Government plans to allow nursery staff and childminders to look after more children have drawn “a huge and angry response” from parents, says a charity. This is from the BBC…
The Pre-School Learning Alliance says that more than 11,000 parents have signed a petition against the changes to childcare ratios in England.
The government says ratios can be raised only if carers’ qualifications meet new standards.
Neil Leitch, of the alliance, said ministers should listen to parents.
The government announced the changes last month. They are due to come into force in the autumn.
Children’s Minister Liz Truss said the proposals would make more childcare places available and reduce costs for parents “in the long term”.
She said the changes would bring the UK into line with countries such as France and Sweden and that England’s current higher ratios meant lower pay for staff and higher costs for parents.
An earlier report from Ms Truss suggested that the average family spent more than a quarter of their earnings on childcare – Britain has some of the most expensive childcare in the world, with some mothers saying it does not make financial sense to work.
Statutory ratios for carers per child vary depending on age and setting.
Under the new arrangements ratios for two-year-olds will rise from four children per adult to six children per adult, and for ones-and-under from three children per adult to four children per adult.
Ratios for three-year-olds and over will remain at eight or 13 children per adult, depending on whether a qualified graduate is present.
The Pre-school Learning Alliance is one of a number of organisations to have criticised the plans. It says its petition was distributed to parents on Monday, with 11,000 signing within 48 hours.