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Fears over steps to cut childcare staffing

Staff at Learning Curve Nurseries have said they won't be following up on the Government's proposals to change ratios of staff to children in early years childcare.

Staff at Learning Curve Nurseries have said they won't be following up on the Government's proposals to change ratios of staff to children in early years childcare.

  • by Katie Upton
 

NURSERY workers across the Fylde coast today hit back at Government proposals to reform childcare.

Under new proposals nurseries and childminders would be able to take on more children for staff to look after, providing workers have a minimum standard of education.

This, says the Government, will help make childcare more affordable and accessible for families.

But professionals across the Fylde coast said they would never adopt the proposals themselves, saying more children for a single staff member to care for would reduce the quality of care and increase health and safety risks.

Lisa Taylor, area manager for Learning Curve Nurseries, which has two premises in St Annes and one in South Shore, said: “Fewer staff means less time for the children.

“Everyone wants to save money but not at a cost to their children.”

Liz Truss, the Children’s Minister, said the changes would improve quality and cut costs, but Carol Webb, who runs Busy Bees Preschool in the Citadel, central Blackpool, disputes both of these ideas.

She said: “How can one person, no matter how qualified they are, look after six two-year-olds?”

Mrs Webb questioned whether changing ratios would lower costs for parents if proposals are also passed to increase nursery workers’ pay.

Mrs Truss has said only nurseries which take on staff with higher qualifications would be able to take on more children.

But Ms Taylor said: “Just because someone’s got more qualifications they won’t become superhuman and develop another set of arms and eyes to look after children.”

Learning Curve Nurseries said it is now encouraging staff to join the debate on the proposals.

CURRENT AND PROPOSED STAFFING RATIOS

Current

Under one and one-year-olds - 1 adult to 3 children

Two-year-olds - 1:4

Three-year-olds and above - 1:8 or 1:13 (teacher-led)

Proposed

Under one and one-year-olds 1:4

Two-year-olds - 1:6

Three-year-olds and above - 1:8 or 1:13 (teacher-led)

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