University to offer emergency childcare

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Imperial College London is one of the first universities in the UK to offer its staff access to emergency child and adult care.

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The new provision has been introduced in partnership with My Family Care, a work and family service provider. It will offer all members of staff access to three services: emergency childcare, school holiday cover and back up adult and elder care.

The college will cover the registration costs to My Family Care, with individual members of staff then paying for any services used.

Staff will also receive access to the Imperial Work + Family Space, an online resource providing advice and support to parents working at the college. The information available includes suggestions for clubs and activities to fill childcare gaps in the school holidays.

Professor James Stirling, provost of Imperial College, said, ‘Imperial recognises that parents and carers, who make up a significant proportion of our staff, can find it challenging to juggle the demands of work and family. This initiative is part of our continuing commitment to ensuring that Imperial staff receive the support and help that they need to balance these responsibilities.’

The introduction of the service comes in response to the internal 2012 maternity and 2013 paternity surveys carried out among members of staff at the college, in which more than half of respondents expressed a wish for back up childcare provision at work.

Dr Victoria Salem, clinical lecturer in the department of medicine and mother of three children under five, said, ‘My Family Care will be a valuable source of support for working parents. I’m looking forward to having peace of mind that I’ll be able to proceed with an important meeting or experiment even if my usual childcare arrangements fall through.’

Imperial College also provides a 140-place Early Years Education Centre for children of staff and students. The setting caters for children aged between six months and five years and was rated outstanding at its most recent Ofsted inspection.  It also provides a play scheme for older children during school holidays.