Increasing Nursery Ratios is a Disaster for Good Childcare

So the government, with their infinite wisdom, have decided that the way to improve childcare is to increase nursery ratios.

The ratio for under ones will increase from 3:1 to 4:1 and the ratio for two year olds from 4:1 to 6:1.

As someone who has worked in a nursery, if I were a parent this would concern me greatly. The government seem to think that if the staff member has more qualifications that they are capable of looking after more children. When you’re looking after children this young it’s hands that matter, and a ‘highly qualified’ member of staff still has only one pair of hands like the rest of us.

The pay off for working in a nursery, which is often very low paid and thankless is the interaction with children. The bond you make and the chance you have to interact with children is what makes it all worthwhile. The job with these ratio changes will become one long feeding and changing session.

I think these ratio changes are a big mistake and could result in really poor childcare. If you have two members of staff looking after twelve two year olds it’s inevitable that one person will be left in charge of eleven children for big periods of the day as a whole. It takes a good five minutes to; leave a room, wash hands, change nappy, wash hands, return to room. With 12 children you need to do this multiple times a day.

I also cannot see the logic in how this will make childcare cheaper, instead of paying three people minimum wage to look after twelve children you will be paying two people a premium wage to do the same job. Also, who will want to become highly qualified to change nappies and do endless rounds of feeding?

Perhaps I’m missing something but I just can’t see the sense in this at all.

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5 Responses to Increasing Nursery Ratios is a Disaster for Good Childcare

  1. It makes no sense whatsoever. The only thing it will do is provide some other way for the government to make more cuts to the detriment of families and children.

  2. SusanEardley says:

    I totally agree with all you say. There is no way that increasing the number of children that a person can look after will reduce the costs. Best case it will result in more qualified staff, which of course I’m all for, but worst case, profit driven private nurseries will see it as they’re opportunity to reduce staff and make more money. I for one would not be happy in a 4:1 ratio for my baby!

    • Erica says:

      It’s a real worry, and yes private nurseries will just use it as a way to maximise capacity and minimise staff costs.

  3. Alex says:

    Our Australian government has gone the other way and is currently decreasing ratios of carers to children. While brilliant for the standard of care for our kids, it has unfortunately caused significant price increases and decreased availability of places for children which now need to be addressed.

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