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Nick Clegg has expressed his doubts over the Government’s plans to change childcare ratios.
The Deputy Prime Minister has told colleagues he “remains to be persuaded” about the proposal, 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.
His comments have been welcomed by the Pre-School Learning Alliance, which has been campaigning against the reforms since January.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, said: “We greatly welcome Nick Clegg’s comment that he ‘remains to be persuaded’ about childcare ratio changes as we have been campaigning against these ridiculous changes ever since they were proposed by the Government back in January.
“Thousands of parents and practitioners, as well as some of the country’s leading early years academics, are against these changes, which will lower the overall quality of childcare in this country.
“We trust the Deputy Prime Minister will listen to what parents and the sector have to say about these proposals, which we believe are a huge mistake.”
The Pre-School Learning Alliance is collecting signatures as part of its ‘Rewind on Ratios’ campaign, which is being backed by deputy leader of the Labour party Harriet Harman, Mumsnet, Asquith Day Nurseries and Netmums. Mr Leitch has written to the Government calling for a detailed response to the e-petition, which has been signed by more than 16,000 people.
Catherine Farrell, joint chief executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), has also welcomed Nick Clegg’s concern over changes to childcare ratios. She said: “It’s great to see that at long last some parts of Government are finally listening to the legitimate concerns of parents and childcare professionals.
“Members of PACEY – childminders, nannies and nursery workers – have continually voiced concerns that changing ratios will damage the quality of care children receive, regardless of the qualification level of staff. In simple terms, the more children you have to look after the less individual attention you can give them.”
To find out more about the Pre-School Learning Alliance’s campaign, visit www.rewindonratios.com.
To have your say on this controversial issue, go to www.daynurseries.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/18/debate-would-cutting-staff-ratios-reduce-the-quality-of-care-in-nurseries