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Support fight against childcare changes
1:00pm Thursday 21st March 2013 in News
CHILDCARE experts fighting government plans to increase the child to nursery worker ratio have urged supporters to make their voices heard.
An online petition, calling for the Department for Education to keep the ratios as they are, has already been signed by more than 26,700 people. But the deadline is ticking down, giving parents and supporters only until next Monday to add their names before the consultation winds up.
In a joint statement they issued a stark warning: “As two outstanding nurseries in the Borough of Poole are horrified and appalled by this proposal as this will not lead to lowering fees but will put children in jeopardy and lower the quality of care.
“How can this possibly improve childcare standards? Common sense says more children, less attention per child, regardless of the staff’s qualification.”
Government minister Elizabeth Truss announced proposals to increase the number of nursery children each adult staff member looks after earlier this year.
A Department for Education spokesman explained: “We are reforming the childcare system so that providers have more flexibility to increase pay for better qualified workers.”
The spokesman said high quality providers will be able to expand, enabling more childminders to enter the market. “This will mean parents have more affordable childcare,” he added.
However, national childcare charity the Daycare Trust fears the reforms could create a two-tier system, as nurseries in disadvantaged areas, where lower fees are charged, would be more likely to raise childcare ratios.
Linda Duly, of Canford Heath’s Cuddles Day Nursery, said: “The government is trying to say that by allowing us to increase the child to staff ratios, it will bring costs down and make childcare cheaper.
“Well it won’t make childcare cheaper because, first of all, half of my excellent staff will walk out because they know they won’t be able to do a good job by looking after more children.
“I agree that raising the standard of professionalism is right, but it doesn’t mean you have any more hands. These proposals will lower childcare standards.”
Adult to child ratios for children under five:
Age: Under one. Current ratio: one adult to three babies. Proposed ratio: one adult to four babies.
Age: One year. Current ratio: one adult to three babies. Proposed ratio: one adult to four babies.
Age: Two years. Current ratio: one adult to four toddlers. Proposed ratio: one adult to six toddlers.
Age: Three-plus. Current ratio: one adult to eight children. Proposed ration: one adult to eight children or one to 13.
To access the petition go to www.change.org/en-GB/petitions /department-for-education-drop-plans-to-increase-child-to-adult-ratios