To think change in childcare ratios will lower childcare standards

(526 Posts)
moogy1a Tue 29-Jan-13 08:17:34

Proposed change in ratios for nurseries and childminders means that some nurseries will almost double the number of children with the same number of staff.
How can this possibly improve childcare standards? Common sense says more children, less attention per child no matter how qualified the staff.
The proposal also seems to think this will lower costs. it won't. Costs per child will be the same but nursery profits will increase.
For CM's the ratios are also to increase. The whole point of CM's is that you can get out and about to parks / playgroups etc. How will that happen with 4 one year ols to transport?

sleeplessbunny Tue 29-Jan-13 09:54:11

I just read Elizabeth Truss' mumsnet blog page (link upthread) and am more than a little concerned about this phrase:

"The quality of early years education has an enormous effect on a child – the gulf in mathematical ability that exists between teenagers in England and places like Singapore and Hong Kong is already evident by the time they are five."

I do agree that educational standards for maths and science need much improvement, but I hardly believe that maths hot-houses for the under fives is the right way to go. Cuddles and play-doh please, not algebra.

dreamingofsun Tue 29-Jan-13 09:54:55

redexpat - so they earn nearly 3k a month? Thats about 35k a year?

PeazlyPops Tue 29-Jan-13 09:55:21

I would much rather that ratios stay as they are, rather than increase and fees are reduced.

I'm feeling very wobbly about DS going to nursery as it is, and the ratios changing would mean I'd give up work and become a SAHM.

BlueberryInMyTummy Tue 29-Jan-13 09:56:31

I agree with StripeyBear - nursery seems to be fantastic value to me! At less than £5 per hour it's by far the cheapest "service" that I use being much much cheaper than a cleaner, gardener, hairdresser, exercise class, electrician, painter, builder, mechanic, the list goes on. Out of all of these, childcare carries the most responsibility and should be renumerated as such.

Forcing the staff to work harder in order to push costs down further, thus compromising the quality of childcare, is not an option for me.

BarbiesBeaver Tue 29-Jan-13 10:00:42

I am quite upset by these proposed changes. I already feel bad enough leaving my 1 year old at a childminder, but what makes it bearable is the fact that the childminder I leave her with has time to cuddle her, know when she needs a drink, nappy change, picking up, getting her to sleep, not smash her head in trying to walk, get biffed by older children and so on. If they have more children in these early years then the level of care and attention they need at this age will undoubtably decline. I can't see that costs will go down either. I don't care if the nurseery staff or CM have GCSE's; I care about whether they have the expertise and time to spend caring for my child.

I'm sure nursery staff and childminders are also dismayed to hear this news - more work for less pay, possible job cuts, safety implications of having more children to look after and keep safe and cared for.

I can see why this line of approach is appealing for the government - it means they can say they have tried to help out working families and reduce childcare costs without them actually having to do anything or cost anything to them. Any news on the tax relief of childcare costs?

Just confirms the politicians with their nannies or SAHM wives don't actually give a flying fuck about normal working families. Thanks for adding to my stress levels and making me feel even worse about having to work 4 days a week.

EasilyBored Tue 29-Jan-13 10:01:41

All the GCSEs and training in the world wont help you unless you can grow another pair of arms and eyes though. I'm not impressed at all, and this this is incredibly short sighted and naive. Prices will not go down, standards of care will.

NoHank Tue 29-Jan-13 10:02:00

I'm sure it was on here that I read that what most parents want from a childcare provider is their ability to give a matronly cuddle and know their way around a fish finger sandwich. Sorry for misquoting but I think the sentiment is right.

Nearly all parents I know, including myself, want to know their child is being loved and cared for, responded to when they are sad or in need and having some fun along the way. What they don't care about is how many developmental aspects they have met on the EYFS this month.

From what I can see, the point is to reduce costs by increasing ratio's but as already mentioned, I can't see this happening. Costs for nursery will remain the same but their profits will go up.

Viviennemary Tue 29-Jan-13 10:03:30

I think the quality of childcare will suffer. But the cost of childcare is getting unaffordable for more and more people.

