Proposed changes to childcare ratios - Does this make childcare more affordable or increase the risk of accidents?
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The Department of Education has announced plans to change childcare in the UK. The aim is to make childcare more affordable and improve the quality of early years educators.
Having four children myself (albeit 3 are grown and have flown the nest) I empathise with this dilemma. It is a fact of life that it is a luxury today for women (or men for that matter) to stay at home and look after the children.
The cost of living and unstable job market effectively means that it is all hands on deck. I don't necessarily think it is a case of "wanting it all".
Recommended changes will not come into effect until Consultations have taken place. Some of the recommendations involve (but the list is far from exhaustive):
-- Where there is an early years educator working with children the plans are to raise the current ratio of 4 x two year olds : 1 adult to 6 per adult. Interestingly the Netherlands and Ireland already allow 6 per adult and France allows 8. Other European countries have no legal limit;
-- Raising the current ratio for ones and under from 3 children per adult to 4.
Home based childcare would also be amended:
-- Raising the current ration of 3 under fives to 4;
-- Raising the current ration of 1 under one to 2;
-- The total number of children permitted to be cared for at any one time would remain at 6.
Childcare qualifications are also to be more demanding.
Clearly this is going to be a controversial subject. A balance needs to be struck between the availability of affordable childcare and, without doubt, our children's safety. I do believe that we are behind our neighbouring countries in providing a decent, affordable, childcare system and that something needs to be done. I am sure that there will be a huge response to Consultations and will be interested to see how it all pans out.
Of course, I'm not sure how we police the unofficial childminders out there....
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