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Child care disaster – the result of government neglect | letters

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Yours editorial (June 28) highlights the economic absurdity of current policies but ignores the economic case for investing in quality early learning.

I was an adviser to the Select Committee on Children’s Centers when Liz Truss was Under Secretary of State for Childcare. Unfortunately, she has done nothing to support this innovative service that has produced such great results. I have given evidence to several all-party parliamentary groups on early childhood education and childcare, including the current one; however, the only changes in the last 12 years have been harmful deregulation, privatization and speculation.

It is undeniable that society benefits more from investing in early learning than from investing later. This is because the foundations of lifelong learning are laid in the first five years. This is when key areas of development are maturing at an astonishing rate.

Disadvantaged groups are at even greater risk of poor health, social, emotional, behavioural, cognitive and language problems that affect basic skills, employment opportunities, health, adjustment and crime. Currently, 22% of UK children go to school with developmental disabilities, and therefore cannot function fully in society.

Governments’ rhetoric that they want “high-quality and affordable childcare” is nonsense: no other education sector is described in such an ignorant and irresponsible manner. It is not possible to provide the quality education and childcare that a modern country needs with underpaid, undervalued and underskilled staff in a market-driven, profit-driven sector.
Iram Siraj
Professor of Child Development and Education, Oxford University

Future Prime Minister Liz Truss is proposing to help parents with tax credits only if they decide to give up a career. This is offensive not only for parents who choose not to give up their profession, but also for modern society, which tries to offer mothers a real choice between family and career.

It is true that the main political parties seem to have run out of ideas to deal with the British nursery disaster (the main article refers to England, but the disaster is reverberating across the UK). But make no mistake, these same parties know exactly what needs to be done to fix the childcare mess. They simply choose not to act every day. They decided to push women out of prosperous professions. They set out to make the childcare sector a jungle of private capital that exploits dedicated educators. And they decided to make children, the most wonderful creatures in the known universe, a private business, a soulful economic choice.
Dr. Emmanuel De Luca
Glasgow

My son’s son will start kindergarten in Oslo in September. It will be there five days a week from 8am to 5pm and the monthly cost will be around £300. Yes, 300 pounds. My daughter’s daughters attend nursery school in Sheffield two days a week. The monthly bill is around £1,000. So, on an equal basis, full-time work for one child per month is £300 in Norway and around £1,200 in Sheffield.

And this is just the beginning. Norway should have it one employee for three children if the children are under three years old. Qualifications are essential for all employees and I have no doubt that they are paid better than here and that they have the status that a job like this deserves. In addition, the Norwegian system is specifically designed to create greater gender equality. Not so here.

As with many aspects of our lives today – welfare, transport, social housing, education etc. – we need to “start all over”. Profit should not be a driving force, but a need.
Zhol Miskin
Sheffield

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