Appeal to fight against new childcare changes

Support grows for campaign against changes to childcare ratios.

Support grows for campaign against changes to childcare ratios. - Credit: Archant

PARENTS, nursery owners and childminders in North Somerset are being encouraged to support a campaign to stop new childcare ratios from being brought in by the Government.

The Department for Education (DfE) has outlined plans to change ratios so one member of staff will be able to look after more children than they are currently allowed to, to try to reduce childcare costs for parents.

But childcare practitioners are concerned the quality of care will drop and children will be more at risk of accidents.

The Somerset Pre-school Learning Alliance, which provides support and advice to parents and childcare practitioners, has started a petition to try to get the Government to drop the proposals.

Emma Perry, support officer at the alliance, said: “We’re trying to get as many people as we can to sign our petition to stop these changes going ahead.

“It means that staff will have more children to look after and surely that can’t be good for their care.

“Each child has a key worker and they will have less time to engage with the individual children on a one-to-one basis. It could also impact on safety.”

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The new proposals would allow one member of staff to look after four children aged 0-1 instead of three, and six two-year-olds instead of four.

Although the changes will be voluntary, the group fears market pressures will force many nurseries and childminders to adopt the new ratios, which will lower overall quality.

More than 11,000 parents signed the group’s paper petition after just 48 hours of its release.

The alliance is now asking parents and nurseries to join the campaign to stop the controversial plans.

Lorraine Osment, owner of Happy Hours Nursery in Nailsea, is backing the campaign.

She said: “More children to one adult means we can’t give each individual as much time for their personal development. We won’t be changing to the new ratios if they come in.”

If more than 10,000 people sign the petition, the Government must comment on the issue, and if more than 100,000 people sign it, the petition will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.

To find out more about the campaign, to print off a petition or sign the e-petition visit