Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The cost of childcare

I declare an interest: my sister is a childminder. As well as her own 3 children, she minds another 6 or so before and after school and my admiration for her is shared by Ofsted who recently rated her "outstanding".

She will no doubt be horrified to learn that Ofsted intends to increase its registration fees from £15 to £103, as will the millions of parents who rely on after school care for their children and who will no doubt have the increase passed on to them. It is estimated that fees will rise between 190 and 2,150 per cent in the next 3 years!

A letter from the leading children's charities in today's Times newspaper points out the obvious consequence of this proposal: childcare businesses will potentially be forced to close, or they will have to push up prices. The other possible outcome is that childminders will end up breaking the law because they cannot afford the registration fee and if you are in a low income area feel you cannot raise your prices.

This isn't exactly the family friendly proposals promised by Labour at the last election - at least now those parents who need help looking after their children so they can work and pay the taxes which have helped nationalise Northern Rock finally know the truth about this Government.

4 comments:

Brian McGrath said...

Tracey, You should also take into account the massive workload that Ofsted have imposed on childminders . Almost weekly new rules and directives come into play. This year also sees the foundation initative coming into force where children will be tested on over 70 issues. This is something Ofsted will be testing for. I wonder if this icrease in cost is anything to do with that.
Ofseted seem to be creating a monster for their won benefit. Ofsted seems to be the problem not the solution.I can only see more childminders leaving the business . in that last three years the number has reduced by 30%.
Many just cannot make it pay and they are also disenchanted with the rules and paperwork
Brian McGrath

Danvers said...

Is that per child or per childminder?

If it is the latter, are you really suggesting that an extra £90 will be so hard to find that it would put some childminders out of business? Pull the other one...

Sam said...

I am a childminder and have been for nearly three years. I am disgusted at the new fees Ofsted are proposing we all pay them. In the next few years, I will have to pay them the equivalent of a family holiday per year for us (approx £350.00) just to be registered on BOTH lists as Ofsted in their wisdom have now split registration into pre-school and school age (!!!??!!). I am also becoming increasingly fed up of the excessive paperwork we are being told to produce on EVERY child and all the new rules and regulations about what we can and cannot do. Ofsted apparently wants us all to be degree qualified primary school teachers in our own homes. Forgive me for saying this but I decided to be a childminder as I wanted to love and care for other peoples' children while they went out to work and give them a 'home-from-home' atmosphere to feel confident and safe in. I love my job but am seriously considering giving up because of all this increased pressure and interference and then sadly, the only people who really lose is the children.

Ross said...

The rising costs of Ofsted could be passed on to the parents, should they convince their employers to introduce a tax/NI "Direct Payment" - childcare benefit scheme.

The parents would then save up to and above £900 per year on their registered childcare costs.

Why not visit us on

www.free-horizon.com

to see how a schee works. It is not a voucher scheme, so much less hassle for a childcarer.