Sector leaders vow to oppose relaxation of childcare ratios

Early years leaders have hit out at rumoured government plans to relax childcare ratios. According to the Telegraph, ministers are looking at implementing changes allowing each childminder to look after more toddlers at one time. Current guidance states that “a childminder may care for a maximum of six children under the age of eight. Of these six children, a maximum of three may be young children and there should only be one child under the age of one”. A child is classed as a “young child” until 1 September following their fifth birthday.

However, under new proposals, one childminder could supervise five children classed as “young children” rather than just three in a bid to make childcare cheaper for working parents struggling to keep up with current costs, according to the newspaper. The Department for Education said that any changes would be subject to a public consultation and added that “the number of childcare places offered by providers remains stable”. Sector leaders have said they will “fully oppose” any attempts to change ratios following a similar failed move by David Cameron, under the coalition government in 2013. Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said: “Let’s be clear: if the government does attempt to relax ratios, it won’t be because they want to help providers or parents. It will because ministers see doing so as a shortcut to fixing the childcare crisis that they created without having to actually invest in the early years sector. Read more.