UK & World News
Childcare Plans: Nursery Ratios To Be Relaxed
Nurseries and childminders will be allowed to look after more children under Government plans aimed at reducing the burden on parents struggling to pay soaring fees.
The current ratio of one member of staff to every four two-year-olds will be increased to one carer for every six toddlers.
Nurseries will also be allowed to loosen ratios for under-twos, with one carer being allowed to look after four instead of three children.
A childminder would be able to look after two babies rather than one and four under-fives rather than three, according to the proposals.
British families spend an average of 27% of their income on childcare - the second highest proportion in the world.
But when it comes to the quality of care provided, the UK is said to be behind other European countries.
Citing the example of France, Education Minister Elizabeth Truss will argue that easing the rules on ratios can give nurseries the "headroom to pay higher salaries".
She is expected to tell an event at the Policy Exchange think-tank: "We have learned from other countries that deliver better value and better-quality childcare.
"We have looked across Europe and beyond. The aim is not to replicate another country's approach but to learn from and apply best practice."
Ministers also want youngsters to start being taught reading and maths at a younger age to reassure parents that their children are receiving a proper education.
And in return for deregulation and higher pay, Ms Truss will insist that nursery workers have tougher academic standards, including potential carers needing at least a grade C in English and maths to begin the two-year Early Years Educator Qualification.
Ms Truss said: "We want to see more of a continuum between childcare and the education system, we want to see more teachers in early years leading high quality group settings and also more people with English and maths GCSE going into early years.
"So this is about raising the quality and making sure our young children get the absolute best."
Rachel Parangi, a mother-of-two, told Sky News: "The cost of childcare is a burden, it's like a mortgage, in fact, it's more than my mortgage - so yes it is expensive.
"It's a price you have to pay for quality childcare. When you're at work you want to know that someone is looking after your children."
Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said the plans threatened child safety and would not reduce costs.
"This Government has created an affordability crisis by cutting support and pushing up costs for parents. Watering down quality is the wrong way to try to deal with the problem they've caused," he said.
"Experts are warning this could threaten child safety and won't reduce costs. Parents will be worried.
"With a £1,700 toddler tax for families with two children, and 401 fewer children's centres, parents are being locked into inflation-busting cost rises while the quality of childcare is undermined."
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what do you think?
So yet another plan to put people out of work
This is wrong!!! Bums on seats does not equal good quality childcare !!!!!
I am a childminder & I dont agree with this. The safety of a child comes first. How can you spend quality time with a child when you have more? I have 3 kids of my own, look after 3 under 5 & a child before & after school. Its enough. Nurseries charge double what I do so the owners will be the only winners.
It would appear Kelly, that including your own children, you are already operating at the new maximums - are you saying you can manage but other carers cannot?
No I am not.I could look after another baby. & my son does not come into it because he's 12.
My Kids are all at school anyway so I am not working the new maximums.
There will be no quality.
Yeah coz toddlers are so well behaved... Comes to something when even the safety standards in childcare are being sacrificed to cover up the ripoff that is daycare.
Ridiculous!. It's impossible to take care of so many children, making it less safe for our children.An accident waiting to happen, sadly....
Polly Toynbee in The Guardian newspaper has wrote a brilliant column about this. Absolutely nailed this daft idea. I thoroughly recommend you read it.
I took my lad out of child care and put him into nursery because the woman wasn't able to meet the needs of all the kids in her care, now that woman will have even more kids. This government is run by complete sociapaths
This move is for political and economic reasons, and shows no concern for the quality of care received by the children. All research, ignored by the government on the grounds that it makes sense, shows that the smaller the ratio of children to carer the higher the quality of care. And there is no relationship between the academic qualifications of the carer and the quality of care of the children. Turning nursing into a degree occupation did nothing for the quality of care for those who have died in NHS hospitals as a result of highly educated but uncaring nurses and management. When we the idiots running this country realise that academic qualifications alone do not make a person able to teach better or care better than another person. It is the person side of the work that makes nursing and teaching a vocation, not a job.