Changes in ratios-are we overreacting?
Changes in ratios-are we overreacting?
by: Cham Chick - 29-01-13 18:31
When I was speaking to my partner about how I was concerned about how the changes would affect the quality in my work place, he replied that I was being very negative as parents cannot afford to go back to work as things currently stand and that all workplaces experience change and as there is nothing I could do about it surely increased pay and better qualified staff was a good thing????
Surely if the government wants ratios to fall in line with Europe, then expectations about what nurseries do need to change, for example are we caring for children whilst parents work?-which can be done with less staff although the safety aspect in my opinion is compromised. Or are we educating and getting "school ready" as required by Ofsted under the current EYFS! -which surely cannot be sustained under the proposed change. How is early intervention managed with less staff? How is quality childcare maintained?
Im struggling to be positive. Are we just bad at excepting change? Are we overacting? Or will this have a huge impact on child care and quality and expectations?
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 29-01-13 19:32
by: 'Old' Louise
As with most things I suspect the 'devil will be in the detail', eg, what constitutes 'better qualified'.
However, at this point I am struggling to work out how a good GCSE in maths and English would enable me (or anyone) to change, feed and interact with 4 babies in a better quality manner than I can do with 3.
As for poorer quality care in disadvantaged areas being improved (which I understand is part of the 'advantage') improved training and staff quality would certainly beneft. However, given that many of the children in these areas have development levels below expected norms, making them one of a bigger ratio crowd in a nursery environment seems to defeat the object.
As for cost to parents being reduced - dream on. If you want to attract higher skill and qualification or develop existing staff, the higher ratios will be offset by the increased salary required to attract or retain the staff.
As for increasing 'supply' of places, I am eagerly waiting for the Government to magically increase the size of settings so that we are not restricted by required floor area when staff can care for so many more children. Oops, perhaps the children could be required to just stand up thereby using less space - or perhaps they will fund us to build another floor!!!
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 29-01-13 20:08
by: Kandy Flip
Louise sums it up perfectly, I think.
Thses changes in ratio are supposed to lead to lower childcare costs for parents AND better paid staff.
I think the government is trying to pull wool over our eyes.
(I wonder what Early Years Educator magazine thinks of the EY Educator name being used).
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 29-01-13 22:40
by: Tiggy D
I wouldn't spend several years training to do a harder job for the same money.There is a thread on Mumsnet right now where everybody agrees that it's bad idea. (Possibly the first time ever everybody has agreed on anything). All the parents say you can't look after 4 babies properly. It does lead me to wonder how nurseries are going to bring it in. To tell all your parents your ratios are going to be worse will really piss them off. I wouldn't want to be the first nursery to do it.Liz Truss has said Bright Horizons and Busy Bees are with her but Kids Unlimited have said they have no plans to make their nurseries worse at the moment. (My words!)
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 29-01-13 22:44
by: Tiggy D
Just found another quote from a KU person saying they welcome the ratio changes. Their policy might have changed at some point during the day.
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 30-01-13 08:46
Nursery Chains would welcome the change in ratios...they see it as a way to have less staff more children...more money...but since one member of staff could not manage to change,or feed,or comfort 4 babies at once it is unworkable....a mother of quads never does it on her own.Lets have some common sense here...I will not change my ratios...it is optional....
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 30-01-13 09:32
We run on current legal ratios with the Manager supernummary however were critised by Cheshire East for running on skeleton staff! I would definately not change to new ratio's and would then be complimented by Cheshire East or pigs might fly....
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 30-01-13 14:55
by: Christine Trenholm
I suspect, like everything else, this comes down to money. The Government have promised to fund 2 year olds and now realise just how much that might mean. If they tell us all we can look after more children per member of staff, they can set the funding levels accordingly. The only people who will suffer are the settings who try in vain to maintain their staffing levels as the funding will not cover their costs.
One of my biggest concerns with this whole ethos is what has happened to the care of these very young children. Whilst I am sure we all want to offer high quality and a good early education, it is only a small amount of what very young children need. They need attention, love, cuddles, communication, their physical needs for food, clean clothing and changing to be met. Until all these needs are met, no development will take place even if it is delivered by a Professor never mind an Early Years Educator. Do we really want to put our most vulnerable little people into institutions where they become just one of a crowd. I thought it had been shown again and again that we should look at raising the age our children start school, not be lowering it to include even the toddlers.
I feel totally dismayed by these announcements and have never feared more for the sector.
