Child care charity hits out at schools baby sitting charge

4 May 06
Childcare campaigners have hit back at charges that extended school hours would intensify pressure on head teachers.

05 May 2006

Childcare campaigners have hit back at charges that extended school hours would intensify pressure on head teachers.

The general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers told the union's conference this week that very few heads were aware they were being inveigled into the administration of the 'national baby sitting service'.

Mick Brookes told delegates: 'We must not allow the lives of our colleagues to be further eroded by taking on further responsibility without the power and resources to ensure that the brave new world is feasible.'

But childcare charity 4Children insisted that the vast majority of head teachers backed the principle of extending school services.

4Children chief executive Anne Longfield said: 'The aim of extended schools services is not to place extra burdens on teachers but to maximise the potential of the school as an important centre of the community, bringing together existing childcare providers to create services that work with and complement school services.'

By 2010, all schools will be expected to provide childcare from 8am to 6pm, offering a range of activities and clubs that would fit around regular school hours.

A total of £680m has been set aside to fund the roll-out of the programme over the next two years, with £430m to be distributed by councils and the rest to go direct to schools.

But Brookes said the financial aspects of the scheme were very worrying.

'The requirement to charge for some after-school activities and not for others; to co-ordinate community transport and to further erode financial capacity by raiding school budgets to support such schemes not only threatens administrative chaos but also the loss of goodwill that may well see the end of the traditional after-school club,' he said.

'Why should you do something for free, when your colleague is being paid for the same commitment of time?… We must have the courage to put progress on hold if it threatens to further erode the work-life balance of school leaders, and therefore damage the capacity of the school to fulfil its core purpose.'

Longfield agreed that long-term support and extra funding needed to be made available to ensure that extended school services became embedded.


Did you enjoy this article?