Leader: Childcare move is long overdue

Mum Zoe Grayson with Cara-Mae 2 supports the childminder move.
Mum Zoe Grayson with Cara-Mae 2 supports the childminder move.
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It’s the news parents with children under five have been longing to hear.

Accessing the full entitlement to free childcare has been impossible for many working parents whose jobs simply do not fit with traditional nursery hours.

It means parents have been left with the choice of paying a premium for extra care or simply giving up work altogether until their child is of school age.

That’s not much of a choice.

Calls have been steadily growing to instead include registered childminders in the scheme to allow the 600 free hours to be used at flexible - or useful - times.

And today, it seems, for parents in the Capital that is exactly what is about to happen.

The city council is set to take part in a trial which if successful will be rolled out ahead of 2020 when the number of free hours available to parents doubles to 1140.

It’s a fantastic move which we fully support.

There are hundreds of registered childminders in Edinburgh providing high-quality and often one-to-one care and learning which can even be superior to a packed nursery.

The image which may exist among some of childminders being ‘glorified babysitters’ is woefully outdated. They are instead qualified professionals who are regulated and inspected in the same way as nurseries.

The great thing is parents will now have a choice and no longer be forced to choose between family and career.

Education leader Cammy Day tells us today the council is committed to offering affordable childcare for all parents.

“We are absolutely committed looking at more flexible opportunities for parents and the use of childminders who offer high-quality childcare is one way forward.”

That’s good for them, good for the childminders, and ultimately good for the city as a whole.