Also concerned about Government proposals

I noted with interest your article in last week’s Herald highlighting the concerns of local schools with regards to Michael Gove’s planned reforms to GCSEs.

Mr Madden at Chatsmore is not the only person to be worried about current Government proposals.

In January, the Government published ‘More Great Childcare’.

This policy document sets out sweeping changes to the Early Years Sector, many of which will soon become law when the Children & Families Bill has passes through Parliament (currently being debated in the House of Lords).

‘More Great Childcare’ received mass condemnation from childcare professionals, experts and parents with much publicity for it’s proposed relaxation of adult:child ratios. These dangerous proposals were rightly dropped following intervention by Nick Clegg but other equally worrying but less media grabbing proposals still stand to go ahead.

In Worthing Magic Minders (Worthing Childminding Association) are supporting it’s member’s opposition to the proposed implementation of ‘Childminder Agencies’. Education minister Elizabeth Truss MP has said that these will provide a ‘one stop shop’ for parents seeking childcare and Childminders wishing to register.

She has claimed that Agencies will reduce costs to parents and unnecessary bureaucracy to all.

She has also suggested that they will improve the quality of care available and attract new Childminders into the profession.

Having analysed More Great Childcare and Ms Truss’s subsequent announcements in detail we are gravely concerned that none of these statements will be true and that parents will be faced with reduced choice and higher costs.

We believe that our livelihoods are under serious threat which is not good for us or local parents and children.

At the same time Government cuts and changes to policy are undermining the excellent support the West Sussex Early Childhood Service are able to offer local Childminders.

The quality assured Childminding Network has been disbanded and dedicated Childminding Support Team made redundant or reassigned, specific Childminder conferences cancelled, and other services such as training under review with the likelihood these too will be reduced or cut altogether.

Childminder agencies will only make matters worse.

This week every year the National Childminding Association (NCMA) celebrated National Childminding Week and our local group held events across Worthing in recognition and to raise awareness about the great services Childminders offer.

Earlier this year NCMA opened its doors to the whole childcare sector and rebranded as the Professional Association for Childcare & Early Years (PACEY) and with this rebranding National Childminding week became no more.

Magic Minders decided to go ahead with our own personal Childminding Celebration, however, and to continue with what has become our annual tradition of hosting a Teddy Bear’s Picnic for our members and their ‘mindies’, which happened yesterday.

Rebecca Martland

Worthing Childminding Network accredited childminder and

Worthing Childminding Association committee member