Thursday, 9 May 2013

Child care must be affordable and for the kids

This morning it is hitting the news that Nick Clegg is opposing or Not convinced by the Government's
proposals to adjust the ratios of Children to staff in nurseries across the country.

The ratio will be increased to 1:4 (from 1:3) for babies and up to 1:6 for two year olds.

There are some concerns that your child will not necessarily get the attention they may need. Two year olds are exceptionally boisterous and into everything - which I am finding out for myself - and I have trouble keeping up with one let alone six! The level of quality can be much depleted.

Through in a child like mine, who has a certain amount of special needs and you are losing even more time. Due to Sophie's condition she does require phsyio and attention for her leg splints and boots. Her walking and running can be very dicey and if there is a fire alarm she needs to be carried out - this can take up a lot of time for a member of staff and we're more than fortunate that her nursery has some really good staff. However in a room where the girl has another five other children in need of attention things will become stretched.

I'm aware that the Ministers announced that the increased ratio is similar to Germany and less than France but let us not be hasty and rush into this - let us listen to parents and staff alike and progress at a reasonable rate and get this right. You cannot make rushed mistakes with Children's futures or education.

Children respond best with stimulation and as much contact as possible, by raising the ratio you are taking some of that time away from them.

Nick was quoted in the Guardian as saying;

It is not a great ideological thing, it is about getting it right for parents up and down the country. When the last government changed the so-called ratios for three- and four-year-olds, it had almost no effect in reducing the costs for parents whatsoever, so you do need to be led by the evidence and that is what I will continue to be in the debate

I would challenge you to spend a morning look after six two-year-olds

As I said recently, the Cuts are now going to impact my family in Gillingham with the rising of nursery costs on the one hand for parents and the slim lining of Surestart centres and nurseries who are asking staff to reapply for their jobs and taking voluntary redundancy.

The ratio of staff and thus the care and attention that a child needs are being cut and we - the already stretched taxpaying parents are being asked to pay more for less.

There is also the somewhat nonsensical approach that is seeing parents priced out of putting their young ones into day care so that they can go to work as the second income is barley covering the costs - it becomes more cost efficient for one parent to give up work completely and stay with the kids at home!

There are some serious (LibDem) boons that are helping working families like mine, the cut in Income tax means that my wife's income is now completely tax free, the free nursery placements for three year olds will help during term time too but until then we're quite stuck and so are many other families.
Many of the mothers that my wife knows through Sophie's friends have all expressed concern about the rising prices and are not in a position to pay it. My Sister's sister in law found that she had to give up work to look after her young children and my sister is looking at the same scenario.

David Cameron ran under the banner of making things fairer for families and working people and yet these reforms are getting kicked in the wallets and our children are being made to suffer in these reforms. Having a family, even the average of 2.4 kids, is now a hinderance and it feels like we're being persecuted for having kids. Child care has to be affordable for all so that children can go into daycare and both parents can work to pay for all the other rising prices in utilities, food and transport costs.

Let's take a moment. Look at the situation, talk to parents and staff then reevaluate the situation

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