Choosing to spend a month of my summer Au Pairing in Geneva was arguably one of the best yet most terrifying decisions I have ever made. I was putting myself into the hands of a strange family, who I found through an online agency and then Skyped with once (a situation which felt it could quite easily star in its own Catfish episode)...
We have not had a general policy direction for this new Government beyond Theresa May's conference speech where she stated the first duty of the state...
Childcare in the UK is already hideously expensive... and it's going to get worse after Brexit. The UK already has amongst the most expensive childca...
There are huge economic gains from investment in the early years and its workforce. We know it also has a critical role to play in improving social mobility. So I encourage Government to take a more strategic approach to workforce development that helps us attract talented new people and to motivate existing practitioners to progress in the early years profession.
I would like to make it very clear that the childcare sector is required to follow the EYFS - a Government programme for the development of children. It is THIS that is the cause of 'underachieving', this along with the year on year withdrawal of parent support services.
Thank you for knowing that, an hour after I walked away from him - as he cried and kicked and screamed his way through another defiant display on the other side of the window - his sobs still echoed in my head.
The nursery sector relies on people. Bright, brilliant people who love the job they do. Early years education and childcare attracts great candidates, despite lower wage expectations than in other careers.
My school run adventure started a few weeks ago, when I joined millions of other parents and carers around the UK who had already headed back in to the cauldron of school runs since the summer break.
Looking at the bigger picture, Mrs Dinenage brings with her a wealth of experience as the Women and Equalities minister. She has been working hard to reduce the pay gap. With women still making up 98% of the early years workforce, surely being armed with this experience and knowledge will be a boost to the industry?
Having gone through two nurseries and visited several more, I can say with some authority I now know what to look for, so Mums and Dads, here's what you really need to think about..
As a parent who has put their own child through nursery, and as a childcare practitioner for over 15 years, I know all too well the feeling of apprehension when you leave your child at nursery for the first time. It can be one of the most difficult things to do, and it pulled hard on my heartstrings, but at some point in your child's upbringing, you are most likely going to need some sort of childcare provision, for you and, arguably, for your child's development.
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..
All good things, and Australian working visas, must inevitably come to an end. And so here we are, back on the merry go round of childcare. Only there isn't that much that is fun about this experience. Finding a nanny who fits in with your family, who you trust, who will be your kids everything while you aren't there, well, it's not just tough, at times it seems impossible!
As the schools break up, children all over the country will be celebrating the start of a long summer holiday. For most of their parents however, work and other commitments carry on as normal, except now they have the additional task of finding childcare for the next six weeks.
For those with children this week marks the end of the school year which brings much excitement to children around the country, but economic worry to ...
Ultimately who can unite both the Tory party and Britain? It's a huge challenge, but now the men are out of it, the games can stop and the serious players can show that they really care - about ordinary families, their struggles with caring responsibilities and giving everyone, whatever their age, the best care and support.