Almost two years since we launched the Grazia x Pregnant Then Screwed campaign for childcare reform, the Education Select Committee has finally committed to a review of our childcare and early years sector in England. The news follows our petition with Pregnant Then Screwed, which was signed by over 100,000 of you in less than 72 hours, and the huge March of the Mummies protest back in October, attended by 15,000 parents.
‘Campaigning can often feel like you’re bashing your head against a brick wall,’ says Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, ‘but we finally have proof that our collective voices are being heard in Westminster. It’s the boost that we have all been waiting for after so many years of screaming into the ether that our early years sector is collapsing, and taking parents, children, and our economy down with it.’
'When we started a petition with Pregnant Then Screwed back in 2021, we knew the lack of affordable childcare was something many of our audience were struggling with, but even we underestimated the response,’ says Grazia editor Hattie Brett. ‘We've been inundated with stories from women who've had to give up or scale back working because they can't afford childcare via our parenting platform The Juggle. Not only has the cost of childcare had a devastating impact on the mental health of parents, it has far-reaching economic consequences. We hope this is the first step in the Government tackling a subject that's crying out for change.'
This particular battle may be won, but we're still far from winning the war. We need your input now more than ever. The consultation is now live, so click on this link and tell the Education Select Committee what is wrong with the current childcare infrastructure.
‘The consultation can be responded to by anyone who uses formal childcare, or is unable to use formal childcare due to cost and availability,’ explains Joeli, adding that formal childcare includes breakfast and after-school clubs.
It can feel overwhelming to collect your thoughts on such a huge issue, so visit Pregnant Then Screwed for a step-by-step guide on each part of the consultation.
Your responses will not only be analysed by a team at Westminster, to be published in a report later this year, but also this information will inform policy decisions and manifesto pledges in the future. You have until 19 January to submit your responses.
‘Thank you to everyone who has signed a petition, emailed their MP, attended a protest, donated or just been there to give us strength when it has felt utterly impossible,’ says Joeli. ‘Together we are a force to be reckoned with.’
To have your say, fill out the online consultation now. You have until Thursday 19 January