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New childcare changes planned in January

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One thing I would say, is that 'looser ratios' will NOT mean staff will be paid more in Day Nurseries - simply that owners profits will rise!

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Depends on the owner though. I think the biggest impact that 'looser' ratios would have is on the quality of the provision. We have more adults than the required ratio a lot of the time and no we don't make a lot of profit, but children, parents and staff are happier that way, and we have a good reputation as a result.

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One thing I would say, is that 'looser ratios' will NOT mean staff will be paid more in Day Nurseries - simply that owners profits will rise!

 

Absolutely Sue :(

 

I'm trying very hard not to be too negative about these proposed changes - but I'm really struggling.........

 

Even the 'tax deductible' bit has made me think - oh no - more 'form filling' :(

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Depends on the owner though. I think the biggest impact that 'looser' ratios would have is on the quality of the provision. We have more adults than the required ratio a lot of the time and no we don't make a lot of profit, but children, parents and staff are happier that way, and we have a good reputation as a result.

 

Agreed Beehive - we also work above the required ratio - this makes for great individual attention, understanding etc. for children and provides a pleasant working environment for staff.........sadly, though this not the 'norm' and I am really worried that some Early years settings will simply squeeze in as many children as possible with as few staff as possible in order to increase profits :( (hope that I'm wrong)

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Today, we were one staff member down due to sickness. This left us still above the ratio as we also had 5/6 children off. We had 4 adults and 20 children in with only one of those under 3. However we really did notice that one member of staff missing. When changing nappies, doing tolet runs, then we had a child crying with ear ache being comforted by one, with another staff making umpteen phone calls trying to track down someone to come for him. How anybody manages on the minimum ratio is beyond me. Bring it down further and well.... quite frankly it's an accident/incident waiting to happen

Edited by lynned55
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Absolutely Sue :(

 

I'm trying very hard not to be too negative about these proposed changes - but I'm really struggling.........

 

Even the 'tax deductible' bit has made me think - oh no - more 'form filling' :(

 

Goodness - just noticed my awful spelling :ph34r:

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Depends on the owner though. I think the biggest impact that 'looser' ratios would have is on the quality of the provision. We have more adults than the required ratio a lot of the time and no we don't make a lot of profit, but children, parents and staff are happier that way, and we have a good reputation as a result.

 

I follow your thinking there, Beehive, certainly about he damaging effect on provision quality. My setting was like yours, with more staff than the 'minimum' and enjoyed an excellent reputation accordingly. Some years ago the business changed hands - the new owners have steadily whittled away at all the things that made us so well regarded. As a result of this, following strenuous efforts on my part to dissuade them from this (and practices such as terminating 'training' contracts on qualification so the minimum wage wouldn't have to be paid, replacing them with new trainees for whom a training rate was paid) I felt the need to leave a much-loved job because I couldn't bear to see the children and parents so seriously shortchanged. I remain in contact with my old colleagues and am told things haven't changed since I left - in fact possibly are now worse!

 

I think there may be quite a few owners out there who see the children merely as little pound signs. Cynical? Maybe, but I least I live in the real world unlike these government bods who seem to inhabit some fluffy pink planet ;)

 

Sue

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Speaking as an owner, I find it very sad that anyone involved in our sector sees children "merely as little pound signs". We are passionate about the care and development of these precious lives, the huge responsibility that this entails and the entitlement of our staff to receive a decent wage and the recognition they deserve. I do not want to see ratios relaxed or standards to fall. It is very challenging in the current economic climate to provide quality care and early years education for our communities and to pick up the slack for our local authority with family outreach, social work and other unpaid services that are so desperately needed at this time. I can only pay staff what we receive from already overburdened parents. We struggle some months to meet our wage bill. The price of energy, food, resources etc. continues to rise. I increased our prices by less than 2% this year and I am still attempting to give a pay increase to staff.

 

I just wanted to put in a word for at least one owner who cares about children - and staff! There are those of us (owners) who believe that what we all do together as a team, is a worthwhile vocation. We are not just in it for the money - there are much easier ways to make a living.

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Goodness - just noticed my awful spelling :ph34r:

 

I still cant see what you spelt wrong!! xD

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Speaking as an owner, I find it very sad that anyone involved in our sector sees children "merely as little pound signs". We are passionate about the care and development of these precious lives, the huge responsibility that this entails and the entitlement of our staff to receive a decent wage and the recognition they deserve. I do not want to see ratios relaxed or standards to fall. It is very challenging in the current economic climate to provide quality care and early years education for our communities and to pick up the slack for our local authority with family outreach, social work and other unpaid services that are so desperately needed at this time. I can only pay staff what we receive from already overburdened parents. We struggle some months to meet our wage bill. The price of energy, food, resources etc. continues to rise. I increased our prices by less than 2% this year and I am still attempting to give a pay increase to staff.

 

I just wanted to put in a word for at least one owner who cares about children - and staff! There are those of us (owners) who believe that what we all do together as a team, is a worthwhile vocation. We are not just in it for the money - there are much easier ways to make a living.

