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Pre-School Learning Alliance urges people to sign Government e-petition against childcare ratio changes

Article By: Sue Learner, News Editor

The is urging people to sign its petition on the Government’s e-petition website, which calls on the Government to scrap its plans on childcare ratio changes.

Nearly 3,000 people have already signed the petition, which also calls for a proper consultation with early years practitioners and parents.

The e-petition has been launched as part of the Alliance’s Rewind on Ratios campaign. Government e-petition rules state that once the Alliance’s petition for parents reaches 10,000 signatures, the Government must provide a response. If it reaches 100,000 signatures, the issue will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.

The Alliance held a paper-based petition for parents last month, which received more than 14,000 signatures. It filed the Government e-petition against the proposals in response to numerous parent requests for an official online petition.

Under the proposed changes, staff at day nurseries and pre-schools will be allowed to care for four babies instead of three and six two-year-old children instead of four. Childminders could also be expected to care for four children instead of three under the age of five and two babies instead of one under the age of 12 months.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, called the proposed ratio changes “a huge mistake” and said: “They will create a two-tier sector that will lower the overall quality of childcare provision, children will have less one-to-one support from childcare workers and children’s wellbeing could be put at risk.

“Parents share our concerns and so the Alliance’s Rewind on Ratios campaign calls for the Government to reconsider its plans and listen to the views of parents and practitioners who do not want the ratios to be relaxed. The Government has argued that these changes are in the best interest of parents, but parents themselves have made it abundantly clear to us that while they would like cheaper childcare, the cost of reducing quality and jeopardising the safety of their children is a much higher price than they would be prepared to pay.”

He added: “More than 14,000 parents have already signed up to our paper-based petition against the changes, with 11,000 signing in the first 48 hours alone. We know that building the accompanying online petition is likely to be a longer process, but we are in this fight for the long-haul.”

Since the childcare reforms announcement by Childcare Minister Elizabeth Truss at the end of January, a number of petitions have been held but the Pre-School Learning Alliance said that it is important that people sign their one as it is the only one that can make the Government take action.

“It's time to take our campaign to the next level and ensure Government listens to the widespread concerns about its ill-thought-out proposals,” said Mr Leitch.

To sign the e-petition, go to


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