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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?

peacefuleasyfeeling Tue 29-Jan-13 11:30:00

I am in favour of higher taxation as an answer to most of society's short-comings, and childcare is no exception. In Sweden childcare is subsidised by the government (through sensible and socially responsible taxation) and my experience was a very positive one. Staff have the equivalent of a degree in early years education, hang about, it IS a degree. It is not a primary teaching qualification, it is a qualification specific to caring for children of nursery age. And it is a respected and well regarded profession.

BarbiesBeaver Tue 29-Jan-13 11:30:47

yy Provincial. These are real people with real lives they are experimenting with. We should be protecting some of the most vulnerable members of society - babies who can not tell us they are lonely, tired, ill, hungry - not exposing them to more risks and less care and attention.

nannynick Tue 29-Jan-13 11:31:56

Let Government know your views - Consultation: Education and childcare staff deployment (ends 25 March 2013)

Filmbuffmum Tue 29-Jan-13 11:32:54

Apologies if anyone has already asked this- but I think the big question with regard to lowering costs, is whether this will eventually lead to a decrease in the amount paid by the Government for the 15 free hours currently provided to 3-4 year olds (and some vulnerable 2 year olds)? If the changed proposed lead to childminders and nurseries increasing the number of children on their books without increasing staff numbers, I am sure this will increase profits for some of the larger private nurseries in the short term (but probably not for the smaller charity run preschools etc). However the cynic in me fears that before long the Government will suggest that if settings can decrease their staff numbers or take more children, that it will be financially reasonable to lower the hourly rate paid (currently only £3.70).

peacefuleasyfeeling Tue 29-Jan-13 11:37:14

I should say that I don't mention the early years education qualifications of Swedish early years practitioners because I believe we necessarily need to emulate this system; DDs nursery staff are very competent, kind and caring without having degrees (although a couple have left this year to start teacher training, having done A-levels part-time as mature students). I just noticed that the difference in how this kind of work is regarded is marked.

BarbiesBeaver Tue 29-Jan-13 11:46:28

Filmbuffmum, I have no doubt that these free hours will be scrapped fairly soon, or there will be some complicated system of qualifying for them meaning hardly anyone will be entitled to them. I am happy to be corrected on this...

PolkadotCircus Tue 29-Jan-13 11:51:47

So is anybody other than the gov and nursery chains in favour of this?confused

Does anybody in power actually listen to the mothers of children these days or are children just figures now?

TwelveLeggedWalk Tue 29-Jan-13 11:52:47

FilmBuff that was what my incoherent ramblings were about!
The way I see it, they're seeking to put in place legislation which will enable nurseries to expand both their footprint and numbers of attendees, and reduce staff. This will mean government funded childcare will become 'lowest common denominator' childcare, of poor ratios of care at large, overcrowded nurseries, paid for by the government at a low rate.
The next step, presumably, is to make accepting that sub-standard childcare semi-compulsory in order to get women back into WorkFare placements etc.

stormforce10 Tue 29-Jan-13 11:53:25

My friend has a degree in maths and 8 month old triplets. She really struggles to manage without help. I am very unclear as to how a GCSE in English and maths will help look after tiny babies.

Elizabeth Truss if you're reading (and maybe you are) perhaps you could explain it to us. Does trigonometry help change nappies? Does a knowledge of Shakespeare enhance one's ability to sing Old MacDonald and Humpty Dumpty? Will the understanding of a difference between the different types of apostrophe make it easier to help a 3 year old with their letters?

I want a child carer with compassion, common sense, patience, kindness in abundance and a loving caring and warm personality. If they have an A in GCSE maths I really do not care. I want them to have enough time to give DS the love and security he needs. I want his nappy changed regulary and as required. I want him not to be battling with other babies for affection. I want him to be fed and cuddled. I want his tears wiped if he falls and his face wiped after he eats. I want him to be secure happy and safe

Please drop these silly plans for the sake of our children. I've signed the petition and emailed my MP to make my views known

shellshock7 Tue 29-Jan-13 11:53:48

DS 10m was supposed to start nursery this month, but never got passed the settling in hours as I saw that the level of care I think a child his age requires just cant be provided at the current ratios, let alone an increase shock

As a PP stated, babies are left crying because, thru no fault of the nursery, one adult simply cannot comfort three babies. If this was to come in I would think a lot of mothers will consider of which could see a return to a lot more SAHM, I wonder if the govt has considered the impact that would have on the economy?

piprabbit Tue 29-Jan-13 11:53:56

Thanks for the link nannychick - I've been sharing it around.

piprabbit Tue 29-Jan-13 11:55:02

Great post stormforce10

theaub Tue 29-Jan-13 11:56:34


This makes me furious. The millionaire politicians bodging this idea together would never DREAM of using this level of care for their own kids. As other posters have said, they have nannies or their wives are SAHMs (who may well also have nannies to help). they have absolutely no idea of how normal people have to live. (But that goes for the effect on us of loads of the different public services they are cutting, not just this latest wheeze to help the owners of big chain nurseries..)

