NUT: Early years education cannot be achieved “on the cheap”

Commenting on today’s early years and childcare announcements, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers union said:

“High quality early years education is without a doubt essential for the progress and development of young children. Government policy however, such as reducing the number of Sure Start centres and removing the requirement to employ a qualified teacher in Children’s Centres, is detrimental to this aim.

 “It is to be applauded that the Nutbrown Review has recommended to the Government that an early years specialist route to qualified teacher status should be established. This will make clear to all that the early years is as important as all other key stages and must be led by qualified teachers. Teachers’ working in teams, alongside well qualified support staff, is the way in which the status and professionalism of the early years workforce will be raised and the earliest educational experiences of young children further enhanced.

“The new Government childcare commission appears to be more about cutting costs than any real determination to improve childcare. Education in early years, as in the rest of the sector, cannot be achieved on the cheap. This Government has already done a great deal of damage to pupils’ well being and access to education with cuts to free school meals, the education maintenance allowance, music and school sports as well as local authority support services.

“David Cameron needs to be clear what is meant by schools being open from 8am to 8pm. Many schools already operate breakfast and after school clubs which are run by staff from outside of the school. Opening schools during the holidays and at weekends for use by the local community again is not a new idea. However after school activities are only beneficial if they are affordable. Pupils also need a home life and a time when they can simply relax. Schools cannot replace the home and nor should they aspire to”.

END pr106-2012

For further details contact Caroline Cowie on 0207 380 4706 or 07879480061