Business 'threat to childcare'

30th October 1998 at 00:00
Big business and lax regulations could wreck the national childcare strategy, a leading American campaigner has warned.

Children could be put at risk if large nursery chains are allowed to profit at the expense of quality and safety, as has happened in the US, claims Marci Andrews, of the Center for Childcare Workforce.

American wages have been driven down, she said, leaving children in the hands of untrained teenagers. "In some states nursery workers need only be aged 18 and have a basic high-school diploma," said Ms Andrews at a London conference organised by the charity, the Daycare Trust.

CCW's research found low rates of pay despite a three-fold increase in government subsidy to the private sector. In fact, those chains receiving the biggest government grants paid their staff the worst.

The past 10 years have seen a huge increase in American government funding for childcare, with the federal government distributing a childcare development block grant to individual states.

Social reforms under the Clinton administration, such as welfare-to-work schemes similar to the ones Chancellor Gordon Brown plans here, have also directed extra funds towards childcare.

Ms Andrews said: "The lessons we've learned over the past 10 years are that millions of dollars have been infused into childcare expansion, but too few of those dollars have gone on improving wages and conditions, the two things which in turn improve choice and quality."

Colette Kelleher, director of the Daycare Trust, said she was confident the British strategy would avoid mistakes made in the States.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now