Allow Careclubs to continue to operate from Caldecote Chidren's Centre building
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Cambridgeshire County Council's proposed redesignation of Caldecote Children's Centre could mean that Careclubs wraparound and holiday childcare would no longer be able to use the Children's Centre. We call on Cambridgeshire County Council to take account of the many working families in Caldecote and beyond who rely on this childcare and to ensure that Careclubs is still able to operate from the existing building. Without Careclubs many families would not be able to work.
The current arrangement means the childcare is co-located on the school site and therefore enables secure access to after school activities running in the school and access to the school grounds for safe outside play. Many of the staff also work in the school so there is a smooth transition and strong relationship between staff and children.
If Careclubs had to run from the school building instead this would reduce capacity by 60% (from a current capacity of 44 children per session to 20). It would also mean after school clubs would no longer be able to run as the school hall and kitchen would need to be used. This would impact on the whole school community as after school activity and sports clubs are well attended.
This proposal seems to run completely counter to government policy. In May 2016 the Government published guidance on Wraparound and holiday childcare - Parent and childcare provider 'rights to request'. This states that "The overall aim of this policy is to help parents to work, or work for longer, if they choose to do so, by making more quality childcare available during the week and school holidays. We will monitor the levels of wraparound and holiday childcare available through school to see if this guidance is sufficient, and if it is not we will consider further measures to improve take up."
This guidance also highlights the role of the local authority "The Childcare Act 2006 places a duty on local authorities to secure sufficient childcare, so far as is reasonably practicable, for working parents. Local authorities should also support schools in their area to offer out-of-hours childcare and encourage existing providers to expand their provision and new providers to enter the local childcare market". By precluding the ongoing operation of Care Clubs in Caldecote the County Council would surely be failing in this duty.
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