Childcare in this country has reached a critical crossroads. Will we head in the right direction or are we about to take a seriously wrong turning? With the government planning some major changes in childcare provision and funding, it's time to take stock.
Will 30 hours childcare be enough to meet the needs of parents or do we need to have a greater conversation about what role childcare can play in modern society and what this childcare needs to offer?
Assessment forms an important part of our education system, allowing teachers to identify and work on a child's weakness and to let parents know how their child is performing and how they can help their child progress. However, questions are currently being raised by teachers and parents about how this new system will work.
Have you ever called upon your trigonometry skills or done a quadratic equation since you wore a school uniform? Maybe not but that base, background knowledge probably gives you the confidence to get a calculator out or scribble sums on the back of an envelope when that's what is required.
A career in early years should not be a less well paid, lower status and less skilled job than working with older children. Mounting evidence shows the first few years of a child's life are where you can make the most difference to their future wellbeing and success.
There's considerable support across parliament to make certain groups exempt in exceptional circumstances, such as the victims of domestic violence, and we'd like to see the same for those who are in training and attempting to upskill in order to move into employment. This means exempting single parents from the 16-hour commitment.
On my way to work this morning, I saw a woman in her early thirties. She was smartly dressed, in a business suit, and looked like a lawyer or other professional also on her way to work. She trotted along in her high-heeled court shoes, a slight frown on her face. She was probably thinking about an issue at work.
We know many parents and carers have to juggle work with family commitments. That is one of the reasons why the Scottish Government has expanded free annual early learning and childcare to 600 hours a year for all three and four year olds and some two year olds.
It must be wider recognised that mother and child constitute a family and giving women a second chance, with help and support from the state, the voluntary sector and wider kin, might enable them to encounter the responsibilities of motherhood and break the cycle which is placing unprecedented numbers of babies into the care system.
The reality is that the government will become our sector's biggest customer in 2017 when full roll-out of childcare reform is here. But it has to pay us fairly if it wants us to deliver high quality care and education sustainably. The funding has to be sufficient.
We need to attract more people in the UK to become care workers and to do this we need to stop being a youth-obsessed society and start seeing older people as real human beings and value their wisdom and life experience. By valuing older people more, we will value the people who care for them and vice versa - the two are entwined.
LSE is at risk of losing its nursery once again. As a result of its mounting deficit, the school has conducted research into its childcare provisions over the last few months and claim that there is a lack of demand for LSE's nursery, consequently putting childcare in jeopardy for both our staff and students.
My brief tenure as a founding member, and contributor to policy development, of the Women's Equality Party (or WEP) is, I fear, up. As I had feared wh...
The annual party gatherings are over; clear lines have emerged between the main parties; and now all eyes will revert to Parliament as the stage for the next bout of jousting. Debates will range from tax credits to trade union rights to immigration.
I am a childcare provider. To my own children, at the cost of a professional London salary. Yet despite that cost, I am deemed to be making a 'lifestyle choice'; I am dismissed as making a personal decision, as though other parents who take the employment/nursery option are not.
The number of mums now working is up by a fifth since the 1990s and the figures for those working full time have increased to around a third, up from less than a quarter in the mid-90s. This has also meant a huge focus on childcare for working families.