EasilyBored Tue 29-Jan-13 10:04:01

Nursery is expensive if you look at the total cost, but the per hour charge is actually pretty reasonable when you consider that you are trusting them with the sole care of the most precious thing in your life. The problem is not that childcare is too expensive, it's that wages are too low.

LimelightsontheChristmastree Tue 29-Jan-13 10:05:18

Just read her blog and it just makes me want to underline my previous post. Where's her proof? She talks about 'excellent' childcare on the continent. What is excellent? Who says so? Why? This is all totally lacking in substance.

Smug picture too. Not that that matters...

HannahsSister40 Tue 29-Jan-13 10:06:51

this was a deciding factor in becoming a sahm for me, and that's before these new proposals. And before you say anything, yes I know not everyone can afford to be, or wants to be a sahm. In my opinion, right now before these new measures are introduced, nurseries are understaffed and many childminders have too many children. Why doesn't the government give families financial assistance so one parent can stay at home for part of all of the time in the early years, since that's what the vast majority of parents would prefer?

meadow2 Tue 29-Jan-13 10:07:54

Why did Labour say there must be a degree staff member in each setting, then the present government say no that is no longer needed, and now they want to implement that again? confused

MarathonMama Tue 29-Jan-13 10:15:06

YANBU - this is a shocker.

I don't care whether the carers who look after DD (10mo) have a GCSE between them but I do care that one person will be looking after four babies. We weren't designed to look after more than two (hence two nipples) so how can this be right? Anyone with children who has taken time to care for them knows that looking after one or two babies PROPERLY is a full time job.

HannahsSister40 Tue 29-Jan-13 10:15:56

and as for these countries where childcare is super cheap and women are back at work within a month or two, its starting to unravel. There've been numerous reports arguing that many of these women feel forced back cos daycare is so affordable. They feel they have no other option. We're living in a world where women, who invariably provide the source of primary attachment, feel they must always subcontract out the job of parent elsewhere

PolkadotCircus Tue 29-Jan-13 10:17:50

Yanbu I think it's appalling and yet another example of the way this gov doesn't live in the real world and just continuously makes ill thought out policies that time and time again penalise children.

I speak as a mother of 3 under 18 months,an ex Outstanding childminder and an ex primary teacher with a degree in early years and literature.

As a mother and well skilled early years practitioner I would often weep with frustration at what I couldn't do with my own children having the 1 to 3 ratio.It is not ideal at all and they want to stretch it further!Aside from quality of the logistics of nappy changing,cuddles,quality of play,attention,language ops,etc there is a safety issue. You literally need eyes in the back of your head something which a GCSE in Eng and maths isn't going to improve on.

Then there is a square footage issue.Are childminders and nurseries going to move to bigger premises? I think not so we'll have more children squashed into areas already not big enough.We'll see childminders with even bigger gaggles of children on the school run(over 8s had little number restrictions).We'll have practitioners doing less outdoor,community based activities because it'll be riskier with higher ratios( I for one wouldn't be taking bigger numbers of toddlers out alone along a busy high street or to a play park).

The reason I was Outstanding was because I kept my numbers low knowing my capabilities and preferring to give top notch care and attention to the few children I had.I was also aware of the limitations of my house.Not all Childminders have the same attitude and for some the " business" comes first ie bang for buck.

Practitioners will still need to spend the same on heating,resources,electricity and time on paperwork.In fact with more children there will be even more paperwork if EYFS is to be done properly.

Finally mothers or fathers often want to be able to spend the formative years with their children. Being cared for by a parent in their own home with access to a good pre school is preferable for most children but absolutely nothing is done to enable or help parents who want to to do this-nothing,in some cases mothers are actually penalised for doing it.

The needs of children are just being hammered continuously so now instead of helping children be in their own homes the gov are introducing a pile em high keep it cheap policy which will bring in a 2 tier system and childcare they would never dream in a million years of using. The richer parents will choose practitioners who continue to keep numbers low (I would)or the best option a nanny so it'll be the poorer parents lumbered with the lesser quality care.

