Childminders react to Government plan

CHILDMINDERS in Worthing say that the latest Government announcement, that schools will be encouraged to take children as young as two to help solve the country’s child care crisis, will harm rather than help the situation.

Sue Williams, chairwoman of Magic Minders, part of Worthing Childminding Association, said she felt frustrated that the rising cost of raising a child was often blamed on childcare alone.

“Childcare is expensive and takes up a big proportion of people’s wages but that is not the fault of childminders,” she said.

“We charge between £3.50 and £4.50 an hour which is cheaper than a nursery, plus we take the children out and do lots with them.

“It is a lot more intimate service and everyone is really dedicated to what they do to provide the best service for parents and children.

“Little children should be in a much more natural environment than a school can offer.”

Sara Wardell, of Durrington, said she was scared to put up her fees.

“I would rather have my spaces full at a lower rate than not have any children to look after,” she said.

“My profit margins are being squeezed and last year I made £3,000 less than the year before because the cost of living is rising.

“I have parents who are struggling as it is and I know that the income that I do have will walk out of the door if I do.

“I went into childminding when I had my three children and I love what I do but the ideas that the Government comes up with makes things hard.

“The latest one, to have children in schools longer will just take business away from us.”

Carol Stanley from Goring has been a childminder for 22 years. She said: “I do not agree with children being institutionalised.

“They need to be in a home environment where they can relax and chill out. If they want to sleep then they should be able to do so.

“A classroom is not a homely environment. Children need to learn basic skills like how to walk down a road safely or how to feed ducks or how to cross a road. They cannot get that in a classroom.”

Nicky Leah said: “Taking younger children in schools will not work. You will have tired children and tired teachers and probably a lot of teachers will end up leaving the profession.

“I try to keep my costs down and help parents as much as I can but there is only so much that I can do. A lot of us are scared to put fees up for fear of losing work but it is hard when our costs are rising all the time.”