Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Has the Government gone too far?


The government has decided to raise the ratios of children to adults in childcare settings

It has been announced today that in order to "improve quality and cut costs", the Government have decided to increase the ratios of children to adults in childcare settings. This news is aimed to help parents be able to afford childcare costs in the long term.

As a parent and ex nursery nurse, I must say that I oppose this idea. It is very hard working in a childcare environment as it is and with the current ratios it is always difficult to give children the time they deserve. At the moment, the ratios are 1:3 for under 2's, 1:4 for 2-3's and 1:8 for over 3's. Imagine the scene above.......a baby enjoying painting as you would love for them to do. Now place one member of staff with 3 other children to entertain as well as this child......bad enough with 2 more, let alone another!!

My concern would be that the quality of the care could suffer by putting the staff under more stress and making them work even harder for their (not fantastic) salaries. I for one imagine that if I was thinking of becoming a nursery nurse now, I could easily be put off at the thought of having so many children in my supervision at one time. The 2-3 year old ratio has jumped by two children to 6 per adult, and even graduates (such as I would be if i was in childcare now) could be in charge of up to 13 3-4 year olds by themselves!!

Many critics of the governments plans agree with me that there is a chance that Health and Safety could be compromised by increasing the ratios, which even for parents is not good to hear. As a parent myself, I am going to be interested to find out how this will effect my daughters time in Pre school. I would much rather pay the fees for my daughter to be safe and get the attention she deserves then be paying for care which could be compromised in such a way.

Something interesting which came out of this too is that new nursery staff will have to have at least a grade C in English and maths GCSE. I can see where they are coming from, but I must say that from a person who tried really hard to get a GCSE C grade in Maths and failed, sometimes you do not need maths to be a good practitioner. I am living testament to that, especially as I now have 3 A levels, NVQ Levels 2 and 3 in childcare and an FDA in Childcare and Education (along with a playwork qualification!!) I just hope that there are not genuine good quality nursery professionals out there who will slip through the net because of this.

What are your thoughts??


  1. Totally oppose this idea - it has been on the news tonight that even Denmark and other scandinavian countries are now changing their thoughts as the system there of higher ratios has NOT worked! I have spent a lot of time and money getting all my staff trained to level 3 and myself to EYFD with the aim of offering higher quality but we fundraise to have lower ratios at all times. We would rather pay to have extra staff in our preschool we would certainly NOT change our ratios in line with this. Our parents have always valued our low ratios with our 2 and 3 year olds and IT WORKS FOR THE CHILDREN! They have got this SO wrong its scary. Who is advising them. They are not in the real world of childcare at all.

  2. I agree, Joanne!! It is almost as if this idea has come from someone who has no idea just how childcare settings work!! The pressure on staff would be just too immense and thats not far on them or the children!!
    Lets hope the governemnt see sense and listen to the huge opposition to this!