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Some 84 per cent of parents are opposed to Government proposals to relax childcare ratios in England’s day nurseries and pre-schools, even if this would result in lower childcare fees, according to a survey carried out by Bounty – the parenting club – on behalf of the Pre-school Learning Alliance.
Prime Minister David Cameron is reportedly reconsidering plans to relax ratios in childcare settings and for childminders, first revealed in the Government’s More Great Childcare document in January. Under the proposed ratio changes “appropriately-qualified” staff at childcare settings would be allowed to look after six two-year-old children, up from the current limit of four, and four children under the age of one, up from three, from this September.
Neil Leitch, Chief Executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said: “Parents using childcare want it to be of a high standard. They have made it clear that they do not want their children to be in settings where ratios are relaxed, even if that will save them money on their childcare costs. Having highly-qualified childcare staff care for more children will not raise the quality of provision; rather it will achieve the opposite.
“Indeed, one of the country’s largest day nursery groups now believes parents will have to pay more for their childcare if settings relax ratios. This shows how confused and ill-thought-out the Government’s plan to relax childcare ratios really is.
“We are calling for the Government to scrap its plans to relax ratios and to consult properly with the childcare sector about how to raise the quality and status of the sector while making childcare more affordable to parents.”
Around 29,000 parents have now signed the Alliance’s Rewind on Ratios petition against the proposed childcare changes.
The Bounty survey of over 1,100 mums also revealed some 95 per cent of parents described their childcare as either Good or Excellent, and only 5 per cent described it as Average. No-one said their childcare was Poor.
Of those using childcare, 60 per cent described their childcare provision as Excellent, while 35 per cent said it was Good and 5 per cent said it was Average. Not a single respondent judged their childcare to be Poor.