If it were not enough that government is responsible for changes that mean parents will find it difficult, if not impossible in some cases, to afford childcare, the Schools Minister Elizabeth Truss is blaming overstaffing at nurseries for the problem.
In a ‘passing the buck’ entry on Truss’ blog, she claims adult-to child ratios for nurseries and child minders as ‘restrictive’, and the ratios should be changed to allow each member of nursery staff to look after more children.
She went on to praise the French lécole maternelle system, although she seems to fail to take into account the significant differences (and similarities) between the English and French educational systems, and the differences in lifestyles of working parents, including differences in legislation for working parents. She also fails to take into account that childcare is significantly cheaper in France, with crèches being subsidised by local authorities by around 80%. She also fails to mention that French nursery schools are considered and integral part of the primary education system, where children start full-time primary school at 6 years-old.
Child-minders in France (nounou) are tightly controlled, and have limits on the number of children they may look after, depending on the children’s ages. The state pays for the child-minder’s social, health, and retirement benefits and the child’s parents only pay for the net pay of the child-minder.
Truss also FAILS to mention that education in France is largely state funded; including the lécole maternelle system, within the principles of the French Republic where education at all levels MUST be non-religious and egalitarian. France also spends considerably more on education per student than the UK.
Yet again, instead of addressing the REAL issues around childcare and the effect of government policies, Truss is playing the ‘blame game’.
Next time, perhaps she may start doing her job and get her facts correct instead of trying to fool the public with more and more smoke and mirrors.