Childcare Reforms Welcomed by Cornish Firm
The changes to childcare announced by the Government this morning have been broadly welcomed by a leading childcare provider in Cornwall.
Elizabeth Truss, the early years minister, is to propose that childminders should be allowed to look after four children from the ages of one to five inclusive. They are currently restricted to looking after three children per staff member.
They would also be permitted to look after two children under one year of age, instead of the current one.
Sharon Cowburn managing director of Flying Start Ltd, which runs nine childcare facilities in Cornwall and Devon, said: "As we are already seeing the beginning of an influx of two-year-olds, we would hope that a change in ratios would give us the flexibility to use our professional judgement over ratios with well-qualified, experienced staff.
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"For example, when we are experiencing high levels of staff sickness and a member of staff is a graduate early years professional who has worked for us for 20 years it would be a relief to allow her to look after more children.
"The last thing we would want this news to do is to shake parents' trust in the standard of care that would be offered."
The Government said the proposals were dependent on staff possessing higher qualifications, including Grade C GCSE maths and English.
Mrs Cowburn said all Flying Start staff already had good English and Maths GCSEs as part of the company's entry criteria.
She said whilst better qualified staff should be paid more, increasing ratios should reduce parental bills. But she added this would lead to job losses in the wider industry unless there was an increase in the numbers of children in nursery. Mrs Cowburn said funding for a wide range of two-year-olds was available now and will increase in April.