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Mumsnet backs Pre-School Learning Alliance campaign against childcare ratio changes

Date of article: 29-Apr-13

Article By: Laura McCardle, News Editor

Mumsnet, the UK’s biggest network for parents, is supporting a campaign by the Pre-School Learning Alliance against proposed changes to childcare ratios.

‘Rewind on Ratios’ calls for the Government to scrap its plans to change childcare ratios, which will see the limit on the number of children practitioners can look after, rise from four to six and for the limit on caring for babies aged one and under increase from three to four. The campaign also calls for the Government to put future proposals out to consultation so parents and practitioners can have an input.

Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet, said: “There is a lot of concern amongst Mumsnet users about the Government’s plans to relax childcare ratios – four babies under the age of one seems like a lot for even the most experienced childcare worker to manage.

“When we surveyed our members about the cost of childcare only five per cent of parents supported ratio relaxation, even when it meant lower costs.

“We really do think the Government needs to rethink its plans.”

Nigel Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, said: “We are delighted that Mumsnet is supporting our campaign against ratio changes. As the UK’s largest network for parents, Mumsnet is a truly representative voice for the parents of this country.

“We at the Alliance believe that parents are their children’s first and most important educators and so it is vital that their views are heard on this crucial issue.

“The Government claims that relaxing childcare ratios will give parents more choice and ‘allow them to give their children the best start in life’. If this is the case, why are so many parents so strongly opposed to the proposals?

“Parents recognise that these plans will lead to a substantial decline in the quality of childcare and will put their children’s safety at risk. It is time the Government listened to their concerns.”

Netmums is also supporting the Pre-School Learning Alliance’s ‘Rewind on Ratios’ campaign.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of the site, said: “Changing the childcare ratio has united feeling on the Netmums forums and both parents and child carers are against it.

“All the evidence shows young children thrive best on one-to-one care so to suggest one person, however qualified, can adequately care for four babies or six toddlers at once as the new rations allow is nonsense.

“There is a perception childcare is child’s play but this is wrong. It is difficult work requiring patience, empathy, a caring personality and the ability to teach but on Netmums we’ve heard from hundreds of excellent nursery workers who are considering leaving a job they love if the new ratios are implemented as they feel they will struggle to provide a high enough standard of care.”

Read what Stephen Twigg, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, and Elizabeth Truss, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare, think about the changes in our debate and vote in our poll, visit

To find out more about the Pre-School Learning Alliance's campaign, visit

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