Morgan: Schools must offer working-day childcare

blog 1 over run schools (4)

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…



21 thoughts on “Morgan: Schools must offer working-day childcare

  1. Has anyone considered what Childminders will think of this and the impact on their livlihoods and on the businesses already offering after school and holiday care privately? This is like massagjng the unemployment figures by putting people on mandatory courses or other benefits.
    What about PFI schools who have to rent the rooms and furniture in their building after school hours?

  2. I think it’s good ideal to help working parent to work full time and parent who are not working can go back to work.

  3. Re where will the funding come from, hasn’t Nicky Morgan answered this? Presumably providers will pay the school for the premises, and the providers will in turn charge the parents for the after school child care. Parents are used to paying for out of hours child care and will not expect this to be funded by the government. Alternatively the schools will arrange the out of hours care as many do already (breakfast clubs, after school clubs) and will charge parents for the cost of this.

  4. I feel it would be work ok and parents would know their children are safe however, the funding must come from the parents. It would not be fair for the money to come from the school budget or tax payers money.

  5. Whilst i appreciate that school holidays are a problem for working parents it bothers me that we seem so focused as a society on getting women back to work. It seems to me that we are ignoring the immense benefits that come from children being cared for by a parent. The security and sense of wellbeing that comes from the consistency of a child knowing that mum/dad will be threre is extremely valuable. In addition to this what about the time after school and in the holidays that a parent can spend listening to their children reading, doing homework and teaching them basic life skills.
    What happened to family values?

  6. Perhaps they should bring the sure start centres back that they closed ! School staff to enough hard work during the daytime.

  7. As a supply teacher this could help me to earn a living. Work has bn so slow this term, which means that since the end of term in July (almost 3 months go) I have only had 5 days work! No work, no pay! How this will b funded is the problem.

  8. I agree, as a support teachers it is very slow this year and these are roles which support staff can take on. But the funding is definitely an issue!

  9. wonderful idea – 24/7 teaching! To 68 years old.
    Maybe OFSTED too every year!
    New National Curriculum
    New Exams !
    More student / parent rights!
    Less rights for teachers + lets sack them on any complaint : too !
    Let students do anything to a teacher : kick, swear, spit, no homework, false complaints …

    Just two question
    1. We not have enough teachers to fill the teaching posts we have + most school are
    Bursting at the seams + I cannot even get safety pins to put up student notices (so I buy them – yes!! What ??? ! … No money! No time ! Fantastic amount of paperwork !!!

    2. Can I get early retirement ? Please ! On full pay too :)

    Maybe Miss Morgan can lead the way and show us how it is done + keep sanity ?
    Oh well …wishful thinking !

    Finally my wife left me …. As I was more at work than at home as a normal classroom teacher !

    Good advertisement for the teaching profession + our beloved Teaching Council (they seem to have fantastic modern building with better security than our top law courts + booming trade killing off teachers!

    Come and join us : just beware of the health issue ! Like smoking !

    Now we do child care !
    More lesson plans, risk assessment etc etc etc …

  10. The other question is will this become part of the expectations of a teacher? When will they then do their planning and marking? How will this effect recruitment and retention?

  11. Sounds like another push from the Government to get parents working longer days. Are they considering the child in this? Should a child in primary school be expected to work a 9 or 10 hour day? Is this good for their well-being?
    When will governments put family first, and make it easier for those of us who want to have breakfast and an evening meal with our children.

  12. Let me see schools are already expected to provide emotional education, make sure that children have a healthy lunchbox, breakfast clubs, Chinese lessons etc. What is it with the parents of today (not all) that are so pathetic in their myopic mollycoddling child rearing that they can’t organise their own family lives. Schools are already under pressure having to meet politically correct mandates forever providing unfeasible requests; no wonder that dumbing down is all the rage and real education takes a back seat…

  13. Well as long as they aren’t expecting the teachers who already work incredibly long hours to provide this all-day childcare that’s fine. It could provide employment for a lot of people. However, how on earth is it going to be funded? I am assuming that the parents will be charged for all the extra child-care that they are receiving? If not, then I really don’t see how it will work. Unless they are assuming that the teachers will provide breakfast club and after-school club supervision for free? The devil, as always, is in the detail.

  14. Brilliant, another thing schools will have to look to provide! Not content with us having to give breakfast, lunch and tea (in after-school clubs), act as counsellors, medical professionals, social services experts, family support etc. and maybe, when we have time, a little teaching. Why oh why is everything now the responsibility (and fault) of the teaching profession? Less and less in our budget, more and more bureaucracy, more and more pressure, where will it all end?

  15. I’ve had even less work on supply this term – only four half days, but schools won’t be required to employ childminders at teacher pay rates, I’m afraid Maizie. Neither will children think of school as a learning environment, but just as somewhere for their parents to dump them. And what about teachers being able to prepare the classroom environment outside normal contact hours?

    I think the important question, however, is whether it is good for children to spend all their waking hours in a school environment? If it is, then why not make all schools boarding schools, so their parents won’t get any sleepless nights that might affect their efficiency at work the next day!?

