Morgan: Parents to get ‘right to request’ full working day childcare

The BBC is reporting that parents in England are to be given the right to request schools provide childcare for the full working day during term time and in the holidays.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said schools must take “reasonable steps” to ensure this is provided.

Ms Morgan said her party must champion the interests of children and parents.

Head teachers warned that the idea would have to be handled “extremely carefully to ensure it is not just a populist gimmick”. 

Speaking at the Conservative party conference, Ms Morgan said: “We’re going to give more working parents something the best schools already do.”

“We will be giving families in thousands of schools a ‘right to request’ their school provides childcare for a full working day, before and after school and during the school holidays. 

“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.

“Because we want working parents to have the confidence their child is in a happy and safe environment.”

But Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, warned that while wraparound childcare in schools was generally a good idea, there were many reasons – such as budget cuts or recruitment issues – why some schools were not in a position to offer it.

He added: “Extending provision beyond 38 weeks, providing care outside of term time, can also prove very difficult for schools because of staffing and a lack of private provision. 

“Parents can ask but the government must guarantee that a school’s decision is respected. Otherwise, it is merely going to provoke conflict between schools and their communities and would undermine the decision-making of head teachers. 

“This needs to be handled extremely carefully to ensure it is not just a populist gimmick…”

More at: Morgan: Schools must offer working-day childcare

 

What’s not clear from this report is how the funding is expected to work: is this supposed to be free childcare or charged for? How much will parents pay? And will schools be expected to run it or outsource it to others?

Also, how many requests will be deemed “enough” to trigger the need to offer provision? Clearly lots of details still need to be announced (or worked out) on this one.

Please let us know what you think about the proposal in the comments or via Twitter…

 

Should schools be expected to provide childcare before and after school and during the school holidays?

 

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Comments

  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove With what? The below minimum wage funding provided by the govt that won’t cover the wages let alone the building. Terrific!

  2. jimcuthbertsci

    SchoolsImprove Isn’t this effectively the state subsidising those who pay low wages? Also how does it benefit shift workers?

  3. flelroy

    SchoolsImprove NickyMorgan01 will there be funding for this or are we expected to Magic money out of thin air? Support idea in principle

  4. SchoolsImprove

    flelroy NickyMorgan01 No detail on this seems to have been given, nor on whether parents will pay for the service or not

  5. Dee_KC

    SchoolsImprove full day working care.why not state boarding school till 18 with parents just visiting every so often?

  6. Nor_edu

    SchoolsImprove the real danger here is that people start to think of the role of school as childcare. That’s not what schools are there for

  7. Many schools already offer breakfast clubs.   After-school care is offered by many primary schools although parents are expected to pay.  School facilities are often used to provide school holiday provision – again, parents pay.
    But if schools are expected to provide these things for free, then where’s the money coming from?  Will money supposed to be for education be diverted to child care?  And when exactly are school premises to be thoroughly cleaned (as opposed to the quick term-time lick) and maintained if they’re expected to be open all year round?

  8. ajjolley

    SchoolsImprove has anyone ever denied parents the right to ask?
    Q is will schools get the funding that enables them to say yes to proposal?

  9. ave

    How can schools offer this, when their budgets have been slashed to such a degree that many of them have deficit budgets going forward.  Its not only funding staffing for this but energy costs etc.
    Schools have staff in for the hours they are contracted, anything else would need funding, and during the school holidays is the only time that work can be carried out safely without anyone on the site.
    Clearly its time Nicky Morgan visited a school and saw the problems we are all trying to work through, she would see how difficult it was to get key staff in the first place and I am sure we could all ask her how much she will give each school to provide this childcare.

  10. WendyC116

    SchoolsImprove schools could hire out parts of premises to private providers, but what about the sch building maintenance programmes, etc?

Let us know what you think...