You may remember me pestering everyone to help save Care to Learn (C2L) a few months back. Care to Learn pays childcare for parents up to age 20 in education. It is a VITAL fund for young parents and the DfE launched a consultation about their proposed changes in September 2011. The consultation they launched however was not asking whether to cut it or not, it was simply asking HOW to cut it.  With the DfE stating their preferred option (to cut the age eligibility), and this new option already seeming to have been decided as discovered by a FOI request to BIS, it looked like a bit of a losing battle to try to keep Care to Learn just the way it was. Nevertheless, it was important that DfE knew how silly they were being, so in October, thanks to all 75+ of you (young parents and former young parents) who filled in a survey, Prymface submitted a response highlighting the issues with lack of flexibility and understanding of young parents returning to education. Your survey responses provided evidence that young parents want to return to education, BUT they didn't want to be forced back before they felt ready.  Retaining the age eligibility up to 20, rather than 19, does not necessarily cost more, it just allows young families to have more choice to do whats right for them. Young parent should be trusted to make this decisions, just as older parents are.

Anyway, yesterday it was 'announced' (of sorts) that Care to Learn would remain unchanged!! Quite a turn around and I'd like to think that we all contributed to this some how (along with Platform 51, NUS, Daycare Trust, TUC, NCAS and everyone else who responded to the consultation). This is obviously great for young parents and provides a little bit of hope that the government aren't totally blind to their needs, or maybe at least accepting that they don't quite understand their needs.

The next challenge, however, is to address the raising of the participation age to 17 in 2013 and then 18 in 2015 which requires young people (including those who are parents) to be in FULL TIME education. In our response on C2L Prymface highlighted the need for this issue to also be looked at......so I guess here we go again. Saving Care to Learn up to age 20 was just the start of it - THIS battle is the deal breaker: OPERATION DONT FORCE YOUNG PARENTS TO LEAVE THEIR CHILDREN FULL TIME!

Ok, maybe I'll have to think of a catchier title than this!