First Person: Changes in childcare
RECENTLY, the Minister for Education, Elizabeth Truss, announced she is in favour of a change in ratios for childminders and nurseries that would see staff with higher qualifications care for more children.
At present, under the Early Years Foundation Stage, nurseries can care for three babies to one early years practitioner, or four toddlers to one nursery nurse.
Under the proposals Ms Truss has suggested that an adult might be responsible for the care and learning needs of four babies or six toddlers.
What the government have failed to grasp is threefold. Firstly, and most importantly, the safety and welfare of children would be jeopardised by more children and fewer adults. It is impossible to see how they might be nurtured as unique individuals who are growing and learning in their most formative years.
Our knowledge of child development has long included the importance of early attachment and the power of a nurturing, responsive adult.
How this would be achieved on a 1:6 basis is unfathomable.
Secondly, there is an assumption that more highly qualified staff can somehow provide the care and learning for more children – having developed more eyes, ears and arms than others! And thirdly, it is difficult to see how cost savings will be passed on to parents if fees are paying higher wages to these better qualified staff.
A petition has been started by registered childminder Penny Webb at http://www. change.org/keepratiosdown