon 03-Dec-12 16:22:38

It's just a suggestion from an Ofsted director at the moment, so impossible to say if or when it will happen. I wouldn't be surprised if it does happen eventually though, it seems to fit with the direction things are going.

TheCrackFox Mon 03-Dec-12 16:29:03

It would appear that the government would like everyone earning under £60k to actually have exactly the same monthly income. I never really associated Communism with the Consevatives but they do seem to utterly determined to keep the middle income bracket in their place.

colleysmill Mon 03-Dec-12 16:55:18

This makes me so sad tbh. By being universal and open to all children I (maybe naively) thought that the hours were supposed to provide an opportunity for all children - regardless of the circumstances into which they are born. I thought it was supposed to be a leveller for children.

I can't lie and say we didn't factor in child care costs when we decided to have children because the finances were pivotal for us. Ds turned out to be an early September birthday so will turn 5 within his first week of school. Children only marginally older than him will be expected to start following school routines when he still has a year to wait. I think this is when preschool will help ready him for school.

It will be interesting to see how all the changes will affect the "squeezed middle" overall - we are (very!) lower middle earners and many of our friends are opting only to have one child because of childcare costs and wanting to give the best opportunities to their children but feel this can only be achieved by having one.

mum2twoloudbabies Mon 03-Dec-12 17:01:24

Agree with you on that one TheCrackFox for some it is becoming not worth striving for progression at work or taking a pay rise. Not sure how you come to the figure of £60k but there is certainly an income bracket that is being battered left, right and centre.

TheCrackFox Mon 03-Dec-12 17:15:10

Yup, unless your career will bring you mega bucks there is no real Point in striving for a promotion. Why bother if you are going to be no better off at the end of the month?

TheMysteryCat Mon 03-Dec-12 17:30:16

This coupled with universal credit is a time bomb waiting to go off. Using the CiH projections I calculated a will be £300 a month worse off under universal credit if I work. If I don't work I'll be £100 worse off.

And that's without the 15 hours a week childcare place, which is only 11 hours if year round care.

There's no incentive to work unless I earn more than £40k per year, and that is totally unachievable. And no incentive for giving my Ds a nursery place either

Italiana Mon 03-Dec-12 17:34:03

Ephiny Truss and Gregory are saying the same things and preparing the ground for deregulation by discrediting c/ms
One talks about agencies while the other hubs and networks...all it means is that c/ms are going to be deregulated and the agency model will kick in
It may take a couple of years though as the law needs changing and in the meantime agency proposals will come in

I fear many will leave, if the choice is between an agency and independence I will choose the latter unless an agency gives me what I lack now...challenging training and recognition for what some c/ms do very well

I will be at the Daycare Trust conference tomorrow and listen to Truss possibly making her announcement and backing Gregory's ideas!

AppleOgies Mon 03-Dec-12 17:48:36

My DH and I have PhDs, one of us is an academic, one of us works in a hospital. We are middle income, we have one DS.

We are fed up of the hits coming to the middle income earners, so much so we are thinking of taking our skills elsewhere. I am tired of being in the squeezed middle. Childcare costs are more than our mortgage. Travel into London is more than our mortgage. We have no debt, which is one thing to be thankful for, but we are beginning to struggle. The only benefit we are entitled to is child benefit and that may not be for much longer.

I don't know of it'll be any better in a different country, but I'm definitely up for taking the risk! <cross>

TeamBacon Mon 03-Dec-12 17:52:27

FGS. If this had been the case when DS was tiny I might well have not returned to work.

We're middle income, but childcare costs are crippling.

minderjinx Mon 03-Dec-12 21:28:48

Don't get me wrong - I love my job. But if childcare costs are "crippling", why is my childcare income quite so modest? I would be "middle income" myself, surely, if all my families were paying me truly substantial parts of their middle incomes?

I'm not saying that it's true for you TeamBacon, but a lot of the people I hear complaining about "crippling" childcare costs are actually moaning about how much of their disposable income is spent on care for the children they chose to have, but they still have nice homes, cars, holidays, clothes, jewellery, meals out etc etc. It does get a bit galling to hear. Children are expensive, of course they are, but they are worth every penny.

snowtunesgirl Mon 03-Dec-12 21:54:56

I don't have any disposable income. Unless you count £70 a month after paying for childcare, bills and rent a lot of money.

We rent a small 1 bedroom flat because we can't afford to buy and are in the process of moving things around so we can stay here longer, a second hand van which my DH bought for his business as he worked out that train fares would be more expensive, no holidays, only clothes for DD, no jewellery unless you count my wedding ring and engagement ring, one meal out a month which is £10 each at a noodle bar.

Just as I wouldn't judge all childcare providers by one, please don't assume that the costs aren't crippling for some people. For us it really is. We are only doing this so that in the long term we can remain employable without taking long breaks from employment.

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