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November 11, 2004

The Future of Childcare.

A Ms. Harker on the subject of the future of childcare:

To become a Danish pedagogue requires three to four years of higher education training. Most British childcare workers are not required to have passed an A-level, and few senior staff hold a degree.

Yes, OK, standard ritual so far. More training needed. Of course, that did so well for nursing didn't it, making them all have a degree. None of them know how to wash their hands now (as Claire Rayner pointed out in the same paper ).
One thing is certain: quality costs.

How surprising, more money needed.
Nevertheless, closing the gap between what British parents and their continental neighbours pay must surely be a priority.

Oooooh! Tricky manouevre but she managed it, managed to get in the thought that we must be more like Europe.
New Zealand, whose childcare tradition has been similar to our own, perhaps offers more relevant lessons. The government there has recently embarked on a 10-year plan to improve the quality of its childcare provision by investing in workforce reform. A commitment has been made to achieve a 100% teacher-trained workforce by 2012. The level of ambition is impressive, and it has been matched by an approach to policy-making that is likely to ensure its childcare reforms will not become a casualty of any future political changes. The 10-year plan was drawn up following extensive public consultation.

Phooar! What a move, she's really dancing now ! References to the Anglosphere for the Euro-scepetics, investment and workforce reform in the same clause and, the killer blow, long term planning so that "future political changes" will not make a casualty of the programme.
Um, wonder what she means by "future political changes"? Could that be a reference to, say, elections? Democracy? The will of the people? No, surely not, no one would be so arrogant, not a good little liberal now would they? She also seems to have missed one blindingly obvious point. As a nation we are incapable of training enough teachers to actually teach in our schools. Is it really a terribly wise idea to insist that everyone employed to wipe bottoms at playschool should be so trained?
In Britain, universal childcare is one of the few frontiers of the welfare state left to navigate. In this respect, we have lagged behind other industrialised countries. We are some 30 years behind Scandinavia, which foresaw the challenges presented by more women entering the workforce, and took measures to ensure that children were not forgotten amid rapid labour market changes. Countries from New Zealand to the Netherlands have also rethought their childcare systems. What lessons can we learn from them? What does good early years provision look like, and how can it best be funded?

A radical and progressive thought occurs to me. Quite obviously the best method of childcare would be for each child to have one or two dedicated carers, responsible for their short term care and long-term education. Budgets would be decided by those carers (the money coming from a variety of sources), as would all the major events of the child's life. A great variety, a positive rainbow hue of multi-culturalism will result, as tens of millions of our fellow countrymen and women experiment with all of the glories and choices that life has to offer. Indeed, one can safely predict that the relationships will become so strong that these carers will, out of sheer altruism and love for their charges, carry on such activities on a more part-time basis when those children go on to have children. I would even go out on a limb and state that for some this outpouring of civic-mindedness will be so central to their lives that they will not, in fact, charge society for their services, being willing to do it out of a pure and noble love for all things bright and shiny in our Nu Labour wonderland.
The only problem with this vision is that "carer" or "pedagogue" doesn't quite encapsulate the social inclusiveness of the vision, does not quite do justice to either the hard work that lies ahead in propagating the idea nor the joys that will be the rightful reward of those carers and pedagogues.

How about "parent" or is that word already used for something else?

November 11, 2004 in Idiotarians | Permalink


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Tracked on Nov 17, 2004 3:25:39 PM


Surely you're joking. They don't have any qualifications for this sort of specialised work. We'll need an army of social workers to ensure that these 'parents' don't mistreat their charges in any way. You may blanche at the cost, but it's all 'for the children' in the end, Tim.

Posted by: Andrew | Nov 11, 2004 11:46:11 AM

We subsidised the production of children by uneducated, unskilled and unattractive single mothers. Meanwhile we think that all babies and children should be cared for by someone with a degree.

There must be some logic somewhere.

Posted by: EU Serf | Nov 11, 2004 1:51:22 PM

If you find it, let me know.

Funnily enough though, the products of that last great leap forward in single-parenthood are probably those they want to now work in childcare - born late-1980s? Called Kylie?

There can be few areas that can match family policy for discussing proposals solely on the basis of ideological correctness, without any seeming regard for the empirical evidence.

Posted by: Blimpish | Nov 11, 2004 2:50:09 PM

By the way - haven't we got jobs to do?

Posted by: Blimpish | Nov 11, 2004 2:50:40 PM

They wern't all ugly when I last looked, but I better not go there.

Posted by: Gawain | Nov 12, 2004 8:09:38 AM