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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.
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?
"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."