Providers unite against ratio changes.

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In an effort to decrease fees, an increase in child to carer ratios has been proposed. The current limit of one member of staff to every four toddlers will increase to six toddlers per one member of staff, and babies to 1:4.

In response to Parenta’s recent article ‘Do you agree with proposed changes to child ratios?’ childcare professionals were united against the changes. They agreed that it would be detrimental to the quality of care each child receives – without reducing the cost to parents.

One childcare professional said, ‘Children are individuals and the fundamental message of the EYFS is that each and every child should be treated as such. The care, activities and experiences planned for a child by their Key Person should be based on their individual needs and interests. How are we to be expected to get to know our children and plan and care for them individually if they are being cared for on mass?’

Another said, ‘Most good quality settings already run a lower than legal ratios in order to keep children safe and provide excellent opportunities for all children. Ratios are a maximum, not a requirement. This means good settings will keep to their lower ratios and it will make no difference at all to the amount of childcare places. Settings who allow the children to have a higher ratio will naturally have less time to offer to the children and quality will be reduced’.

In addition to the ratio changes, the Telegraph has reported the Education Minister will announce plans at a Policy Exchange speech on Tuesday, to force nursery workers to have GCSE Maths and English qualifications to lift standards among childcare workers.

Kids Allowed Chief Executive, Jenny Johnson said, ‘Having childcare professionals educated to a higher level than some of their peers does not mean that they can look after more children. Parents acknowledge that they would like to pay less for childcare but not at the expense of having less colleagues looking after their children. Children need educated high quality professionals around them and increasing ratios could affect their development’. She added that with these changes, ‘We will end up with a two-tier system where the poorest children are going to get the poor quality childcare’.

Concerns for the quality of care are high and a number of people have started to petition, in a hope to keep ratios as they are.

Do you want these ratios to stay as they are? What are you doing in a hope to stop the changes?


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7 thoughts on “Providers unite against ratio changes.

  • January 29, 2013 at 11:22 am
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    How can changing the ratio be in the best interest for the children. My staff work below ratio now and find it challenging, especially as behaviour and speech has declined in the younger children over the past few years making our job harder. increasing the ratio may mean these children will not be supported as well, as some settings will make staff redundant as they will feel they no longer need the amount of staff they have at present, thus increasing unemployment, children’s learning and play not as high quality and settings going under as they may not be sustainable.

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  • January 29, 2013 at 8:30 am
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    Our staff find the 1-4 ratio a challenge some days as toddlers are hard work! You will find that rather than improve childcare some settings will reduced there staff to match the ratios resulting in harder work for staff and poorer quality in the care they offer, I can’t see how it will reflect on fees either.

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  • January 29, 2013 at 8:24 am
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    I agree with all these comments. I believe the Prime Minister should go into a nursery with 4 babies to himself and actually see what it is like to cope with looking after them all at the same time. It does not matter how highly qualified a nursery nurse is, at the end of the day it is physically impossible to look after four babies on your own AND provide high quality childcare. If nurseries take these ratios on board then there will be nursery nurses LEAVING the profession not joining it!
    The Government is looking to turn nursery education into school education without taking into account the needs of the under fives or the nursery establishment itself.
    One day they may understand the workings of the nursery business but I feel by then it will be too late, they need to listen to those people providing the service not just looking at the statistics telling them they are not meeting their policies.

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  • January 28, 2013 at 11:13 pm
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    I will not offer funding for two year olds as I am subsidising the Government enough as it is for 3 and 4 year olds. We maintain high staff:child ratios, even in this time of recession, and like Michelle we are not full so any thought of changing ratios will have no impact on us whatsoever. Rather the Government be honest and pay us our true hourly rate per child than mess about with ratios and misleading the public that this will help nurseries financially.

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  • January 28, 2013 at 7:54 pm
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    Once again the needs of the children is being put behind the finance, this is coming from a setting providing quality care on the edge of sustainability. When is this government going to provide for our children, not at the cost of the settings? I have recently completed the EYPS, having been promised a bursary, which was taken away before we had completed the four year course, it seems that now I have completed the training I am now expected to fund my qualification from higher ratios. Teaching staff would not have to stand for such double standards.

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  • January 28, 2013 at 7:25 pm
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    We have increased the amount of children per session from 26 to 28, to make room for family that have moved into the area or disadvantaged in some way.

    However, we are still full and still intend to keep staff ratios to 1 adult to 4 toddlers, even through we have enough staff to take 6 toddlers per session. (we are a mixed setting for 2-5 year olds)

    Toddlers require lots of adult attention as they move around to explore, flitting from one place to another. Toddlers may not have developed an awareness of personal risk or that to others, but take risks and therefore need supervision to ensure they are safe.
    This is tricky enough with one member of staff watching four little ones. Increasing the number ratios will not enhance there time in preschool, as the value of monitoring, adult interaction and modelling play is lessoned ‘instead’ it will be like policing toddlers.

    This is not reflective of a positive learning environment or realistic in terms of supporting their holistic development. Is it not of primary importance to have ‘access to familiar adults’ more of the time, enabling a closer relationship, that is safe and provides security as they discover and figure things out.

    Less is sometimes more, in terms of quality care and education for these toddlers ‘is it not a parents right to expect that their child will be give the time, care and attention they deserve’

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  • January 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm
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    We are not full so how can increasing rates make it more sustainable for us?

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