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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

snowtunesgirl Mon 03-Dec-12 21:56:13

Oh and I DO believe that my CM earns her money from hard work, but it doesn't mean that I don't think that the cost is high. It's not the childcare providers fault as they of course have to make a living but it's just so little subsidised in this country compared to many other countries!

TeamBacon Mon 03-Dec-12 22:11:23

Of course its worth every penny..but. If people like me don't go back to work, and don't put their children in nursery, then what are people working in the childcare industry going to do?

I resent the implication that I'd rather but new jewellery than pay more for childcare.

Before we got funded hours childcare cost the equivalent as half my gross salary. By the time I'd paid tax, NI and car costs I had very little left over. What made it worth going back to work was knowing that I'd actually be able to take home some money after all the costs when funded hours kick in.

And for the record - I don't buy jewellery ever, we have one second hand car, one UK holiday a year and havent had a meal out since august last year.

TeamBacon Mon 03-Dec-12 22:13:52

Funded hours enable women to go back to work when they may not have otherwise done so. This is yet another way of keeping women at home.

TheMysteryCat Mon 03-Dec-12 22:28:05

It's not childcare that is expensive; it's that salaries are are far too low. I think it's shit that the well qualified and brilliant nursery staff where my Ds goes are paid only just over minimum wage. And no one else is making vast profits either.

minderjinx Mon 03-Dec-12 22:41:30

Snowtunesgirl - I didn't say I assumed nobody had high childcare costs relative to their income. Some people obviously do. FWIW I do agree that taxation should be used to fund some childcare, or preferably tax breaks given to those with childcare costs.

I haven't assumed anything about your circumstances either, Teambacon, and said as much. I started my second paragraph " I'm not saying that it's true for you TeamBacon...". I am fully aware that there is no way I could know how you would prefer to spend your money.

TeamBacon Mon 03-Dec-12 22:57:07

Or anybody else's...

Festivedidi Mon 03-Dec-12 23:13:04

I am "middle income" and would be one of the people affected by the loss of funded places but I appear to be in the minority here in saying that I would fully support the reduction of funding for all and targetting the provision to the most disadvantaged children.

My mum worked for many years in a pre school in one of the most disadvantaged areas of the country and some of the tales she told were truly awful. These children had such horrific home lives that the funded pre school place they were given (and a lot of these were full time places rather than just 15 hours) meant that they had some time every day somewhere warm (because their own home was unheated), they had a 'decent' meal (I wouldn't necessarily call school dinners fantastic nutrition but they're better than nothing), they had a consistent adult in their lives who cared about them and tried to help them develop the skills and knowledge that they would need in reception. Those truly disadvantaged kids REALLY REALLY need as much intervention as possible as early as possible imo, purely to give them the same chances as the dcs of the rest of us who are capable of meeting the needs of our dc.

I don't necessarily think that income is the best way to assess disadvantage though as my sister's family would count as a disadvantaged family in this sort of situation and her kids are perfectly well looked after and provided for. I don't know how else it would be feasible to assess disadvantage though so maybe income would have to be the base-line.

Btw We pay more than our mortgage for full time childcare for our one dd that needs it (dd1 is at secondary school so doesn't need childcare), and dp's wage is more or less taken up by the childcare and travel costs, so the funded 15 hours a week will make a rather large difference to our household income. We are still happy to lose that funded place in order for a child who is in much more desparate need than ours to have a longer time in funded pre school.

muddledmamma Mon 03-Dec-12 23:20:01

So perhaps free hours should only be accessible via social work/GP/HV referal then?

I disagree. This will stigmatise all those accessing free nursery hours.

These early years are so important for socialising children, getting them ready for school environment, letting them get comfortable with non-parent care-givers. It's a shockingly bad proposal. omg this government.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 03-Dec-12 23:22:06

Would it also mean pre-schools are only full of either very disadvantaged children or those of wealthy SAHM (and probably polarised so these aren't the same schools?). I like that our current pre-school has a good mix.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 03-Dec-12 23:22:19

Would only be I mean.

Strix Tue 04-Dec-12 07:05:21

I wonder how this will impact funding and therefore attendance of nursery years attached to state primary/infant schools. will they all change their admissions criteria.

I am sick and tired of being told to pay for things i am not entitled to and cannot otherwise afford.

Have we really come to a place where hard working people's children are less deserving of an equal education? If we have, it is time to think long and about which party will get your vote in the next election.

Italiana Tue 04-Dec-12 07:17:45

I believe that childcare should be universal and accessible to all children regardless of parental income, as said above if it was only for the 'disadvantaged' those children would enter school already labelled

I wonder why our politicians went to France, considered the Dutch model, thought of Denmark and Scandinavia and then....came out with the worst solution of them all by breaking up the childcare sector and introducing ah agency via the back door

I believe that parents have power and influence and it should be up to them now to revolt against get a petition going against Ofsted/DfE proposals (oh yes they are working together on this) will be sure to have thousands of providers signing it for you

In the meantime I am off to London to listen to Truss following in Susan gregory's footsteps and hear a bit more c/ms bashing!!!

nextphase Tue 04-Dec-12 07:24:25

So, if we want to cut the costs of the 15hrs funding, why don't they just make it the 3 terms before the child starts school - ie all 3 year olds start in the Sept. Why do the older kids, who will be at an advantage when they get to school anyway, get 5 terms of funding? And the younger ones, who some people think struggle at school as a summer baby, only get 3 terms to adjust. Doesn't that increase the divide?

