Annwyl Brif Weinidog, y Gweinidog Addysg, y Gweinidog Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol a’r Dirprwy Weinidog Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol

Ar ran y sector gofal plant a gwaith chwarae, fe hoffem ni dynnu eich sylw at ein pryderon ynghylch sut y mae cyhoeddiadau sy’n cynnwys addysg, gofal plant a gwaith chwarae’n cael eu cyflwyno a’r effaith y mae hynny’n ei gael.

Drwy’r pandemig, rydym wedi wynebu her gan ein haelodau a’r sector ehangach fod y sector addysg yn cael blaenoriaeth dros y sector gofal plant, blynyddoedd cynnar a gwaith chwarae.  Fel sefydliadau sy’n gweithio’n agos â Llywodraeth Cymru, rydyn ni wedi talu sylw cymesur i’r pryderon hyn.  Rydyn ni wedi cynghori haelodau a’n rhanddeiliaid bod Llywodraeth Cymru’n cydnabod eu cyfraniad yn cefnogi plant a’u teuluoedd, a’r cyfraniad pwysig y mae gofal plant a gwaith chwarae wedi’i wneud wrth ymateb i’r pandemig yng Nghymru.  Rydyn ni hefyd yn cydnabod bod Gweinidogion wedi talu teyrnged i staff yn y sector gofal plant a gwaith chwarae.  Yn benodol, cafodd y llythyr oddi wrth y Dirprwy Weinidog Iechyd a Gofal Cymdeithasol cyn y Nadolig groeso mawr.

Ers mis Ionawr, fel sefydliadau ymbarél ar gyfer y sector, mae Cwlwm wedi wynebu pryder cynyddol bod ein haelodau’n cael eu trin yn wahanol i ysgolion a’u bod yn gorfod cymryd risgiau, drwy aros ar agor i bob plentyn, nad yw athrawon yn eu hwynebu.  Eto, rydym ni wedi ymateb yn gymesur ac yn sensitif mewn ymdrech ar y cyd i gefnogi Llywodraeth Cymru ac i dawelu pryderon ynghylch risgiau i iechyd staff. Rydyn ni wedi seilio ein hymatebion ar y dystiolaeth wyddonol sy’n cael ei rhannu gan Lywodraeth Cymru.

Mae’n siomedig, felly, pan fydd datganiad gan y cabinet, wedi’i ysgrifennu ar y cyd gan y Gweinidogion Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol a’r Gweinidog Addysg yn cael ei gyhoeddi, nad yw gofal plant a gwaith chwarae’n cael ei gynnwys yn benodol yn y datganiad llafar.  Dim ond tua hanner dwsin yn rhagor o eiriau fyddai ei angen i gynnwys gofal plant a gwaith chwarae yn yr araith.  O’u gadael allan, mae pob partner Cwlwm yn wynebu ymateb emosiynol gan ddarparwyr gofal plant a gwaith chwarae, yn dweud unwaith eto eu bod yn teimlo mai addysg sy’n dylanwadu ar benderfyniadau Llywodraeth Cymru a bod hynny’n cael blaenoriaeth dros weithwyr gofal plant a gwaith chwarae.

Mae Cwlwm yn gwerthfawrogi bod y cynllun profi, a gafodd ei gyhoeddi ar 5 Chwefror, wedi’i baratoi ar y cyd, ac yr un pryd, ar draws adrannau addysg ac iechyd a gofal cymdeithasol, ond mae ail adrodd ‘ysgolion’ yn y datganiadau hyn yn creu momentwm sy’n anodd ei atal, hyd yn oed ar ôl derbyn datganiadau wedi’u hysgrifennu ar y cyd.  Gyda pharch, rydym yn gofyn i Weinidogion ystyried cynnwys gofal plant a gwaith chwarae yn eu datganiadau llafar, ar y cyd ag ysgolion, pan fydd y polisi’n berthnasol i’r ddau sector.  Byddai hyn yn cael cryn effaith ar y sector gofal plant a gwaith chwarae.  Byddai’n helpu i godi statws y sector.  Byddai’n dangos fod y gweithlu’n cael ei werthfawrogi ar bob lefel o Lywodraeth Cymru.  A byddai’n sicrhau staff yn y sector gofal plant a gwaith chwarae bod eu hiechyd, diogelwch a’u proffesiynoldeb nhw yr un mor bwysig â rhai eu cydweithwyr mewn addysg.

Yn gywir

Dear First Minister, Minister for Education, Minister for Health and Social Services, and Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services

On behalf of the childcare and playwork sector we wish to draw your attention to our concerns about how announcements that jointly include education, childcare and playwork are presented and the impact this has.

Throughout the pandemic, we have faced challenges from our member settings and wider sector that the education sector is prioritised over the childcare, early years, and playwork sector. As organisations working closely with Welsh Government, we have addressed these concerns proportionately. We advised member organisations and stakeholders that Welsh Government recognise their contribution in supporting children and their families, and the important contribution childcare and playwork has made to the pandemic response in Wales. We also recognise that Ministers have paid tribute to the staff in the childcare and playwork sector. In particular, the letter from the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services before Christmas was widely welcomed by the sector.

Since January, as umbrella organisations for the sector, Cwlwm has faced increased challenges about why our members are treated differently to schools, being asked to take risks that schoolteachers are not by staying open to all children. Again, we have proportionately and sensitively responded in a collective effort to support Welsh Government and allay fears about risks to staff health. We have based our responses on the scientific evidence shared by Welsh Government.

It is disappointing therefore, that when a cabinet statement, jointly written by the Health and Social Services Ministers and Education Minister is publicly announced, childcare and playwork is not explicitly included in the oral statement. Including childcare and playwork would extend the speech by half a dozen words. When omitted, each Cwlwm partner is faced with managing the emotive reaction from childcare and play providers, again stating that they feel it is education that drives decision making in Welsh Government and is prioritised over childcare and playworkers.

Cwlwm appreciates that the testing policy, announced on Friday 5th February, was constructed across departments for education and health and social services synchronously but the repetition of making such announcements as ‘schools’ creates a momentum that is hard to counter, even in receipt of jointly written statements. Respectfully, we would request that Ministers consider including childcare and playwork in oral announcements alongside schools when the policy applies equally to both sectors. This would have a significant impact on the childcare and playwork sector. It would help in raising the status of the sector. It would demonstrate that the workforce is valued at all levels of Welsh Government. And it would reassure the staff in the childcare and playwork sector that their health, safety, and professionalism is every bit as important as that of colleagues in education.

Yours sincerely

Dr Gwenllian Lansdown Davies, Prif Weithredwr Mudiad Meithrin

Jane O’Toole, Prif Weithredwr Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Clubs

David Goodger, Prif Weithredwr Blynyddoedd Cynnar Cymru/Early Years Wales

Claire Protheroe, Prif Swyddog Pacey Cymru

Sarah Coates, Prif Swyddog NDNA Cymru