Following recent studies revealing that we ought not to regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week, guidelines have today been published that make it much easier to keep track of the overwhelming alcohol consumption within the early years sector, particularly since the implementation of the grossly underfunded extended early years offer that the government have heard not one single peep of concern about. “Regularly” is the lynchpin here and for the purpose of this article has been construed to mean regularly as in how often local authorities continue to use the word free instead of funded; how habitually payments are late to providers; how frequently parents’ eligibility codes are screwed up; and how recurrently we’re hearing about yet another setting closing. That kind of regularly.


So let’s do some figures.

14 units of alcohol per week x 52 weeks = 728 units per annum. This is our annual ration.

Now, alcohol consumption is to be restricted to term time only, just like the misrepresented 30 hour offer, because it is scientifically proven that educators require more alcohol during term time than at any other time of the year: that is 728 units/38 weeks = 19.1578947368 units per week. However, the early years practitioner in particular is generously permitted to round up that figure to 20 on account of the fact that it’s awfully difficult to tell the gin from the tonic once it’s in the glass and it’s generally much nicer working with either even numbers or sets of 5.

Next, take weekdays to be Monday to Thursday only, since Friday really is the weekend. 20 units spread over 4 days is 5 whiskey and cream sodas per school night. (A word of caution though: It is highly recommended not to attempt to update policies & procedures or to draft 2 year old progress checks or any other kind of summative assessments whilst under the influence of alcohol just in case some of your parents are grammar Nazis).

Furthermore, to promote sustainability be sure to switch well-known brands for budget brands. Regrettably, quality must be compromised due to government under-funding – it cannot be avoided unless a questionable top-up fee is imposed. Therefore, it is recommended that educators commence a programme of de-sensitisation by mixing value range vodka with Smirnoff and gradually increase the former whilst simultaneously decreasing the latter. Ultimately, inebriation will eventually be achieved although scientific trials conclude that there will ensue a significantly worse hangover than one might otherwise be accustomed to. Take comfort in the fact that as the weeks pass, not only will the liver become more and more accustomed to tolerating inferior liquor but the practitioner will also become less and less embarrassed at the checkout too.


Now, it remains to be seen whether further recommendations will make it into a forthcoming planned revision to the guidelines: that is, to align alcohol units with adult to child ratios to make it easier for practitioners to calculate how many units of alcohol will be permitted to be consumed on a day by day basis. For example: as illustrated below, for each baby, it is proposed that 1 unit will generally be permitted (exceptions apply). For toddlers, it is suggested that 5 units per child will be permitted (again, exceptions apply). For primary school pupils, 1 unit is likely to be permitted. This allows practitioners to increase and decrease levels of strictly term-time only nightly consumption based upon how busy their working day has been. Flexibility, afterall, is one of the greatest attributes of the early years workforce.


It is also worth noting that those working in primary and secondary schools have not been overlooked in their need to drown their sorrows during this period of great and brutal and entirely unnecessary austerity. For instance, for those barely tolerating the job they’d always dreamed of in key stages 1 & 2, one unit of alcohol per child is likely to be permitted, rising to 5 units per child during SATs. Meanwhile, for those just about enduring their lifelong fantasy of making a real difference to children’s lives in key stages 3 & 4, ten units per child is considered a much fairer representation of the tolerance required. This can rise to as much as whatever each individual Teacher reasonably considers s/he can handle whilst still functioning as a pretty decent human being during particularly challenging periods such as parent evenings, choosing GCSE options and all exam periods (including mocks and occasional daft little history tests).