It’s something that has absolutely baffled me for a while.
And it transpires I’m not the only one.
More than 140,000 people – me included – have signed a petition demanding that the Government’s 15 hours of free childcare starts when a child is nine months – rather than when they are three years old.
Click here to sign the petition
I have tried and tried to understand why this isn’t already the case – but it defies logic.
Think about it.
Statutory maternity pay ends typically when your child is nine months.
Then, if you return to work, obviously SOMEONE is going to have to look after your baby.
And yet there is no financial help with this – until your child is three.
That’s more than two years, where you’re looking at paying hundreds of pounds in childcare (FYI typical childcare costs are about £1,000 a month) so you can leave your child with someone else while you work.
Is it any wonder that many parents are actually forced into giving up work – simply because the cost of childcare outstrips their salary?
Flourishing: Sonny Jim has come on leaps and bounds since starting preschool
I need to have a little rant.
As you may have gathered (I am aware I have chatted a fair bit about it…) Sonny Jim has started pre-school.
It’s only a couple of mornings a week. Just to get my shy two-and-a-half year old making buddies and being brave without mummy always there holding his hand.
After a few tearful drop offs, and a now much-repeated refrain of “no school day, mama, no school” he’s settling in really well and is having so much fun.
So much so, that I already know that as soon as he turns three, I’m going to add another morning, or even another two.
Why am I going to wait until he’s three? Because that’s when his free funding will kick in.
And it’s this funding situation that has really got me in state of irritation.
Pre-school is expensive. To send Sonny Jim to his lovely nursery Monday-Friday from 9am-3pm would actually cost more than I earn. When he turns three, the Government covers 30 hours a week childcare. Continue reading