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NEWS: Government hints at changes to ratio requirements in England

This week we have seen a number of media reports about the Government’s plan to look at easing early years and childcare regulations (including potentially changing childcare ratios) to reduce costs for families.  

The Children and Families Minister, Will Quince MP spoke on Twitter to confirm that the Department for Education (DfE) will be looking at systems in France, the Netherlands, Scotland and Sweden which have different ratios requirements to England.  

PACEY is already in discussions with DfE and Ofsted around measures to improve the accessibility and affordability of childcare and early education for parents. We are keen to ensure whatever the final proposals are that they also reduce pressures on the workforce and tackle the ongoing decline in the number of people joining the sector. We have shared our concerns around the challenges that any change to ratios would present for settings, including registered childminders.  

We also want to assure our members that any changes to regulations would be subject to a formal DfE consultation. As always, we will ensure that you are kept up-to-date on the DfE’s progress and we will provide the opportunity to share your experiences and views in any definitive proposals.  

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:  

“As we did the last time this was proposed, PACEY is making clear to Government that changing ratio requirements would do nothing to improve the quality, accessibility or affordability of childcare and early education for families.  

“Understandably these proposals have caused significant concern among our members, many of whom already work below ratios to ensure the safest and best quality learning experience for children, particularly for those most affected by the pandemic.  

“Instead we are urging DfE to look more strategically into areas where they can ease pressure on our already-depleting workforce who face the strain of increased living costs just like parents. We have suggested short-term measures that would make tangible difference, such as reversing the illogical rule that prevents childminders from claiming entitlement funding for related children and easing the limits on childminder assistants working alone with children.”