Child welfare under threat: take action now
I have personally been involved in childcare for almost 30 years as a childminder, an early years tutor, local authority early years staff, a playgroup committee member and a volunteer for both the Pre-school Learning Alliance and the National Childminding Association.
I have worked directly with hundreds of children over the years as a childminder and supported thousands more children through training and advising colleagues in all types of early years settings.
During this time period there have been many changes in the world around us, but one thing has not changed and that is the adult to child ratios in early years settings. This is for good reason, as high adult to child ratios enable adults to form strong relationships with the children and provide opportunities for quality interaction, which are crucial for their well-being and development
I am immensely proud of the fact that in this country we have provided children with such high quality care and education over many years.
However, it is expected that the government will shortly announce plans to increase the number of children that an individual adult can look after both in childminding and group care settings. Although details are not yet known, newspaper reports suggest that this could almost double the number of children currently allowed. Whatever the actual details are, any increase in the numbers of children each adult can care for, could lead to some childcare providers taking on more children without increasing the number of adults caring for the children, or some keeping the same number of children as now but reducing the number of adults caring for the children.
Recent research revealed that the majority of my colleagues in the childcare sector believe that this move would undermine the quality of child care - without reducing the cost to parents.
I, like many of my colleagues, are parents and grandparents - we understand concerns about child care costs and would welcome the opportunity to open up dialogue with government about how we can address this.
Keeping children safe, providing food, toys, equipment, crafts and outings is expensive for both parents and childcare settings, but the answer to reducing childcare costs is not for chid carers to look after more children as this will have an incredibly damaging impact on the thing that matters most - the quality of care of our children.
Please join the campaign and sign the petition - Our message is simple - keep ratios as they are.
Penny Webb started this petition with a single signature, and won with 29,065 supporters. Start a petition to change something you care about.