Major reforms aiming to help tackle a shortage of childcare places in areas like Norfolk will today be unveiled by one of the county’s MPs.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Elizabeth Truss, childcare minister, believes her shake up will help provide “more choice of quality education and care for parents”.

But the South West Norfolk MP is likely to face a backlash today from parents and charities who fear her overhaul will reduce quality and increase prices for families.

As part of her reforms, Mrs Truss wants to improve the qualifications held by childcare workers to bring them more in line with those of teachers. She said: “When parents had their child over to the care of a childminder or nursery they are not just entrusting them with their child’s physical safety, they are also entrusting their child’s brain.

“With this in mind it is no longer acceptable that childcare professionals are not required to have a GCSE grade C or above in English and maths.”

Workers would be able to achieve a new Early Years Educators qualification which would allow their nurseries to increase the number of young people it looks after per member of staff. Mrs Truss said that would allow nurseries to increase their capacity and use the extra revenue to pay higher wages.

As reported previously in the EDP, Norfolk faces a race to provide early education places for thousands of disadvantaged two year olds thanks to a government policy promising free access.

Last night Barnardo’s director of strategy Janet Grauberg warned it would be watching carefully to ensure the changes did not jeopardise the quality of care available. “It is quality of care that really counts for the most disadvantaged children as poorer children’s vocabulary can lag up to 15 months behind their peers making pre-school education crucial in helping to close this gulf in development.”

The government reforms, published today, also aim to overhaul childminders and make it easier for them to set up business by introducing “childminder agencies” and increasing the number of children they can look after. Mrs Truss said this was particularly important in rural areas where sparsely populated communities mean many families are more likely to rely on childminders than nurseries.

But Norwich mother of two Sophie Berry said she feared any changes would lead to price rises. She said: “It’s a really fine line as to whether it’s worth going back to work or staying at home and looking at the children. I would hate to think the cost of care would be too much to stop me going out to work.”

Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children’s services Alison Thomas said she would be studying the proposals closely and would welcome any measures that provided extra support for Norfolk families.

10 comments

  • I'm not sure if Ms Truss means more jobs for parking attendants and warehouse-staff.This is parking in a warehouse.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

  • I assume when they are forced to take the children out every day they will start to develop new buggies to take 6 children? Other wise they will have to juggle them.

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

  • Its all about Equality,Human Rights and Feminism ! TRhe best for children and thats the subjet here is to have the Mother at home to care for them as only a Mother can.But we have the situation today that to make ends meet both Husband and Wife have to workmreat result for modernism is,nt it !!!

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

  • Thanks Peter, that's given me an idea for the name of my agency "Childhomewarehouse". It will be a sort of chilcare factory farm operation: pile 'em high to cut costs. There will be many benefits from this overhaul. It will prepare the child for larger class sizes when the inevitable effects of education spending cuts are felt. The implied deregulation, 'making it easier', will bring the same ethics to the care of children as the government's friends in the payday lending sector have brought to responsible borrowing.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

  • Any Government or politician that forces parents to consider child care, to have their children's mind indoctrinated by other people, for the majority of the day and for no more than economic reasons alone, is a mug. There is more to life than keeping up with the Joneses. She might want her two daughters looked after by others, but parental guidance for one's own child is still the best option.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

  • Old Lizzie's figures don't add up, higher pay, better qualifications plus more kids shirley would mean higher costs to the working mums.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

  • Anyone who shoves their baby or toddler into a nursery to be cared for by one staff member of undefined ability to six kids because they don't like the cost of childcare, but has a house larger than their real needs, a car newer than they really need, a full wardrobe or smokes twenty fags a day or takes an annual holiday abroad should have a very hard look at how little they value the welfare, happiness and future success of their child. Economical child care is a real need for those on low wages and those without an extended family back up. But what a world where parents want to scrimp on childcare so they can afford luxuries their grandparents and even parents would not have dreamed of.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

  • blimey, for one in my life I totally agree with Ingo! :) and the clue is in the word 'childminder' i.e. someone to mind your child whilst you are unable, not teacher, not someone to provide education, just very simply someone to look after them and make sure they are safe and happy, end of.

    Report this comment

    catalonia13

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

  • Emphasis ought to placed on enabling parents to look after their own children rather than encouraging farming them ought to be looked after and brought up by others!

    Report this comment

    beverley

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

  • One almost fell of one's chair, blast you! This is a historic day - a first for the EDP in reporting some actual work of substance that Liz is doing. Usually it's soundbites or a non-story where Liz is writing to a minister about something. Best stick to the latter in future, much less controversial.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 14°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT