University of Essex Research on impact of Childcare Policy

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Childcare Policy. Has it had any impact? ISER podcast  <-- clickon link for 11 minute podcast

Further reading:

https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/2014/10/22/free-childcare-for-3-year-olds-no-long-term-benefits-for-child-development 

 

Dr Rabe talks about new research looking at the impact of recent childcare policies on children’s educational outcomes and helping mothers into work.

Note :  the university uses the expression ‘helping’  mothers into work – but surely it’s not considered ‘help’  by all parents, since some mothers feel they are being strongly ‘pressurized’  to return to work when they’re already doing ‘work’ at home caring for their child – and they may also have a younger child at home or other care responsibilites.  Using the word ‘help’  rather assumes that this is what all mothers and fathers want – which we know from DfE study on childcare and our own work with mothers is not necessarily the case.

We know that many mothers in particular have a strong preference to care but sadly this is not acknowledged or mentioned in most studies or even implied in use of language describing the research process.   There appear to be several assumptions underpinning most research briefs on the topic of childcare which are that childcare is inherently ‘good’  and ‘beneficial’  and that it is the ‘desired’  choice of most families.   Family preferences,  parents’ love and care, the disposition of the child etc  are not usually factored into consideration. 

Use of language is important and it’s interesting to note that policymakers and researchers use words like ‘the benefits of childcare’  and ‘help to work’  when perhaps more neutral language would be more suitable.  For example they could consider  the  ‘impact’ of childcare on children’s development (as it could be positive or negative for some, depending on the child) and also ‘maternal employment patterns’  instead of ‘help to work’.

 

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