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?