    I think this insistence that both parents should be out at work full-time, possibly travelling for an hour or so to get to work, leaving them very little quality time with their children, is building up huge problems for society in future. In one school, in a largely middle class area, where I have worked on supply over a number of years, there has been a decline in behaviour in the last two or three years. One teacher remarked that the children whose behaviour is worst are the ones who attend both the breakfast club and the after school club every day. I often hear children excited about going to play and have tea with a school friend, but none of them ever tells me that they are excited about going to an after-school club.

    I suppose the extended opening hours give Ofsted and their government masters another stick with which to beat schools into the academy mould.

  16. I fully agree with Ann (above), where are the children in all of this? How are they ever going to bond and learn family values via parents? Institutionalising children for up to 10 hours a day cannot be good for them on any level. I have worked in schools with wrap around care and the poor behaviour of these children stands out during the school day. Within a day of teaching a class I could spot the majority who attend the clubs. How much sleep do children have if they are in the school environment at 8.00 in the morning, fully equipped for their 10 hour shift. Most adults struggle with this length of time in one setting so why do we think it’s a good idea for our young children. Mums and dads cut your cloth accordingly and spend time with the children you chose to bring into the world.

  17. Poor kids! Many schools are hideous breeze block cubes – children should have time to run and be free and play and imagine and hang about – let’s not make them go to school 52 weeks a year! Let’s invest in summer camps in the American style and heh – scouts and guide camps and play schemes – let’s get them out from under the feet of teachers and engaging with real life humans – let them pursue other ways of learning – invest in more outward bound – the opportunities are limitless – schools are grim, over-crowded , over-regulated, plastic prisons.

  18. I agree that more needs to be done to develop out of school after school and holiday activities. There are, however, too many parents who seem to think the country is a service industry (and I don’t mean the ones who work every hour to put food on the table as they often volunteer to do things even if they cannot really afford the time to do so), greater support for community activities, whether it be promotion of events, funding for paid employees, paid expenses, more efficient DBS processes or funding for accommodation and equipment would definitely make an impact (I do not simply mean giving private companies greater money making opportunities, those who can afford their services already use them). There are many worthwhile groups which exist currently (youth clubs, guides, scouts, sports clubs, holiday clubs etc.) but many are inadequately supported and seem to be using an increasingly shrinking pool of willing volunteer. Volunteers are the backbone of many activities and this must not change but without adequate peripheral support (such as recruitment and development of incentives for more adult input into these groups) there will always be a struggle to meet demand. I say this from first hand experience, I am a mother of two, a head of a high school department, an occasional helper at a local scout group and a volunteer coach for the gymnastics group my children attend, I am married to a primary teacher who is also a scout leader. The situation was brought home to me last year as one of my children would love to play rugby but frustratingly our local team have folded their primary squad due to lack of adult support, my first reaction was to see if I could fit this is to my schedule but I already do as much as I can to support my children’s interests and those of the community (as do many others), for me this would be one group too many. It frustrates me that there are people who just assume that if they pay their fees someone will be available to provide what they want, often time and manpower are in just as short supply as money. Any new scheme would have to address this too.

  19. As a parent, an NQT and an ex-chairman of my children’s school’s after school club & playgroup, I would like to access OCCASIONAL pre & after school provision. But… My kids both hated being “dumped” at after school club when I did my teacher training. I hated doing that to them (in years 3&5). Add to that, it’s not so easy to recruit staff for after school provision. As chairman, this was part of my role. No-one wants to work from 3pm till 6pm for minimal wages! (Well, not many people…)

    My current solution – given that my husband can take the children to school most mornings, but not all… I do voluntary work in schools & pick up cover (directly from the schools I volunteer in…) Then I can dictate my own hours. Not so much cash, but that’s not everything. My kids (now years 5&7) like it better. If I’m not in when they come home (occasionally), they let themselves in. I am usually not that late (no marking, little preparation). Not great teaching environment, but happier family & as someone else said… WE chose to have the children… They’re well-behaved (at school if not always perfect at home..), and growing up fast. I wouldn’t have it any other way… UNLESS someone offered me a decent part-time teaching role, where I could start a bit later, finish earlier & not take so much work home.

    No way would I even countenance working in a breakfast or after school club! (Running Guides & Rainbows is much more fun…)

  20. As a working parent whose child is in 2nd year primary, I feel childcare or even after school clubs for all years should be available. I pay for my child to attend nursery childcare he is technically too old for or rely on his grandparents as his school does not have any after school clubs for his age or younger. So paying the school for this service is not a problem. It would also be more proactive in helping aid his social/emotional development, which is affected by his current childcare arrangements. I do understand not all parents have the money to spare. However, feel it cannot be disregarded straight away, because as pointed out schools without money to spare in deprived areas are still managing to offer this service.

  21. Gosh – not much sympathy out there for people like myself, a single mum who has no option other than to use full time child care in order to work. Unlike many of the above – I have no partner to take up the slack re either childcare or financial support. Nor any grand parents – both dead. It’s usually a stark choice between full time childcare so I can keep a roof over our heads – or poverty and quality time. But ironically at the moment even that ‘choice’ has been taken away – because the after school club recently closed abruptly – the mums’ who ran it decided they needed to spend more time with their own children – and the school won’t step into the breach because it ‘takes too long to set up a club.’ There are no vacancies a available at local childminders either – all are busy providing the 30 hours for younger children. So poverty it is then..

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