Hampshire Nurseries hit out at childcare rule changes

NURSERY From left, Kimberly Fellows, room leader Nicky Brown  and Zarna Richards at Little Learners Day Care in Fratton
NURSERY From left, Kimberly Fellows, room leader Nicky Brown and Zarna Richards at Little Learners Day Care in Fratton
From left, Paul Stanley, Jo Crisp, George Heasman, Mercedes Bevan, Luke Galea and Bethany Bevan from Highbury College

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NURSERY staff say they are worried about the government’s proposed changes to childcare.

A report released yesterday outlined plans to allow a higher ratio of children per adult at nurseries where staff have taken more rigorous and demanding qualifications.

But Vicky George, manager of Little Learners Day Care in Fratton, said she doesn’t welcome the changes.

‘We don’t think it will work and it won’t benefit the nursery because of the quality of care that the children will get,’ she said.

‘If we have got fewer staff we can’t give the children the attention that they need.

‘For parents it won’t be that much cheaper because if we have got highly-qualified staff they are going to want the wages.’

Sally Robinson, owner of Turtles Day Nursery in Hilsea, said: ‘For me, if we have a higher ratio that would have to be more highly-qualified staff so the payments won’t go down, they will go up because we have to pay the staff more.

‘It’s cheaper for us to have a certain number of trainees because it evens out the books.

‘I think in reality it’s hard work, with the babies especially.

‘If a baby is unwell or needs an extra cuddle they can be a bit demanding.

‘It’s worth doing pilot trials for it – however parents choose nurseries because there’s enough staff there to meet the care of the children.’

Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, said: ‘It is right that the government does everything it can to ensure the provision delivering early education is of the highest quality, staff are paid better, and childcare is affordable to parents.

‘Our proposals for overhauling childcare qualifications, having early years teachers, and childminding agencies, underpinned by a robust inspection regime, will provide this.

‘At the moment, many nursery and private, voluntary and independent settings do not use full ratios.

‘We think teacher-led settings with full ratios and structured activities are a good thing.

‘Ofsted will favour this too. We do not mean to stipulate how all settings should behave, but we want parents to have the choice.’