PRIME-TIME ITV SHOW TO FEATURE THE OLD STATION NURSERY
21st May 2012
A Gloucestershire nursery will feature on a prime-time television show after being selected to help highlight issues surrounding the rising cost of childcare.
Crews from ITV Tonight – formerly Tonight with Trevor McDonald – spent a day filming at The Old Station Nursery’s Innsworth setting for their documentary The True Cost of Childcare.
The show will look at the struggles parents face when sending their youngsters to nursery, such as managing childcare fees, how parents cope with separation and concerns about how their child will be affected in a nursery environment.
The documentary for the weekly current affairs series, which attracts a viewing audience of between three to four million each episode, is due to be aired on 31st May.
Sarah Steel, Managing Director of The Old Station Nursery, was interviewed for the show. She said: “Sending your child to nursery has many benefits: it can help build confidence, teach important life skills and allow children to learn how to interact with other children. But there are inevitably different issues parents face.
“We agreed to help the television crew present some of the issues around the rising costs of childcare, which seem to be a political hot potato at the moment, even if this is something that those of who are involved in the sector – either delivering care, or using the service – have known for a long time.”
All three and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free nursery education for 38 weeks of the year. Nurseries are reimbursed by the Government for the sessions they have to provide, but the cash they receive in return often does not cover the cost of delivery. This effectively means that parents using the fully paid-for services, such as childcare for under-threes and hours outside the free sessions, are subsidising the ‘free’ places.
“Up to 70 per cent of revenue could go directly on staff costs,” Sarah said. “And the cost of business rates, rent, utilities and resources are rising all the time, as they are for everyone in this economic climate.
“The team which came seemed genuinely interested as they interviewed parents. I hope the programme goes some way to making people realise how complex the issues in the sector are, and how a few headline-grabbing initiatives from the Government will not solve the deeply rooted problems of how families are supposed to balance the cost of childcare with their own budgets.”
The television crews talked to a range of parents with different working hours and childcare arrangements, including those who only access the free hours for pre-schoolers, parents using a mixture of nursery and family help and those with children at the nursery full time.
Harriet Gill, assistant producer for ITV Studios said: “Meeting a range of different parents ITV’s Tonight programme is investigating the various ways modern families have adapted their lives in order to juggle the costs, changing their working patterns, relying on grandparents, using nurseries or childminders or in some cases becoming stay at home parents because they simply cannot afford otherwise.
“The media often points the finger at private nurseries for charging inflated fees so we wanted to visit a nursery where the owner could break down the costs for us and explain why the fees are what they are – we were really grateful to Sarah Steel for allowing us into her nursery and for being so open and honest about how the business runs. We also spoke with many of the parents with children at the nursery who gave us their thoughts on childcare costs and why they felt the old station offered good value.”
Notes to editors
- The Old Station Nursery Ltd was founded by Sarah Steel in 2002 and now runs 13 settings across England.
- To find out more visit www.theoldstationnursery.co.uk
- Find out more about free nursery places at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/parents/preschooldevelopmentandlearning/nurseriesplaygroupsreceptionclasses/dg_10016103
- For more on ITV’s Tonight programme visit http://www.itv.com/news/topic/tonight/