In an attempt to control costs while maintaining a ‘healthy’ ratio of nursery staff to children, the Government has today unveiled its vision for the UK to lead the world in producing battery-raised toddlers.
‘For too long Governments have been slow to apply agricultural intensive-rearing techniques to childcare policy,’ said Conservative education minister, Liz Truss. ‘Each toddler up to the age of four will now be cared for in connecting cages sharing common divider walls. At mealtimes the grain feeder above their heads will dispense chicken nuggets, while a conveyor belt running constantly beneath will remove soiled nappies.’
Ministers insist the new approach is entirely logical. ‘Parents are always taking their children to play farms, so being cooped up in a pen will feel much like a day out. Yes, there may be the occasional problem with fly infestation and the odd incident of cannibalism, but for the most part the threat of maceration by the high-speed grinder should keep the little darlings in check. We’ve learned from our experience with Job Centres that packing them in is always the best policy.’
Critics of the scheme have attacked the Government after it was revealed that several Cabinet members had declined to send their children to state battery-farm nurseries and instead were paying to send them to private free-range nurseries.
But Ministers have denied elitism. ‘This is not about lowering aspirations,’ argued Truss. ‘What we’re doing is hot-housing children in a culture of high achievement so that everyone can develop new skills. Only this afternoon we showed one boy a picture of Michael Gove and a moment later he laid an egg.’
The new rules have encouraged a number of farmers to branch out into childcare. ‘I was really excited about the opportunities, but Ofsted visited and threatened me with closure because the children were all upset,’ said one farmer, Old McDonald. ‘The inspector said she heard a cry-cry here and a cry-cry there, here a cry, there a cry, everywhere a cry-cry. Still, on the plus side, one of my high-performing barns has become an academy.’
Wrenfoe (hat-tip Dick Everyman)