Nursery chief says a child will die under new government reform plans

The head of a leading UK childcare group has slammed government plans to relax care ratios for nurseries and childminders and predicts a child will die as a result.
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* Asquith Nurseries
* Ratio
* Childcare
* Reforms

* Education
* Family

* Chesham - Buckinghamshire - England

Feb. 5, 2013 - PRLog -- Andy Morris, CEO at Asquith Day Nurseries, who run seventy nine nurseries across the UK, said: "This proposal to increase the number of babies and children that can be looked after by a single carer is seriously flawed – and it seems there will need to be a tragedy before it will be reviewed. To me this ill-conceived scheme is more about buying the government votes than it is about properly caring for the nation’s children."

He added: "Liz Truss, the children’s minister, talks about the need to improve quality in the sector – but the death of a child will not be a price worth paying for cost savings."

Under new plans one nursery worker will be permitted to care for four babies rather than three; four one-year olds rather than three and six two year olds rather than four.

The minister also wants carers to teach reading and maths. Under a new Early Years Educator (EYE) qualification, students who want to work in the sector will need at least a grade C in GCSE maths and English before they can start the new course.

But Morris, whose company has just launched a new ‘nanny/nursery combined’ project in London says: "As one of the country’s leading independent childcare providers we are already fully committed to an education programme for our 2,800 staff.

We are not babysitters, we are early years educators – but having fewer staff look after more children neither enhances safety nor allows the child to reach its full potential."

The government reforms are partly modelled on nursery provision in countries like France and Denmark where staff are better qualified. But Morris says: "People talk about the Danish childcare model but the Danes pay much higher tax rates than we do here.

People say childcare is expensive. But what price do you put on a child’s safety, well-being and early years development? Parents with children at a premium day nursery are getting high quality care in a safe and secure environment, educational development from qualified staff and excellent nutrition."

"We’ve just spent £15 million in three years refitting nurseries, gardens and our ICT set-up. We, and many other nursery groups like us in the UK, offer an excellent service for what we charge."
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