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 30-01-13 15:42
as Nursery owner ...I totally agree xx
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 30-01-13 19:36
How any member of staff regardless of qualification can be expected to be responsible for 4 babies is beyond me. The area in which I work most of the baby rooms are on the top floor of a converted house (not mine, were one level) how any one person can be expected to safely get the babies down to the garden for outdoor play or an evacuation is beyond me, there's hard work but four....FOUR!!!!!!!! Also paperwork... Already there's so much paperwork that goes with early years, by reducing the amount of staff we would only be doubling on paperwork on another person, when are they meant to find the time to do anything?!?!?! Childcare is already a highly demanding job, which I feel that if you have never tried it you just don't undertsand! It's not like an office where at 5pm you switch off that computer and tootle on home. Children need to feel loved, secure, and safe, not made to feel second best which in my eyes will happen. We won't have the resources and time to support their further development. We will all be too busy trying to support the child who has had a toilet accident, whilst trying to encourage the two in corner to share the dinosaur, during this time trying to fit a nappy run in!! Sorry for the jibberish rant, I just really needed to off load...x
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 30-01-13 22:24
Totally understand..we were thinking of babies in the future,but always said that 2 are needed with 3 babies...which is what i would advocate at my nursery not 1-4.....2-3 is manageable at a stretch....
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 01-02-13 15:33
nursery chains will be rolling in it!
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 02-02-13 16:10
I agree more childcare places are needed. Maybe instead of spending thousands of pounds changing the EYFS,( yet again) this money could have been spent on saving some nurseries. Instead they have changed the staff/child ratio, which in my eyes is mad. As for qualifications I agree in a good standard of English, but i think maths is irrelevant. Bring back the NNEB and as for a pay increase well that's just a joke. We do one of the most stressfull and caring jobs around but get paid less by the hour than a cleaner!
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 02-02-13 18:38
As someone who works for a small nursery chain currently looking to expand I fear that the owners will welcome such a change and will not listen to our fears about unsafe and impractical practice, I fear for the safety of the little ones! To quote a friend "I gained a degree, not an extra set of arms and eyes"
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 03-02-13 13:23
by: kaz (the first one!)
Many nursery staff already complain about rations, being left with too many babies as they have correct ratios but the other staff is busy with paperwork, although within distance of babies. Nurseries who do this have just been given the go-ahead to expolit this already bad practice.
It is however up to parents to choose a nursery and hopefully since this change is quite high profile, parents will ask what ratios a setting uses beofre committing. Those who cannot afford to choose and will use the higher ratio nurseries only have themselves to blame!
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 03-02-13 14:36
by: 'Old' Louise
Sadly, if this becomes embedded as an acceptable standard a few things may possibly happen over time:
One, society and parents in general will come to accept that this is considered appropriate - as it is supported by the national regulations.
Two, settings will come under increasing financial pressure if their competitors are saving money by implementing the new ratios. They may be faced with change or fold whether they agree with it or not - what a choice to face!
Standards may indeed slip with an increase in poor Ofsted outcomes, accidents etc, rubbing the reputation of the sector in the mire.
We have to accept that there is an outside chance that the sky will not fall under the new rules - but who on earth wants to be part of this experiment???
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 03-02-13 18:33
by: Laura Henry
Loads... of reaction on Nursery World's LinkedIN page & comments on Twitter & Facebook…
Really important that we respond to the consultation, share with parents, colleagues and staff.
On Twitter on Tuesday evening, via #EYTalking, as suggested by a colleague called Simona, we will be discussing #EYFSHighQualityPolicy - Solutions and ideas for the sector by the sector.
Join in between 8:00pm - 9:00pm connect and shar
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 03-02-13 23:45
Very valid points Louise. I have seen many changes in my time as nursery owner, mostly for the good. This, though is a change that is good for nobody involved, not good for staff, parents, owners and more importanly children. I have always maintained that government sees childcare/education as a political matter only.
In line with your view above, I am concerned because the nursery which used to be my sole competition but went out of business 18 months ago, has recently been purchased by a nursery chain. I can see what is going to happen. Hopefully though, it will actually work in my favour as some new parents will opt to come to me as I will keep the original ratios. My prime reason for keeeping ratios as thay are is fear of accidents occurring due to reduced staff to children numbers, resulting in potential lawsuits.
I may well have to cut costs to accommodate this. There is only one possible cost that I can cut - I will have to stop paying myself and once again work for free (I did this for around 18 months when I first bought my nursery.) I am lucky in that between us, my husband and I have other businesses but not all nursery owners have this back-up. So, once again the biggest looser is the private nursery owner :-(
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 04-02-13 22:06
Depends whether you are an owner who thinks they will be quids in or are genuinely concerned about how this will affect the children who need the care, love and affection to be able to be ready to learn. Also how is this going to affect childcare practitioners own well-being who already take on an emotionally draining but rewarding career. Will it continue to be as rewarding? An institutionalised society will not provide the creative individuals of the future which is what quality childcare is currently engaged in promoting. Why not have early years bootcamp.
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 05-02-13 20:27
by: Tiggy D
Isn't it kind of like the situation with 3+ year olds where you can have a ratio of 1:13 if you have a teacher?
RE: Changes in ratios-are we overreacting? - 05-02-13 20:37
I think that will be the next lot of red tape...a QTS in every nursery setting much like EYPS....and that fizzled out since no-one could afford to pay their wages....
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