- 17 updates
The Government's plans to increase the number of children that nursery workers and childminders can look after came in for criticism today. Rather than drive up standards and reduce the cost of child care, critics said safety and quality may be compromised.
The new rules will apply in England only as Emily Morgan reports.
Nursery staff are to be put in charge of an increased number of children under government plans to cut childcare costs.
Critics say increased numbers of children would reduce the quality of care and could risk safety.
ITV News' Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports:
The Alliance says that a recent survey it conducted found that 94% of respondents were against changes to ratios.
Education minister Liz Truss has called for a shift in attitude towards seeing childcare as a profession that requires training.
She said: "It is a very demanding job that requires great and specialist expertise. I am not trained to do the job. I'm a politician, not an early educator. And I'm equally sure I could not walk into a class of 30 14-year-olds and teach them German."
They are almost unanimously opposed to the idea of raising child-to-carer ratios and demanding higher qualifications for carers.
Here is a selection of the comments:
A comparison of childcare costs as a percentage of families' average net incomes show that:
- Families in the UK pay a third (33%) of their net income on childcare
- Families Sweden, Greece, Portugal and Poland all spend around 5% of net income on childcare
- The EU average is 12%
- The average for all OECD members is 13%
(Data compares childcare costs for families with two working parents with a child in full-time care)
Education minister Liz Truss has defended her plans to raise the qualifications and pay of carers for young children in England. She told Daybreak that childcare should not be seen as "babysitting".
The education minister Liz Truss has responded to questions on Twitter saying that England pays carers some of the lowest wages in Europe, and has among the lowest qualification thresholds.
She also responded to suggestions that very young children need "love" rather than education.
In the graph below, which is based on figures for the whole of the UK rather than England, the blue bars represent the number of children per single carer permitted.