What am I missing?

SleighbellsRingInYourLife Tue 04-Dec-12 07:38:19

Stupid proposal, just utterly daft, for all the reasons given.

People who buy that the same money will be targeted at the poor are living in dreamland.

First remove the universal benefit, then scrap the means tested benefit from the "scroungers".

That's how it works.

How can anyone believe that this government, committed to removing benefits from people too sick to work or unable to find work in a recession, will hand over money so those same people can have free nursery places?

We3bunniesOfOrientAre Tue 04-Dec-12 07:49:00

I agree nextphase and I have a 3yr old who gets funding in jan for 5 terms. And it will alter my working plans as I am planning to work more when funding kicks in. It would however equalise the amount of education given to children, whilst still ensuring that all children have the chance to have some nursery provision. Those who are working/ rich can pay for it earlier (maybe with higher childcare voucher subsidy), and funded places can be available for those children who are considered to be at risk.

I guess that some children will fall through the cracks who are in need but it doesn't become apparent until they are in childcare, however it does seem odd to me not that I am complaining that unless I made contact/ sent ds to preschool he would not see a health/education professional from when he was 18 months until he was 5, so maybe a 2.5yr check at which need for early nursery could be assessed.

TeamBacon Tue 04-Dec-12 09:59:01

I agree with nextphase, despite having a autumn born child. It's about early years education, the fact that its also paid childcare is just a bonus really (though a very gratefully received one!)

I would much rather that all children got funding from the September before school starts, than lose it completely.

Strix Tue 04-Dec-12 12:03:35

Italiana, I dont think parents have any power over ofsted. Sadly!

TwelveLeggedWalk Tue 04-Dec-12 12:21:24

Taking the social considerations out of the equation for a minute, I don't understand how this makes economic sense.

I am self-employed and have twins. The childcare costs are absolutely hammering me, and most of the time I barely break even through working (I pay childcare because DH has had to take over the lion's share of all household expenses). However, any money I do make is taxed. The nursery staff who are employed to look after my twins pay PAYE tax. The small amount of disposable income I do get thanks to working gets spent back in the economy. The five years I've invested in building up my business are not going to waste, nor the five years of largely tax payer-funded higher education. As a sole trader I cannot access the childcare voucher scheme, and currently working part time it is not economically viable for me to become a limited company. Obviously nor can I offset those childcare costs against tax in any way.

I have been praying I can get through the next 2 years before they take this funding away so I can get some assistance with childcare costs to enable me to work more. Not watch Jeremy Kyle, work. You hear that Gideon? WORK MORE

If me working becomes completely cost ineffective I shall stop, and enjoy my children. All that lovely tax and PAYE and VAT I'm indirectly generating will stop going into the economy.

HOw does that help anyone? confused

minderjinx Tue 04-Dec-12 12:50:54

I agree that it would be a good idea to have just one year of funded pre-school.

I also think that it is wrong thinking for local authorities or central government to imagine that pre-schools, nurseries or childminders can somehow make up in fifteen hours a week for a deprived family life or poor parenting.

Lemonsole Tue 04-Dec-12 16:35:02

The effect will be to stigmatise preschools. At the moment our community preschool reflects our very mixed community, to the benefit of all. Families will be less likely to take up their places if it makes them stand out as "needy".

Strix Tue 04-Dec-12 16:55:12

It will also tip more middle class parents over into the world if (illegal) cash in hand arrangements with (typically) Eastern Europeans.

Let me just briefy describe the situation of tow au pair frinds of my au pair:
Friend 1 - Shares her room with toddler whom she looks after for a whole lot more than 25 hours per week. Paid in cash. They tell her to buy her own food, and don't let her turn the heat on in the house during the day because it costs too much.

Friend 2 - Paid an au pair wage. Didn't pay her for 5 weeks because they couldn't afford it. When baby needs nappies, au pair is to spend her own money on them. No bus pass. No phone. She works all day Mon - Fri. She is paid £100 per week in cash. They have now paid the 5 weeks of arrears.

Every au pair I have comes to me and tells me horror stories of her au pair friends and tells me how glad she is she has our job. And here I thought that tiny little bedroom (which she does not share with anyone) was a real deal breaker. I gues treating them like real people counts for more.

But higher taxes and fewer benefits will drive many middle class families to go down the road described in the two examples above.


EdgarAllanPond Tue 04-Dec-12 19:29:01

The effect will be to stigmatise preschools."

i very much doubt it. lots of people will just pay, now they have got used to having it.

paying for things does the precise opposite of stigmatising them, generally speaking.

Brycie Wed 05-Dec-12 01:19:10

"I believe that childcare should be universal and accessible to all children regardless of parental income"

And.. we're going to pay for that with ...candy floss?

WidowWadman Wed 05-Dec-12 07:18:24

Brycie - either preschool is a universal right for all children or not. Do you next suggest that middle income parents are having to pay for school, too?

Offred Wed 05-Dec-12 07:25:55

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