First Steps to next steps: securing the future of childcare?
A lively and interesting day at the annual Daycare Trust Conference held at One Great George St, in the heart of Westminster, London.
A time of change, as Acting Chief Executive, Anand Shukla confidently continues to bring increasing research and consultancy dimensions, following Alison Garnham’s lead. Alison is now chief executive at Child Poverty Action Group. Both Sarah Teather, Minister of State for Children and Families and Sharon Hodgson the shadow education minister brought their views and positions for the future of childcare.
An interesting piece of research was presented by Kate Groucott, Policy Director for Daycare Trust, on Informal Childcare; Choice or Chance. Some excellent research and a scope which spreads far and wide into how families actually manage their childcare needs. A range of formal provision with an ongoing use of friends and families to make it all work. Often called the patchwork of childcare and in the past seen as a way of bypassing the formality of Ofsted and expensive childcare.
The research brought out the feel of why parents use families and friends; and it is so often both because of the level of trust and confidence parents have with people close to them, and also it can be flexible in making a bridge between home and childcare or school. It is less expensive and becomes an effective bartering system as people work with each other to make lives easier and better too for the children.
At the end of the conference the new chair person, Maggie Darling expressed that Daycare Trust would continue to hold the government to account on behalf of parents and families and would continue to campaign for Early Years and for school age childcare and especially to ensure that children with special needs were supported.
Rita Stringfellow, the outgoing Chair for the last six years will be much missed. She has seen Daycare Trust go through some interesting changes and has been a stalwart in keeping on the right tracks with developing a strong team alongside.
Daycare Trust continues to be at the helm as the National Childcare Charity campaigning for quality, accessible childcare for all and raising the voices of children, parents and families.
Sue Martin, SmithMartin Partnership LLP – working with children, families and communities.