Clegg announces proposed childcare ratio changes are being dropped

Plans to allow nurseries and childminders in England to look after more children are being dropped, Nick Clegg has said. This is from the Times…

The proposals championed by Liz Truss, the Conservative Education Minister, would have allowed nursery staff to look after four babies instead of three and six 2-year-olds instead of four. Childminders would have been free to look after two babies under the age of 1, instead of one.

They would also have been allowed to care for four 1-to-5-year-olds, rather than three. But in a move that will place further strain on the coalition, the Deputy Prime Minister has decided to veto the entire plan.

Mr Clegg raised his concerns during a face to face meeting with Ms Truss at the start of last month. He decided finally to tear up the plan after she refused to draw up a compromise or provide more evidence that the changes would improve the quality of childcare or lower its cost.

“One of my absolute top priorities in government is to deliver better quality, more affordable childcare for parents up and down the country,” Mr Clegg said last night. “When you are talking about something this important to parents, I think it is imperative to be led by the evidence — which is overwhelmingly against changing the rules on ratios.

“The proposals to increase ratios were put out to consultation and were roundly criticised by parents, providers and experts alike. Most importantly, there is no real evidence that increasing ratios will reduce the cost of childcare for families.”

More at:  Clegg angers Tories by ditching childcare plan (subscription required) 

Is this a good move for childcare and will you be celebrating Nick Clegg’s intervention or is it a missed opportunity to have made a change that would have resulted in important cost savings for struggling families?

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