Education minister Liz Truss has called for a shift in attitude towards seeing childcare as a profession that requires training.
She said: "It is a very demanding job that requires great and specialist expertise. I am not trained to do the job. I'm a politician, not an early educator. And I'm equally sure I could not walk into a class of 30 14-year-olds and teach them German."
When I went to France I learned that excellent nursery and home-based care is widely available. By contrast, most parents in the UK talk about how they have to "juggle" their work and childcare arrangements.
The government spends as much as the French on childcare, so this is about something else ...
French nursery workers are paid similarly to primary school teachers, but unlike our comparatively well-paid primary school teachers, nursery staff here earn £6.60 an hour – barely above the minimum wage.