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The Childcare Minister has announced plans to change the current 1:8 staff-child ratio in after-school clubs and, instead, mirror the teacher-child ratios of infant schools.

The chosen ratio will be left to each headteacher’s discretion, but could be as much as 30 children to one qualified staff member.

Alongside this change, Liz Truss said the level of education expected from these types of breakfast- and after-school clubs would also be reduced. At present, they must conform to EYFS guidance.

In her speech, Ms Truss said:

“For anyone that’s ever rushed home from a meeting to the school gates, or sat down to work out how to balance family time and family bills, they’ll know this often feels like a challenge.

“But I think these conditions present an opportunity, because a changing economy means that parents need affordable available childcare more than ever.”

The proposal has been met with some opposition. The NDNA released a press statement, where their Chief Executive, Purnima Tanuku OBE, said:

“A change such as this also leads to questions about regulation. How often is Ofsted going to go in and inspect these settings? With an already heavy workload, after school provision operating for a few hours is bound to be less of a priority.

“Parents need to know the care they choose for their young children is properly regulated and monitored and for that to happen, the balance between regulation and flexibility must be correct.”

She was, however, more supportive of the announcement to remove the level of education required:

“We are pleased the Government has listened to our concerns around out of school providers having to follow the learning and development requirements of EYFS for children who are in reception class full time. By removing that particular piece of red tape children, who have already had a full day at school, will be able to spend their free time relaxing, playing and having fun.”

Do you think this will benefit after-school clubs or will standards suffer? Is it a good thing that play will be more of a focus than education? Leave your comments below.

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