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News - 4 February 2013

Nursery ratios to be raised to cut childcare costs

Nurseries and childminders in England are to be allowed to look after more children per adult in an attempt to cut childcare costs and boost standards.

But Children's Minister Liz Truss says this will only happen if the carers' qualifications meet new standards.

Critics warn the change in ratios could compromise quality and safety. They also predict the changes will be unpopular with parents and unlikely to reduce the overall costs of childcare.

Britain has some of the highest childcare costs in the world, with many mothers with two or more children saying it does not make financial sense to work. A report by Ms Truss suggested the average family spends 27% of their income on childcare.

Ms Truss told the BBC, "It will make it higher quality, more available and more affordable. It will take time to recruit new people and expand nurseries. In the long term it will be more affordable."

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said the plans to increase the ratios would undermine the quality of childcare in the UK.
"I think this is one area where we've actually got something to teach other countries.”

National Day Nurseries Association chief executive Purnima Tanuku welcomed the commitment made by the government to improve childcare but said the "quality of childcare and early education must not be sacrificed".

Lavinia Newman of ABDS comments:
"Government's plans to improve the quality and qualifications of staff are very welcome, but the welfare of the children must be our first concern.”

England's nursery ratios

• Under one and one-year-olds - 1:3
• Two-year-olds - 1:4
• Three-year-olds and above - 1:8 or 1:13 (teacher-led)
• Under one and one-year-olds 1:4
• Two-year-olds - 1:6
• Three-year-olds and above - 1:8 or 1:13 (teacher-led)

If you need any help and advice on Nursery Schools or Care Homes, contact Peter Ham, Lavinia Newman, Stuart Coleman or Tonmoy Kumar to discuss how ABDS can help

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
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