Practical Approach to Childcare Problems

The Birmingham Post (England), January 3, 1998 | Go to article overview

Practical Approach to Childcare Problems


For the majority of working mothers, the route to child care is through the children's nursery or childminders.

By the time children have finished their days at the Barn House Children's Nursery in the hamlet of Eastcote in the countryside not far from the Warwickshire village of Hampton-in-Arden, they should be able to the odd bit of cooking and speak a bit of French.

Mrs Ann Kettle, a former market researcher with British Gas, opened her countryside nursery in a converted barn by a garden centre April 1992 and the Shirley nursery in what used to be a doctor's surgery followed in September 1994.

She charges pounds 100 a week per child. Bearing in mind the child/nursery nurse ratios and the rabbit warren of different children's rooms at the Old Barn, this is not a fortune.

The economics of child care are hardly in the realms of higher finance. Nursery nurses often earn very small salaries.

"I know nursery nurses on pounds 3,500 and that's atrocious," said Mrs Kettle. "Your management have to be qualified nursery nurses.

"Local authorities differ but with Solihull, the staff ratio has to be one to three with children under two and one to four children if they are older.

"There are some cheaper nurseries but you'll find they'll be in church hall or it is one big room or the hours are less.

"We are on the heavier side in price terms but we like to think we are offering a great deal. …

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