Recent Government proposals have suggested an increase in adult-to-child ratios, triggering a petition against the plans to reduce adult supervision in early-years childcare. It amassed more than 109,000 signatures of support and the issue was debated in Westminster Hall.
Among MPs attending was the Member of Parliament for Winchester and Chandler's Ford, Steve Brine MP, who is also the Chair of the All-Party group for Childcare and Early Education. The MP made it clear from the start of his speech that an increase in ratios would have an adverse effect on children, settings and the sector as a whole.
Stating that "early years settings have expressed concerns to me, and to those of us on the all-party group, that the relaxation of staffing ratios raises the risk of accidents for young children due to fewer staff needing to provide the same quality of care to a greater number of children."
Mr Brine touched specifically on SEND children and how he sees the proposals could "reduce the capacity and parental confidence even further".
He continued his speech; "On Saturday I was out in my constituency, talking to constituents. I spoke to a lady in Winchester who said that she was very worried about the nursery round the corner—I will not identify it, for obvious reasons—because it is losing the key worker who looks after her young daughter. It is really disruptive for her young daughter, and she is very worried about it. The nursery is losing that key worker because she is going to work in an office job, as she can get paid better and probably have a lot less stress. This is the reality of life."
Steve finished his remarks saying; "we do not need a change in ratios. We need a wholesale, fact-based review of childcare and early education that focuses on the workforce, parents and, ultimately—the most important stakeholder—children. Our children deserve nothing less."