Care about the level of education that 0-5yr olds access in the West Country?

 We reap what we sow. Please join us in showing Government that families and nursery settings can and do work together for the best for all children. #unitedwestand

We reap what we sow. Please join us in showing Government that families and nursery settings can and do work together for the best for all children. #unitedwestand

We know you do as you've all been great in showing your support on our Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter pages. Could we ask one more favour of you though? 

Please could you give us 30 seconds of your time and sign this very quick petition?

https://www.change.org/o/best_for_the_west

As you will have heard the government have promised 30 hours of ‘free’ childcare to families from this September.*

What you may not have realised, is that what the government has promised, is unmanageable, unaffordable and unrealistic and is putting your nursery at significant risk.

As a setting in BANES we are to receive a base rate of £3.80 per hour, per child for the 30 hours a week that they attend across 38 weeks of the year. This rate is significantly LOWER than our hourly cost.

So what does that mean for you as parents?

It means that what sounds like an amazing option for families, is actually going to REDUCE THE QUALITY OF CARE AND EDUCATION THAT YOUR CHILD RECEIVES because:

  • Nurseries are going to be forced to lower the standard of staffing, making cost savings by reducing the qualification of staff working alongside your child. Did you know that only 50% of staff actually need to be qualified??
  • Settings will be forced to care for children at the legal 1:13 ratio instead of the usual 1:8 or 1:6 often adopted by quality providers.
  • The opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities such as yoga, artists or forest school will be lost due to the additional cost to settings in providing these.
  • Trips and outings will cease as settings will be forced to work at full ratio.
  • The quality and choice of foods served will reduce as costs are sought to be reduced. Chefs working at our settings may not be replaced, leaving nursery staff to complete the cooking at the same time as caring at/managing the setting.
  • Staff training will reduce to the minimum requirements of only first aid and safeguarding, leaving staff demoralised.
  • Staff wages will be compromised leading to a possible higher turnover of staff caring for your child. 

If like us these factors concern you, then please join us in calling the government to remove the word ‘free’. 

We want parents to be supported in their childcare costs, but we don’t want it to be at the expense of children.  By allowing settings to charge the shortfall in funding received against their usual rates, everyone benefits.  Parents will still have a significantly reduced childcare bill.  Settings will be able to continue to do what they do best; offer high quality early years experiences for children and families and the government will meet their aim of encouraging parents to work.

Please join us by signing our petition and show that as parents, carers, grandparents and practitioners what you want is QUALITY childcare. 

 *If meeting criteria of working and earning equivalent of 16 hours at NLW to £200k (both parents in a dual parent household) or £100k (one parent in a sole parent household)

 

 

International Women's Day - Wednesday 8th March

We're tired of our predominantly female workforce being taken for dummies.

At Best for The West our main focus is driving up the quality of childcare and opportunity for children in the West Country, well the world over actually, but we've got to start somewhere. 

An obvious way to do that is by ensuring that highly qualified and experienced staff are successfully recruited in to the profession. Simple? No.

The government's newly released funding formula has devalued a sector already lacking in financial recognition. Couple this poorly thought out formula with tight restrictions on nursery settings not being able to sustainably charge for additional costs and the result is an industry that not even Mary Poppins with the passion to get the job done, would want to enter in to. Early Years Education recruitment is currently a bleak and depressing place from which to hire.

Yes we're in it because we love it, everyone should do something they are passionate about, but this is about the need for financial recognition. If the sector were able to pay higher salaries, attract the best pedagogues, you'll find that 'the gap' that schools always talk about having to narrow, will do so thanks to a fantastic foundation to early education.

But we need cultural change, we need policy change. It looks like the Government are about to announce investment in social care, but why leave care of the young out in the cold? We really need anyone that has ever had a child or wishes to in the future to help to drive this change.

Let's start valuing the caregivers in this country. They keep us at work, they nurture the older or future generations and it's about time they were given the recognition they deserve. They should and need to be skilled and well qualified.

We'll be marching later on in March and we'll let you know when, would love it if you could join us...watch out for updates.

International Women's Day is on Wednesday 8th March, please check out their website:

https://www.internationalwomensday.com

 

 

Oh we've got a brand new combine harvester!

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We've been thinking how best to represent our cause.

When most people think of the West Country they might think of the rolling Mendip Hills or the Georgian city of Bath.

Well if you're born and bred down in the West, you'll also know of The Wurzels. 

http://www.thewurzels.com

To kick start our campaign we needed to get the very serious message of the potential fixed low funding levels that government are imposing on Early Years Settings, in a catchy west country way.

So here's our version of the chorus of The Wurzels' "I've got a brand new combine harvester."

Our version reflects the government's promise of 30 hrs Free childcare for those eligible in September 2017. The problem is, is that it's not free, far from it. With incredibly low funding that they want to fix until 2020, whilst costs around us rise, early years settings in BANES will struggle financially or indeed close. The government has the power to change this....we hope they open up communication with us shortly. Until then, we'll be singing this tune regularly!

We've got a brand new funding formula and it don't work for me,

We've got to stick together 'cos childcare isn't free.

We have a solution, it's really clear to see,

Just add the word "subsidised' 'cos outstanding isn't free!

Our version of this West Country classic will be coming to the Bath & North East Somerset Learning Authority soon.....pitch forks and potatoes at the ready!