Work-life Balance Applies to Kids Too: ATL Addresses Issue
Longer working hours and early child education pose threat to family life in UK.
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Bousted’s remarks came in response to Education Minister Elizabeth Truss’ statement that several nurseries could only provide standard time slots for households, which makes it complicated for parents juggling between work and childcare. She added that action has been done to ensure educational institutions admit younger children and open for longer hours to provide more flexibility to families.
During the second day of ATL Conference held at Manchester on April 15, 2014, ATL raised the issue that schooling at an earlier age, for some, as well as longer school days and shorter holidays do not put children first. It was further discussed that the action could be seen to be another suspicious attempt to gain political support and therefore votes.
The following requests were raised to the Executive Committee:
1. Reinforcing strong and stable families which are considered to be the bedrock of a strong and stable society. A work-life balance is needed to help families have more time spent together, not more time apart.
2. Proposed policies such as early schooling for 2-year old children and extended primary school opening erodes childhood and family life.
Bousted noted before the conference, “obviously, children need a work life balance, just like their parents do. And for children, if you are in a childcare setting, or in a nursery, or in a school, in a sense, for them that’s work, because it is time away from home which is where they are most relaxed.” She further cited a Scandinavian countries culture not present in the UK, which recognizes that raising a family is hard work. Bousted also stressed out that having a healthy generation, making a family life do-able, addressing the breakdown in families and the incidence of divorce mean exerting more efforts to support family life.
On the other hand, Truss claimed that government reforms made it less complicated for schools to open new nurseries and run longer hours to give families more options. The Education Minister also added, “under this Government, every school in the country has been given the power to open a nursery. That means school nurseries and offer the free 15 hours of care flexibly for parents – for example, offering three 5 hour slots to suit a part time job.”
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