Last week, I posted the question on Twitter asking the #EarlyYears if they were prepared to join the teachers and strike?
6,073 people responded and 287 voted. The result was a staggering 80% of respondents said ‘Yes’ and the remaining 20% said ‘No’.
So, what does this mean? Will you be out on the picket line with the thousands of teachers on Wednesday 1st February or will it be a very busy day where parents ask us to do more to help them work – given that as many as 23,000 schools may be closed that day?
Why would we strike?
Based on numerous conversations I’ve had with those working in the sector, some of the top reasons cited include:
- Funding is the lowest it has ever been and is damaging the ability to provide quality provision consistently for children
- Funding is so low that many operators cannot pay their staff a salary in line with inflation
- Funding is so low that parent fees remain too high to offset this issue and excludes too many from the workplace
- No one can currently afford to open nurseries in areas of disadvantage so those children and families have less provision
- Our status as the ‘educators of the youngest children’ is too low, we need to raise the profile and tackle this feeling of demoralisation amongst our workforce
In comparison, why did people say they would not strike?
- They are owners, managers, or employees of private companies and could not strike
- They worry about the impact on parents and the stress that would also affect the children
- They would lose a day’s pay
- They are not unionised
- Their voice would be lost as not enough people know who they are or what they do.
So, what are the options?
- Support the picket line?
- Put a banner up on the 1st February supporting the strikes
- Write an open letter to Claire Coutinho MP calling for urgent action
- Write a letter to parents explaining why we should strike and ask them to write to their MPs to get a debate in parliament
- Join the Saturday 18th March in Parliament Square “March in March” with #EarlyYearsEquality to shout out for the Voice of the Child in the “childcare” debate.