And so Polly\’s dream comes true

Dear Polly has long advocated that child care should be a graduate profession. Indeed, she likes the Finnish (?) system where everyone changing nappies in daycare has a Masters degree.

We\’re getting there slowly:

Nursery workers so illiterate they stuggle to read stories aloud

The proposed solution?

Prof Nutbrown will set out her recommendations in the summer but has suggested raising entry requirements for courses and bringing a licence for nursery workers similar to that of nurses.

Nurses, of course, need to be graduates now.

It\’s part and parcel of a long process of professionalising child care. Something which makes it hugely more expensive, of course. First really got going a decade back as the licencing and regulatory regime was tightened and up above you see the onward march of the campaign, regardless of who is in government.

The real point to be made though is that, given that anyone who is 16 years old has been forcibly educated by the State for 11 years, how come any of them are illiterate? And why would more years of the State\’s embrace change this?

It\’s not as if everyone is praising the literacy skills of the current crop of graduates, is it?

11 comments on “And so Polly\’s dream comes true

  1. Was it Yes Minister where someone said in re youngsters “we give them a comprehensive education, to make up for their comprehensive education.”

  2. To be consistant, maybe the state should demand that you need a degree in order to be a parent. Now that could be a good idea.

  3. Am I being too much of a tinfoil hat merchant to see a rather sinister circle of control here?

    Make all the jobs require a degree, even the ones wiping kids bums, thereby making everyone have to go to university to get a degree (even if it is a formality) to be able to get a job, thereby ensuring everyone has £x thousands of debt starting their life, and are chained to the treadmill from the word go?

    It seems to me the system is being designed with no way out, particularly for the masses. The bright and the motivated may escape via emigration and/or self employment, but the broad mass of young people will be indebted for life. And being indebted can be easily manipulated by the State.

  4. Since you commented about Finland, and both Polly and you seem to have some misunderstandings, I’ll have to comment. In Finland, not everyone has to have a university degree to change nappies in daycare. But to start with, when you use such idioms regarding childcare, I think you are belittling the work unnecessarily. It’s a lot more than just changing nappies and wiping bottoms, really. I mean, the children are the most valuable asset you have, and who takes care of them and how, and how they are brought up in the day while you toil at work (or wander around boozing, if that is your career) is actually quite important.

    There’s a lot more support for childcare in Finland than in the UK. Basically, parents use four systems for children who are under school age:

    1) kindergartens (called “päiväkoti”, or “daghem” – day home) organized by the municipality, parents pay up to 250 € per month or so, the cost to municipality is 800-1500 € or so depending on many things (mostly, the age of child – under 3 years you must have at most 4 children per adult, over 3 years you can have up to 7 children per one member of staff).

    2) individual childcarers who work in their homes, are employed and monitored by municipalities. Preferred option by municipalities because cheaper than kindergarten, but it’s hard work that does not pay well.

    3) private day care, for which municipalities give vouchers of 160-300 € per month (this could be for a private kindergarten, or someone who comes to your home to care for your children)

    4) self-care, for which there is a subsidy of some 300-500 € when the child is under 3 years.

    There’s no tax deduction for children. There’s a universal child benefit of around 100 € per child until the kid is 17.

    Now, about the university training: some of the staff in kindergartens should have a BA from a university (“kindergarten teacher”). But that’s only some of them. Others should be qualified by a vocational/polytechnic school, the training takes three years but it’s not university. And, in practice, particularly in the growth regions like Helsinki, kindergartens cannot always find formally qualified staff, so then they hire whoever they can think will be able to do the job. Mostly they do it quite well.

    Those who care children at their homes don’t necessarily have any formal training. Usually they have children of their own.

  5. And, I might add: the one big fault with the childcare system is that it is so totally dominated by women. Lots of people are speaking about gender quotas for boards of publicly traded companies. That is stupid. What they should have is gender quotas to make sure that small children also see some blokes and get to do things with them, that they are not totally brought up by females.

  6. “The real point to be made though is that, given that anyone who is 16 years old has been forcibly educated by the State for 11 years, how come any of them are illiterate?”

    Are they correcting for the number of immigrants without English as a first language?

  7. Jim, as a current mature student I am leaving university with a £500 overdraft. I will be paying a graduate tax for student loans at some point in the future, a percentage figure of income over £15,000 graduate tax free allowance. Like most, I will not in any way pay off the student loan before the graduate tax no longer applies. I won’t be starting with massive debt, student loan isn’t like a bank loan with fixed payments. No guarantee I’ll ever even reach the graduate tax level….

  8. “Nursery workers so illiterate they stuggle to read stories aloud”

    Surely the place to address this is in the job interview?

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