In Sunday’s Guardian, Political Editor Patrick Wintour reported on social engineering an parent pressure at its worst: “No pre-school, no child benefit, Tory thinktank says in report on poverty”
With flagrant disregard for England’s CSAge and a parent’s legal right to wait until the term following their child’s 5th birthday before commencing education, the report says liberal Conservative pressure group Bright Blue suggests: “Parents should be denied child benefit if they do not send their children to pre-school education from the age of three…[and] should apply to a parent in the case of a child aged two if the toddler comes from a disadvantaged background…”
Bright Blue says, “it is essential to seek new ways to persuade parents” but importantly, the Pre-School Learning Alliance agrees with the Summer Born Campaign‘s view and has rejected the idea completely.In a statement on its website yesterday, the Alliance’s chief executive Neil Leitch said:
“We are firmly opposed to this proposal. While we would always promote the benefits of quality early years education and childcare, the suggestion that the government should rely on punitive measures to increase free entitlement take-up is not only ludicrous, but insulting to those families this report claims to be seeking to support, suggesting that they cannot be trusted to decide what is best for their own child.
“We believe that parents are their child’s first educator and should play an integral role in shaping their early learning experiences — including making a decision on whether or not to place their child into a childcare provision. The recommendation to make child benefit conditional on the take-up of a free entitlement place is beyond flawed, and one that government would be wise to disregard completely.”
Written by author and journalist Pauline Hull