And re other countries you know what every country is different.The French raise children very differently and far more formally so it may well be easier to manage large numbers of small children.Is the French way better for our children,where is the consistent research to show this?Maybe costs are reduced for parents in other countries because the gov puts more money in,in our country support for practisers is actually being slashed.

Apologies for the rant but I just feel this is yet another example of how children in this country are placed rock bottom on the list of priorities.All the gov care about is money not what is actually best for children and it is so,so sad as yet again it won't be rich children effected by this will it.

inthewildernessbuild Tue 29-Jan-13 10:20:18

YANBU. I think the state should be subsidizing all nurseries to employ more people with higher educational attainment,as well as maintaining current ratios. It is nonsense to think that if you will any better at coping with four little ones just because you have a C.

Having had three children under two years in my care (twin and toddler) I can assure you that even graduates find it difficult to give the attention the babies need. Yes, babies gain a lot from the presence of other children, it is fun for them to be with other children etc etc, but they need an adult to talk to, 1:1 for speech development and all sorts of other things, not just the practicalities of changing nappies, comforting, dealing with disruption.

What will they do if one child with undiagnosed SEN or behavioural issues comes into this set-up? How are they going to manage him/her when they run amok? And surely this is exactly where the cortisol related, behavioural anxiety stuff is going to begn, for SOME children who are vulnerable already. Even if you know what you should be doing (if you are highly trained) you might not get the TIME to do it with those children.

I feel very sad. My son has late diagnosed ASD (aged 8), and I am just so relieved I never sent hm to nursery until he had learnt as much as he could in a 1:1 setting, and got as much S & L reinforcement and attachment as he possibly could. He went to termtime morning nursery at 3 and loved it and had no issues there, except playing too often with the trainsets!

Mosman Tue 29-Jan-13 10:20:37

I remember standing at the entrance of the baby room watching one member of staff surrounded by 11 under 1's because one member of staff was fetching something and another was changing nappies so it's naive to think these situations don't happen already. We didn't go back after that, this was a state run nursery attached to a college in the UK.
This proposal can only make a bad situation worse though.

getoffthecoffeetable Tue 29-Jan-13 10:21:33

I think the proposed changes are disgusting. I already feel bad about leaving DS while I go to work but feel reassured by the level of care he receives which can only be due to the high ratio of staff to children.
If the ratios changed it would make me seriously consider pulling DS from nursery altogether.
Have signed and shared the petition.

PolkadotCircus Tue 29-Jan-13 10:22:48

Oh is there a petition,can you link?

imogengladhart Tue 29-Jan-13 10:23:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolkadotCircus Tue 29-Jan-13 10:25:14

I know Imogen why are we parents just no longer deemed good enough to look after our own children or helped to do so?

HannahsSister40 Tue 29-Jan-13 10:26:52

that's fine if you're a highly paid QC like Cherie, but for the vast majority of men and women, earning somewhere around national average salary, it would probably be more helpful to offer assistance for them to look after their own children at home. Cherie doesn't mention that for most children, this is a far far better scenario.

inthewildernessbuild Tue 29-Jan-13 10:27:27

Oh yes, and the v structured (lovely) Montessori where my child went had a proportion of French children whose parents were insistent that they would "behave" and believed the longer nursery day was good for them. They always signed them up for full day in comparison to most English parents. Are we wishy washy or do we just like spending more time wth our children?? Some of those children were extremely badly behaved whatever was expected of them. The restrictions of small space and not much exercise did not SUIT. Yet the parents did not adjust their viewpoint, and just expected the children to fit in. There is a danger in assuming that some nursery settings are beneficial to some children at all.

Poor kids they cannot tell us what they NEED. We are told this is good for them, or that is good for us, but I wonder whether a lot of their needs are being glossed over in pursuit of what suits us.

BarbiesBeaver Tue 29-Jan-13 10:28:38

Seems to be a unanimous negative response to this proposal. No doubt they will still go ahead with it, because this crappy sticking plaster solution to the problem of affording childcare is a lot easier and cheaper than dealing with the real reasons people can not afford childcare - extortionate fuel and food costs, disproportionately low wages, sky high mortgages on small houses, I could go on.

Great post as well Polka.

imogengladhart Tue 29-Jan-13 10:34:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now