A nation of parents let out a collective cheer of relief last week at the welcome announcement that the government proposals to increase child to staff ratios in childcare settings had been scrapped. Liz Truss, the woman behind the deeply unpopular idea seemed to lie low for a while. But now she’s back with another so-poorly-thought-out-it’s-actually-quite-funny idea; this time for parents to run after school clubs to make life easier for, er, parents.
“Many parents want to work longer than 9-3″ she says. OK, so if all parents are working full time, a vision this government seems hell-bent on making a reality, who are these parents that are available to run after school clubs??
Oh, of course, that would be the part-time working or stay-at-home parents who no longer receive child benefit, and can’t claim help with childcare costs under the new scheme that discriminates against them. Sure, they’ll be willing to give up the time they want to spend with their own children in order to care for the children of full-time working parents. I don’t think so Liz.
And let me just clarify something; Liz Truss’ title is ‘Children’s Minister’ right? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m guessing that means her job is to represent the interests of children. So where do they figure in all this? Have their needs even been considered while the government all fall over themselves in an effort to accommodate full-time working parents and sideline the rest?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; schools are supposed to be about education, not childcare. They’re 9-3 because that’s long enough for the children. Anything longer is too long, especially with the ridiculously young age our children have to start school in the UK.
So how about you do your job, Ms Truss, and start thinking about what’s best for children? Surely they’re the group of people here that are most in need of someone to look after their interests? They’re the ones whose own small voices are not heard and who need someone to speak and advocate for them and for their needs.
I await with interest Liz Truss’ next idea.