To find my first au pair I contacted a reputable agency and paid a fairly hefty fee to bring over a French 23-year-old girl. We interviewed her on Skype and she seemed really friendly but quite shy. Her English was very basic but we were assured that it was of an 'intermediate' level and that she would become more confident when she got to know us..
Most childcare professionals support the plans to increased early education for all three and four year olds. They know it will do a lot to help families manage the cost of childcare. So we want to work with government to make sure that significant new investment delivers high quality places for our young children.
The tax-free childcare scheme has been widely welcomed but there are important questions about the effect the scheme will have on childcare prices. If the scheme contributes substantially to price inflation in childcare, not only will its value will be eroded over time, but it could reduce access for those families least able to afford childcare.
Childcare professionals know that for many parents, the cost of childcare is so high that they will never go back to work because it simply does not pay for them to do so. The London Assembly's report stated that 63% of working parents said the cost of childcare had affected their decision about whether or not to work, and 73% said it affected how many hours they worked.
Childcare professionals and families across the UK breathed a sigh of relief last week following Nick Clegg's decision to block Government plans to increase childcare ratios... Yet whilst the announcement is positive news, there remains a great deal of sector concern around other proposed reforms, which are equally concerning.
What many of us who work with young children fear is that this model may lead us to children as young as two being rushed on to tasks they are not developmentally ready for, such as colours, numbers and reading. We need to remember what's at the heart of this issue - and that's the well-being and happiness of our children.