More than 11,000 parents have signed a Pre-school Learning Alliance petition registering their concerns about the Government’s changes in staff-to-child ratios in childcare settings.
The petition, distributed to Alliance settings on Monday, says: “We would like the Government to reconsider its decision on child ratios and undertake a proper consultation with early years practitioners and parents.”
Neil Leitch, Alliance Chief Executive, said: “These are parents of children who will be directly affected by this proposal and it is clear they feel as strongly about this issue as childcare practitioners do.
“That more than 11,000 parents have signed our petition in 48 hours speaks volumes. Whilst the Government has shown a complete disregard for the views of the sector, they would be ill-advised to ignore the voice of parents.
“Their message is clear: they are not interested in childcare on the cheap and want their children to be in a safe and caring environment where staff are able to give children individual attention. They recognise this will be lost should the ratios change.
“We are told by Government that no nursery will be forced to accept the change but this is wholly misleading. At best it will create a two-tier system which will favour more-affluent parents whilst the remainder will have to accept less one-to-one support for their child. Is this what the Prime Minister envisaged when he said he wanted ‘to make the UK the most family-friendly country in Europe’? If so, a good place to start would be to listen to their views.
“This policy benefits no-one and I am dismayed that the Government should have been so poorly advised to introduce policies that have little support from providers, parents and early years experts.
“It is not a weakness to accept that a mistake has been made and we urge the Government to bring a halt to this misconceived policy now.”