A 41 year old Apprentice Resource Enhancement Officer in Westminster who predominantly spends his day bending paper clips and staples back into shape and flattening and drying out used paper towels to prevent unnecessary wastage to facilitate the continuance of 5 star 3 course champagne lunches in the House of Lords, has revealed that whilst covering for the oft-absent Junior Hygiene, Sanitation and Bodily Fluids Disposal Deputy Assistant he happened across 2 unpublished pages from the updated July 2017 “30 hours ‘free’ childcare and early years provider guide” as he accidentally moved the fully-functional-but-obsolete-Xerox-photocopier-that-you-just-can’t-get-the-ink-for-nowadays away from the fully-functioning-legacy-technology-that-is-the-overhead-projector-that-you-just-wouldn’t-dare-rock-up-at-a-seminar-with-today-but-will-make-you-look-uber-cool-doing-just-that-ten-years-from-now (just wait and see) in the old stationery cupboard – which has served a quite different purpose since emails replaced actual real life memos and letters and minutes and agendas and paper files and stuff.

One of the 16.1% of the UK population over-educated for his job, in an ever increasingly competitive job market, our whistleblower remarked that: “The pages were not even the slightest bit dusty, were completely devoid of sole imprints and indeed had no business whatsoever being in the cupboard at all which suggests they were very, very recently and maliciously and intentionally secreted away until such time they find themselves the stuff of nesting material for mice”. And after carefully examining the content, the subterfuge is entirely comprehensible given the fact they reveal the true government-approved strategies for overcoming the 30 hours early years education funding shortfall.

Strategies are divided into 3 categories:

1. addressing the procurement of resources;

2. outlining entirely practicable methods for avoiding the need for parental voluntary contributions; and

3. highlighting entirely honourable and respectable methods for supplementing poor staff salaries, especially for those level 6 or 7 practitioners earning the same as level 3 practitioners.

1. Procurement of resources

Free resources are in abundance within our communities and we should not overlook their enormous potential. The early years workforce is highly and justifiably regarded as the most creative and imaginative professionals on the planet but they’d be wise to address their business skills and self-assertiveness somewhat, for the Childminder or Manager who struggles to ask kind but forgetful parents to settle their arrears will find it extremely difficult to mutually and beneficially settle kerbside or back-door ownership disputes with the likes of skip rats, up-cyclers and scrap metal merchants.

Aye, a Laura Ashley wrought iron head-board may well make for a very desirable trellis for the climbers in your sensory garden but to Sid from HunkaJunk it’s forty quid’s worth. Nor are pallets, cable drums and milk & bread crates the worthless commodities they once were. Sand them, wax them, staple fake grass to them, wrap rope around them, stick a broom handle in them, chuck in a pack of poundland bungees and velcro cable tidies. Now they’re worth £164.99 plus VAT plus delivery from anyone’s pay packet.

For loose parts and provocations there’s no better source than benefaction and philanthropic establishments (charity shops to me and thee). Any box, basket or bowl, shiny trinket, wooden objet d’art or storage unit will be on any savvy practitioner’s wishlist. Hone your negotiating skills: it’s quite acceptable to use bribery if necessary. 5p shopping bags work a treat – charity shops never have any. Offering a carrier bag full of carrier bags with a “if you get any wooden bowls or plates in over the next couple of weeks would you keep them aside for me please?” nudge nudge wink wink and you’ve well and truly got one over on that professional shabby chic-er who’s been following you around the shop. However, avoid the more pretentious second-hand shops calling themselves “pre-loved blah blah”. They’re just sneaky gits who’ve bought stuff from the charity shop up the high street and washed them in Daz instead of eau de granny’s mothballs and tied on vintage tags on string with a 1000% mark-up. You’re most likely to find these in historic market and spa towns. Enter at your peril else you’ll come out like I did with 3 vintage flat irons, a chipped and cracked bone china tea cup and saucer glued onto a wrought iron candle stick, a wooden plate so brittle that it falls completely apart when you get it home and wash it and a plastic coated wire rack you thought you’d have a million uses for but still haven’t found a single one some 8 months later.

2. Avoiding parental voluntary contributions

i. ask parents to provide daily breakfasts, mid morning snacks, lunches and mid afternoon snacks for their child and for you. If you’ve no sustenance then you’re hardly fit to deliver care and education to their child. They’ll completely appreciate this and have no issue with it whatsoever.

ii. ask parents to type out their own schedule of childcare payments made over the last 18 months when they’ve lost all of their receipts but need to provide evidence to HMRC and you’ll simply sign it when it’s all done. If they really value you then it’ll be their absolute pleasure.

iii. ask parents to go and reccy potential play areas, parks, woods, farms and beaches and do their own risk benefit assessments. They’ll be only too happy to help.

iv. ask parents to take their own children along to your planned outings, wearing their own sun cream, sun hats, puddle suits, wellies, hi-viz vests; fill back-packs with food, drinks, nappies, wipes and spare clothes; pay the entrance fee and leave money to buy ice creams and any momentos their kids scream for. Oh, and they’ll have to take and pay for you too. And come and pick you all back up later. They won’t mind a bit.

v. ask parents to leave work at 11 to pick their own children up from morning nursery at 11.30 and bring them to you. It’s also not unreasonable to ask them to leave work at 2.30 to collect their older children from school at 3 and bring to you. They should also bring any snacks their children might need and any magazines, books or arts and crafts activities they might want to occupy themselves with until they come and collect them at 5.30. It will be no inconvenience at all.

vi. ask parents to compile their own children’s learning journals. Afterall, they take almost no time or effort or expense at all. Honestly, it’ll be a labour of love.

3. Supplementing staff salaries

We’ve a legacy of lost trades and occupations such as turners, masons & millers but are seeing a resurgence of the restoration of old crafts, arts and skills. Is it not appropriate then that the world’s oldest profession is not given the honour and respectability it deserves? With less time spent on paperwork and planning you’ll have more time for fun and frolics and…

Regrettably, the succeeding page is absent so one can only dare imagine what ministers had in mind.