The government’s proposal to increase childcare ratios to allow one member of staff to look after up to 30 children beggars belief. While the current Ofsted requirements for after school provision aren’t appropriate and could do with tweaking – providers are expected to offer learning and development for younger children the same as in a nursery during term time – the plans are rightly attracting much criticism.
Even in a school environment most teachers have the assistance of non-teaching staff to provide additional support in the classroom.
Children attending after school and holiday provision should be given more freedom to express play but the safety of children is paramount.
The removal of the current ratio of 1:8 to ‘sufficient numbers of staff at the providers discretion’ will not reduce cost but simply dilute the quality of care.
A rethink on these proposals is needed and the views of sector experts and professionals should be listened to. 17 February 2014