One MAHM supporter wrote to us with this comment: May 2014
‘’I thought that you may find this as irritating as I did. Alex Salmond and co have indicated that they will provide free childcare equal to school times to all children from the age of 12 months. I questioned what on earth had encouraged them to do that and this is the response I received’’
From the Early Learning and Childcare Team, Scotland:
“Thank you for your email of 3rd May in response to my letter of 2nd May about what proposals there are for families who do not take up the 600 hours of early learning and childcare and whether we have any advisors that are full time parents.
The provision of funded early learning and childcare is not just aimed at working parents. It is an entitlement for all children regardless of whether their parents work full time, part time or are full time parents. A key aim of this policy is to improve outcomes for children, and there is a strong evidence base to support the benefits of early learning and childcare provision for children.
Many Scottish mothers say the cost of childcare is a major barrier to them finding employment and the Scottish Government wants to support these women in to education, training and employment, and providing affordable, accessible childcare is a step towards this (MAHM emphasis in bold). However, this is not to be at the detriment of the child. The new Act clearly states that high quality is paramount to achieving outcomes for children, so we are clear that increasing the amount and flexibility of childcare will not be at the expense of quality.
You also asked if we had any advisers who are full time parents. You may be interested to know that a formal 12 week public consultation process was undertaken from 4 July to 25 September 2012, with 300 responses received from a wide range of stakeholders from public, private and third sector organisations, and individuals. In addition to this, further tailored engagement meetings were held during Bill development involving over 150 stakeholder groups and organisations from the third, public and private sectors. This included parent representative groups, for example National Parent Forum Scotland and the Scottish Parent Teacher Council. This vital work continued as the Bill progressed through the Parliamentary stages.
It was essential that the views of children, young people and their parents were represented. As a result almost 2,500 children and young people from the ages 3 to 26 and from a diverse range of backgrounds across Scotland got involved in the consultation process. Over, 1,500 parents’ views on services and childcare were taken on board from the significant engagement undertaken during the development of the National Parenting Strategy. The Scottish Government also worked with ParentLine Scotland to seek parents’ views through a survey, which included kinship carers, grandparents and step parents.
In addition to this policy, as I mentioned in my previous response, we have also developed the National Parenting Strategy, which again is aimed at all parents regardless of whether they work full-time, part time or are full time parents. The Strategy champions the importance of parents to Scottish society as a whole but does not seek to dictate to parents on how to bring up their own children. Shaped by extensive research and engagement with a diverse range of more than 1,500 practitioners and parents from a variety of backgrounds across Scotland, the Strategy aims to provide all parents, regardless of their circumstances, with the support and information they need when they need it.
MAHM says this:
What about support for parents who look after their infants themselves and who do not wish to avail themselves of daycare when their child is so young? What about people who don’t believe taxpayer money should be spent on outsourcing childcare that parents would far rather provide themselves, if only they were able to keep more of their hard-earned income through more family friendly taxation?