Policy and Politics
Childminders claim childcare minister has barred them from her Twitter
Several childminders have claimed they have been blocked from following the childcare and education minister Elizabeth Truss on Twitter.
The childminders, including Penny Webb, who has started a petition calling for the Department for Education not to make changes to ratios, Southampton childminder Lisa Fricker and Beth Thomas- owner of Happy Days Childcare in Worthing, West Sussex, have all spoken out against the proposed reforms to childcare.
Ms Fricker, an Ofsted registered childminder from Southampton, told Nursery World that the weekend before the Government released its response to the Nutbrown Review she found she could no longer read Ms Truss’ tweets.
Penny Webb has expressed her disappointment at not being able to follow @trussliz on Twitter.
She said, ‘I am very annoyed that Elizabeth Truss thinks it is appropriate to prevent myself and other members of the public from accessing a Twitter account that tweets Government-related information.
‘As someone who is going to be directly affected by the changes that Ms Truss is implementing in the early years sector, I feel as a British Citizen that I should be able to read and send comments.’
Twickenham based childminder Simona McKenzie is another childminder that has been prevented from communicating with Ms Truss on Twitter, however she said that she continues to have dialogue with the Department for Education.
She explains, 'Despite being blocked I was still able to put a question to the childcare and education minister about reducing red tape and I feel she is doing something towards that.
'I have made no fuss about being blocked because I believe that being positive will lead to Ms Truss re-engaging with childminders.'
Denise Burke, director of United for All Ages and the Good Care Guide, told Nursery World that she too has been blocked from communicating with @trussliz on Twitter.
Ms Burke said she is puzzled why the childcare and education minister decided to block her on Twitter as she has not tweeted anything that she considers to be offensive.
‘I find it very odd that as someone who regularly tweets about her vision for good quality childcare, Ms Truss isn't willing to engage with professionals in the sector who have based their views on good practice and evidence.
‘Twitter is a key part of our democracy which MPs have to engage with. They can't control what is said on Twitter. Being blocked by Ms Truss won't stop me campaigning for the proposals to be reversed and supporting parents who don't want to see quality compromised by ratio changes.’
When asked why Ms Truss has blocked selected early years professionals from following her on Twitter, a Department for Education source said that individual MPs are responsible for personal social networking accounts.