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International Women's Day 2024

international womens day 2024 - infographicIn all the hubbub, it's important to remember that (some) progress has been made in making Parenting equal, but that there is a very, very long way to go on gender equality. Vicky Pryce posited in 2019, I think from the World Economic Forum index, that it would take another 100 years on current trajectories before gender equality is achieved. Many areas will take both policy levers and an adjustment in working practice, hiring practices and expectations that can / should happen, but will take time. We all of us need to do much, much more to hold our employers to account, emphasise the value of women in the work place and to adopt stronger positions in facilitating their economic participation and progression

One of the areas that we can do something about, quite quickly (in my view) is childcare and early years education. A fascinating debate last night with Neil Leitch and colleagues from the sector - many (rightly) arguing that government funding is and has always been insufficient to fund the sector properly and deliver the resilience and quality that parents and children deserve and require. I agreed with every word said.

I also think that the private sector has to play a part, and probably can do so quicker than either government at either the central or local levels can deliver in the current climate. The workplace nursery scheme allows:

💰 corporates to contribute tax-deductible funds to the running of a workplace nursery that benefits their staff, offering both capex and opex funds to pay nursery teachers the wages they need, the facilities the children deserve and a reduction in fees that working parents demand

😀 Residual fees payable from working families can be paid directly by the employer from their pre-tax earnings, reducing their taxable income and increasing their take home pay

🏢 Can be delivered onsite in surplus space or offsite in empty buildings that can be repurposed for free childcare, sponsored and subsidised by the employer

Like many of my colleagues, I'd like to see funding for our sector increase and for wider society to stop viewing what we do as "childcare" but as a crucial stage in a child's educational journey (stop calling us practitioners - we're not Reiki masseuses or homeopaths, we're teachers). But I'm not particularly hopeful that we can or will succeed in getting the government to view us or fund us in the way we need in the timeframes we and parents need. There is a real alternative out there with business partners - let's get them talking

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Workplace Nursery Enquiry form