09 Dec 2016, Catherine Gaunt
Liz Bayram, chief executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), said that tens of thousands of nannies and childminders, as well as PACEY, were ‘appalled that such sensationalist case studies have been used to claim the whole profession is disregarding regulation and common sense.’
The story suggested that carers ‘may not have the same concerns about the child’s future health and wellbeing as a parent’ and could be ‘leaving a legacy’ with ‘lasting consequences’ for the health and psychological well-being of children in their care.
‘It’s a sad day when national media like the Daily Mail resort to insinuating that all childminders and nannies continually feed children junk food. This story in no way represents the childcare professionals that PACEY support, who meticulously plan their menus each day to ensure children’s nutritional needs are met,’ Ms Bayram said.
There is no research evidence suggesting that large numbers of childminders and nannies feed the children in their care junk food.
Theresa May published the Childhood Obesity Plan in the summer with the aim of cutting the rising numbers of children overweight and obese, although this has been criticised for being a watered down version of the original strategy, drafted when David Cameron was Prime Minister.
Ms Bayram added that parents should be reminded that childminders, like nurseries and pre-schools, are inspected by Ofsted and have to meet a wide range of safeguarding and welfare requirements including the provision of healthy food and drinks.
‘Ofsted reports that 89 per cent of the childminders in England are now graded good or outstanding. They are not serving junk food. Indeed 51 per cent of the childminders PACEY recently surveyed even had specialist nutrition training,’ Ms Bayram stated.
Claire Rick from the Children’s Food Trust defended childminders as well, saying the organisation had worked with ‘many incredible practitioners who see healthy food and cooking with children as a core part of their role.’
Ms Rick also responded to the Daily Mail’s claim that there was no detailed official guidance or nutritional training in place for nannies and childminders.
‘There was huge demand from childminders, nurseries and children’s centres for a single, recommended source of information on providing healthy food for children in childcare, which is why we were asked to develop the national nutritional guidelines for early years settings launched in 2012,’ Ms Rick said.
‘They’ve been so well-received, and that’s testament to the commitment of childminders and the wider sector to using their unique relationships with children and families to help children eat well from their earliest years.’