Engage in Staff-Child nursery Ratio Consultation

November 11th 2022

Calling ALL Parents, Colleagues and People Who Want THE Very Best for Children: Please Read. We must stop the proposed changes to staff-child ratios!

In July I wrote a blog calling parents, staff and colleagues to get their heads around the ratio debate and understand why reducing ratios are bad for children, bad for staff and will not reduce fees to parents.

Why is ratio change a bad idea?

The main reason for this change is to reduce the cost of childcare to parents. HOWEVER, there is NO (and I repeat, no) evidence that increasing the number of children will have any impact on the cost of childcare.  How could there be when we are already losing an average of £1.07 per hour per child, and 64% are operating at a loss. In fact, the research from the Early Years Alliance said 78% of nurseries would not increase their fees this year or limit the increase, if the funding offered by the government actually covered costs. So, what actually would help parental fees, is an increase in funding.  In fact, I cannot think of many winners of ratio changes, except maybe the odd shareholder and director.

What about the DfE consultation on ratios?

We were offered a consultation which the DfE said had a big response. I suspect there is little in the findings which we have yet to see that suggests there is a change of heart since the survey released in May 2022 by the Early Years Alliance revealed around nine in 10 nurseries and pre-schools in England are opposed to the Government plans to relax childcare ratios, with just 2% indicating that changes to ratio rules would result in them lowering fees for parents.

Since then the sector has continued to rally and colleagues especially the Oliver Steeper Foundation are to be commended for leading a petition to get the subject raised in parliament. Parents especially those urged on Pregnant and Screwed have all condemned this as an unworkable idea.

I thought with the political demise of Liz Truss we would see the end to this debate, after all it was very much her deregulation approach that kept it on the table. But no, our rich Chancellor thinks it’s a good idea and it remains on the agenda.

So, don’t take your finger off the pulse here. Share with your parents and staff.  Write to your MP and get them to respond in Parliament, There we will be an election soon enough and we have long memories!

What time is the parliamentary debate on staff-child ratios in nursery settings?

Monday 14th November 4;30pm – details on how to follow can be found here.

Tweet, Shout out, Share #saveourratios

Here are 8 key questions to consider:

  1. Why push a policy that effectively puts more pressure on a staff who are leaving the sector in droves because of low salaries and low status?
  2. Why put more pressure on staff who are responding to the developmental needs of post pandemic children?
  3. Why make changes to a situation where children will get reduced attention and pedagogical input which will have a negative impact on their school success.
  4. Why would we think it’s ok to put our children into crowded nurseries? How is that good for their wellbeing and safety?
  5. How will we change nappies and spend time on intimate activities, talking to the child and having a little singing game when we are trying to keep our eyes in the back of our heads to make sure 5 other toddlers are safe?
  6. Why vote for a two-tier system where bigger nurseries with economies of scale may be able to keep ratios higher and poorer nurseries have to reduce ratios and decrease the quality. I fear poorer children will lose out even though they are the ones who can least afford this.
  7. Why jeopardise those children already facing disadvantage such as those two-year olds coming through the Two Year Old Programme who have language and behavioural issues and need additional care and attention?
  8. Do you want to endorse a policy that has minimal cost benefits but maximum detriment to our youngest children?