The Department for Education (DfE) have published their response to the consultation on potential changes to staff:child ratios. The consultation received responses from nearly 10,000 parents, around 3,000 providers from across the sector, virtually all local authorities and many charities and sector organisations.
The document acknowledges that there was overwhelming opposition to the proposal to change the staff:child ratios for 2-year-olds from 1:4 to 1:5, but have opted to go ahead anyway. Similarly, they have decided to go ahead with “clarifications” that provide childminders greater flexibility on ratios when caring for siblings or their own children, despite the majority of respondents opposing this.
The DfE states:
The proposed changes to ratios would continue to be a statutory minimum requirement for settings, and there will be no obligation on providers to operate at the statutory minimums – i.e. providers can continue to work to tighter ratios if they decide that is best for the children and staff at their setting. The Government trusts that setting managers know their children and their staff best, and fully supports the judgement of setting managers and practitioners to work at the ratios that are right for the individual needs of their staff and children.