The early years sector is delighted to finally be recognised for all its hard work and dedication today. Providers everywhere are slowly but surely learning of their funding rates for 3 and 4 year olds taking up their 30 hours “free” term time childcare. One provider was elated to share her email with us today, gushing that as an outstanding provider who is open for business from 6am to 9pm Mondays to Sundays she is eligible for not just the outstanding ‘quality’ supplement of 0.019p per hour per child but for the ‘flexibility’ supplement of 0.093p per hour per child too. She admits though that she can’t steam ahead and order herself the mud kitchen, engineers board and workbench from Evergreen Outdoor Education just yet as she’s awaiting confirmation from her LA as to whether she will also be getting the 0.010 or the 0.012p per hour per child deprivation supplement. This decision is eagerly anticipated since 30p or 36p per week per child means the difference between whether children can have an extra handful of grapes a week or a whole clementine.

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Imamug childcare providers are said to be weeping with joy since the monthly supplements alone equate to 456 times more than they earned for the whole of January and February put together. One provider commented: “It’s like winning the lottery, getting into your skinny jeans right after Christmas and finding a parking space close to the pick-up bay at IKEA all at once.” Another said: “I’m not rushing into anything. I’m taking myself off on a nice long cruise away from it all so that I can have a really good think about how best to use this jackpot. It’s for the children, not for me, and I don’t want to waste a single tenth of a penny on fripperies like ongoing personal and professional development, new car seats, PAT testing and whatnot”.

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Imamug providers are using their imamug facebook group to share ideas with fellow imamug providers on how best to utilise the unexpected and most welcome windfall. One ambitious suggestion so far has been to divide into groups of 3 and each week give up their 57p to buy a bottle of ready mixed paint, starting with the primary colours. Once they have all 3 they will then save up to buy a bottle of white and a bottle of black so that they can create different hues and shades. They propose to take turns using the paints and to swap them daily at Babbling Babies on Mondays, Yoga for Young ‘uns on Tuesdays, Transient Art for Tiddlers on Wednesdays, Trim Tots on Thursdays and Mandarin for Mindees on Fridays where they take their little charges come rain come shine out of the kindness of their hearts. Eventually, they hope to save enough money to buy paintbrushes and perhaps even some paper (although they don’t want to get ahead of themselves).

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Outstanding childcare providers were also very close to tears. One provider who has achieved 3 outstanding grades in a row is feeling particularly delighted with her 0.019p per hour per child ‘quality’ supplement since she has worked out that there is now a very real possibility that she will be able to settle her £22,000 student loan within 20-25 years of paying off her mortgage and, quite feasibly, before she dies. “I’m so thrilled that all those years spent telling my son ‘not-now-sweetheart-I’ve-just-got-to-write-another-9,347-words-then-I’m-all-yours’ have finally paid off”. In stark contrast, another somewhat disillusioned outstanding provider was so surprised by the figures that she quickly shot off this email to her FNE Officer:

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She has yet to receive written confirmation that the decimal points are, in fact, in the correct place and so in the interim is optimistically taking this to be a simple and honest typo. Similarly, given her capacity to see the funny side of almost everything and considering the date that the new rates will come into effect, she is interpreting the email as nothing more than Westminster tomfoolery at its very best.

In the meantime, an Ofsted spokesperson has said that the funding rates are welcome news indeed and that satisfactory and good providers now have every reason to feel the utmost envy for outstanding providers and will no doubt continue to strive relentlessly for that awe-inspiring and prestigious outstanding grade. He went on to say that “every outstanding provider in the country will justifiably feel really rather smug with themselves from hereon in”. He suggested that now is the time for all outstanding providers to join forces with all imamug providers and collaborate on a plan to disseminate to the whole early years sector their strategies for remaining sustainable without compromising on the quality of their care and education. Within just 4 hours of its creation, the subsequent newly-founded childcare network Solidarity for Outstanding Daycare In Turmoil (SODIT) has attracted no fewer than 3 members. Early discussions reveal that the most popular tip by far is better time management. It is recommended that aspiring outstanding imamug childcare providers implement the following entirely reasonable timetable with immediate effect:

Hours of business Monday to Sunday Update non-compulsory learning journals Draft pointless forward planning sheets College or university assignments Sleep restlessly
6am – 9pm 9pm -11pm 11pm – 1am 1am – 5am 5am – 6am

Now read the big fat lie about childminding paperwork

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