For those of you wanting to take action on this: Best place to register your views so they are not able to ignore them is by responding to the public consultatiion on dept for education website:

Petitions etc are good but can be easily dismissed as the views of an organised minority by those in power.. and unless accompanied by big media coverage may not have much impact on decision-makers.

I used to work in public affairs so apologies if this is an annoying grannies/egg-sucking post. Just don't see the merit in this proposal for children at all and desperately hope it is not implemented.

lynniep Tue 29-Jan-13 11:58:44

I so strongly disagree with these plans I'm fuming - as are the staff at the nurseries my children attend/have attended in the past. I've always had a bee in my bonnet about ratios anyway.

SamSmalaidh Tue 29-Jan-13 12:00:48

INSANE that they want to increase the numbers of babies in ratio but not 3 and 4 year olds! I feel 1:3 is already too much for under 1s. Maybe making the ratio for 1-2year olds 1:4 and 3-4year olds 1:10 would be ok, but 1:6 2 year olds is unreasonable imo.

SamSmalaidh Tue 29-Jan-13 12:02:41

And nursery care in countries like France and Belgium where you have many babies per adult is really not that great, and most people used to British nurseries would find it quite shocking I think. Much less contact and attention between adults and babies, but less crying as babies learn not to expect a reaction.

BadMissM Tue 29-Jan-13 12:04:58

I think they are bad enough as it is. DD was in creche/nursery in France....where it was heavily subsidised (I paid about £15 per week for fulltime, 7-6 care...), and the care standards were excellent. They weren't private providers, they were state funded and trained and guaranteed. We need that here. Ratios were tiny compared to UK.

We need more staff, not less. We need state-provided reasonable/funded childcare if they insist we all work.

So, now they've wrung the maximum profit out of the sick, the disabled, the unemployed, the benefit claimants, the elderly, those with special needs, to profit their 'private provider' friends.... they are going to start on the children?

I'm currently pregnant, and my child won't be going near any of their private provider 'nurseries' if I can help it...

morethanpotatoprints Tue 29-Jan-13 12:05:55


It is pretty much the same now in terms of Maths and English GCSE. Of course they need these vital qualifications if you are working and teaching children.
My friend teaches Early Years at a FE college, she says the level of English is appalling and really not suitable at all. These are students who have a grade c at GCSE. I also experienced this myself and refused to allow my dc to attend such places. So an improvement of the general education of child care workers should be encouraged surely.

BadMissM Tue 29-Jan-13 12:08:08

In France they also have Doctors, Paediatricians, Community Nurses attched to the creches. Workers are often not only nursery, but medically trained. The director of my daughter's creche was a paediatrician in her own right, and hands-on. The facilities were also scrupulously clean, well-designed and up-to-date.

domesticslattern Tue 29-Jan-13 12:09:46

I'm really unhappy about this as I am about to put my DD2 (1) into nursery. She may be a neglected second born - and I would have gone for a nanny if I could have afforded it like every Cabinet member - but I still want her to be fed, changed and held at least some of the time.

At the moment her nursery (which is for 0-2 year olds) has one adult for three babies. That sounds pretty hectic. Changing it to one to four sounds really stressful to me. Have you tried looking after quads, Minister? Even if you just think about changing four nappies every three hours, how the hell do you feed them all at once? Pass all those beakers? Comfort them when they fall over? These are babies who need hugs, not teaching literacy etc.

I think that the Tories are utterly utterly out of touch. I really hope that these proposals are not implemented.

kerstina Tue 29-Jan-13 12:21:27

YANBU! I feel really cross about this! I am a B.T.E.C qualified nursery nurse. I have 6 0'levels (taken in the late 80's when they were harder grin ) I got an A grade in English language and failed maths. So someone like me would not be able to get a job as a nursery nurse?

breadandbutterfly Tue 29-Jan-13 12:22:43

We need higher paid childcarers who are good at what they do - I was shocked by some of the appalling 16 year olds who looked after my ds in nursery. A C grade wouldn't have made them better motivated or better at theor jobs but maybe would have meant they could have qualified for another job they hated less! I don't think we want childcare to be the job people do because they are too thick or lazy to do anything else. (Which was my experience.)

We should have subsidized childcare but to me having more educated and beeter paid staff is more important than the ratios - I'm not sure 3 carers in a room who really love their job and are paid well (or at least reasonably relative to the responsibility) isn't better than 4 carers in a room paid minimum wage who don't care but know they can't get any other jobs.

zebedeethezebra Tue 29-Jan-13 12:24:49

The changes in ratios will not make a jot of difference to fees. Nurseries will simply lay of the staff they don't need anymore and make more profit.

breadandbutterfly Tue 29-Jan-13 12:25:06

Not that this would save money, though or make childcare cheaper - 3 carers @ 20K = 4 carers @ 15K. Still costs 60K in wages. But I suspect happier carers and better looked after children.

Obviously, better if govt subsidizes it by 20K, so we can have 4 carers at 20K!

LimelightsontheChristmastree Tue 29-Jan-13 12:25:12

A small amount of light relief! From the politics newsfeed on the Guardian site:

'On Twitter someone has been giving me grief for not posting any positive reaction to the Truss childcare announcement.

If I had found any this morning, I would have posted it already. But I haven't.'


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