Pressure Mounting On Government

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07 May 2013

Pressure is mounting over the Government’s plans to cut childcare staff numbers.

Influential parent groups Mumsnet and Netmums have both added their support to a growing campaign to stop Ministers increasing the number of children nursery staff and childminders can care for, after overwhelming opposition to the plans from their members.
Their intervention follows that of Professor Cathy Nutbrown, who was commissioned by the Government to write a report on how to increase the quality of childcare, and recently became the latest expert to lash out over Ministers’ proposals, calling the plans “nonsense”.
In a stinging response to the Government’s More Great Childcare plans, published in January, Professor Nutbrown, who is the Head of Education at Sheffield University, said: "Current proposals will shake the foundations of quality provision for young children. Watering down [adult to child] ratios, regardless of the level of qualifications held by staff, is likely to lead to worse, not 'great' childcare, and will undermine intentions to provide quality early learning experiences."
The academic joins Professors Helen Penn and Eva Lloyd, who had been commissioned to write a report on childcare costs which has been buried by the Government, warning that increasing ratios would reduce the quality of care and create potential safety issues.
Campaigners against these plans are absolutely right; loosening ratios will only water down the level of attention and quality of early learning children receive. Ministers aren’t even listening to their own experts on this, let alone parents and professionals.
As parents and childcare providers are the experts, I would be interested to hear their ideas on how to make childcare more affordable while maintaining or increasing quality. If any local residents would like to contact me about this issue please e-mail