Parents may be given the right to ask for schools to provide childcare for the full working day during term time and in the holidays according to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan. Mrs Morgan believes that schools in Britain must look to take “reasonable steps” to ensure that childcare is provided.
When speaking at the Conservative party conference, Nicky Morgan said that she plans “to give more working parents something the best schools already offer”. The idea is that the Conservatives will be giving families in thousands of schools across Britain a ‘right to request’ their school provides childcare for a full working day, before school, after school and during the school holidays. The Education Secretary continued to say that if enough parents call for childcare at their local school, we will expect the school to take reasonable steps to accommodate it, in a way that works for them. “We need to get better value out of all school sites, and parents of both primary and secondary school pupils can benefit from breakfast, after school and holiday care”.
Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers) believes that wraparound childcare in schools was a good idea in general, however many schools wouldn’t be able to offer it due to recruitment issues and limited budgets. Mr Hobby continued to state that extending provision beyond 38 weeks could prove extremely difficult for schools because of staffing issues and a lack of private provision. “Parents can ask, but the government must guarantee that a school’s decision is respected. Otherwise it will merely provoke conflict between schools and their communities whilst also under-mining the decision making of the head teachers.”
Nicky Morgan however believes that schools even with the tightest budget will be able to “fully recover” the cost of considering proposals, feeding-back and setting up and monitoring arrangements by charging providers for using the schools sites. The Education Secretary also confirmed that schools will be able to reject “unreasonable” requests from parents under the new proposals. The Education Secretary confirmed that requests will only be considered if enough parents at the school ask for the service and ensured it will be monitored to make sure enough children are attending to make the service feasible.
Where will this extra funding come from all this extra childcare? With budgets already being squeezed? What do you think? Is this a good idea and is it feasible? Let us know what you think…