I'm pretty sure you're the norm but sadly I know one or two places where profit is everything. I'm also glad to hear someone else struggles with the wages bill some months, not just me then :rolleyes: Phew!

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DavidW - I salute you. My original employers were like you, passionate and committed - it grieves me to see what happened.

 

Sue

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I'm with David on this one,this is exactly how I am and feel.

 

Me too! :1b

 

I probably should have said earlier that I am an owner too and nothing will ever make me change my practise........

 

I am however, realistic, and as I said earlier, I suspect that some owners will see this as an opportunity to add more children.........we have, I'm sure, all read posts on this forum which describe working conditions that I can only describe as 'the stuff of nightmares'.......

 

The very fact that we (owners) are using this forum is perhaps testament to how we feel about our provision and the conditions for children and workforce :1b

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I am an owner manager and obviously am driving around in a top of the range mercedes xD :lol: xD :lol: xD :lol: xD :lol: xD

 

As I have EYPS I could have ratios of 1:13 however like many others have said I am not in this for the £s - there are much easier ways of making a buck and my ratios for my 3-4 year olds are about 1:5 (plus another practitioner as supernumerary) which ensures that the children receive lots of practitioner support and interaction to support their learning and development. Whilst personal pride in my setting and the quality provision that we offer doesn't put the dinner on the table I feel lucky that I am in a position that my business can also be vocationally rewarding as well as provide me with a living of sorts (thankfully there is a Mr SueJ to help bolster the family coffers and earn some real money doing a "proper job" :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: which by the way pays the bills but doesn't necessarily feed the soul).

 

Sadly however the childcare and education service industry is not just a vocational calling and there are plenty of childcare businesses out there who will have owners who wear a business hat first and foremost and for whom the bottom line is profit (rather than nappies :D ) - where this is the operating ethos I am sure that there will be people out there looking to increase their profit margins by reducing adult : child ratios to the statutory minimum.

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Well, please wish me luck with caring for 5 children aged from newborn to 2 :blink:

 

I shall use some of my huge annual earnings to buy a carrier for my back, another for my front and learn to juggle so each of the other 3 have an opportunity for a cuddle at some time ....... all while taking and collecting their older siblings from the 2 primary schools they attend and shepherding them all quickly across the playground to meet the school transport from the special school that another child attends.

 

I'll spend no time playing with, caring for or educating any of them as my whole day will be spent putting hats, coats, and mittens on.... I shall feed them sushi bar style, obviously ,and they will each be allocated a time slot for toileting or nappy changing and if they can't perform on demand so be it !

 

I'm sure I'll be inundated with requests from parents to sign up for my 'Outstanding' provision.... NOT !!!!!

 

Nona

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I'm an owner too. We pay as much as we can afford, have manager who is extra to the staff numbers, give staff release time to do paperwork, give staff time during opening hours to meet with NVQ assessors etc. On a 'normal day' there is a spare staff member, the manager and me avaiable to answer the door, do the phone, show people round etc. We won't be increasing our numbers in the light of the looser ratios - I am EYP and QTS so could probably call myself a nursery school and have a lot more than we do now .... but I won't be doing that.

Some of our parents struggle with the fees, but they are prepared to struggle because they can see that we are providing a quality environment which is staffed by people who are not rushing about tearing their hair out trying to be in 3 places at once. We tried having more children (registered for 58), didn't like it .... changed the 'feel' of the nursery. Now having 45 - 50 and it's much nicer! (12 staff + 3 as mentioned above). Children are calmer and we have time to talk to them 1:1 when they want us to.

 

pw x

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As an ex-owner and an EYP I have always had more adults than the numbers of children would suggest is necessary. Maybe if I had worked to minimum ratios I would still have a viable nursery though? :( Having that 'spare' adult was beneficial in so many ways though: no worries if a child had to be taken off to the loo or to have an injury tended to; plenty of adult attention to support children; plenty of adult supervision which could head off any potential health and safety issue. I would have felt unsafe in operating with fewer adults in the setting given the layout of the building and the need to support one another to carry out the daily tasks associated with offering quality provision from within a packaway setting.

 

I saw the headline 'Government to make childcare more affordable' and I wondered if they had suddenly had a moment of clarity and decided to increase the funding for early years. Of course I knew this wasn't likely and I had read the IPPR report some months ago. I had also seen much comment on the fact that Ms Truss is so keen to shake things up and make her mark on the Department so I wasn't surprised when I saw that she had been true to her word and proposed 'loosening' the ratios.

 

All I can say is: how depressing. I'm so glad I'm not an owner any more and whilst I would like to go back into a setting I wouldn't take a job where I was working with minimum ratios. :angry:

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Sorry but I certainly won't be upping the ratios just for the extra money. We have a high child ratio, but wouldn't work to anything less. The powers that be need to get into the real world with regard to this and value the very people that are nurturing our wonderful children. Sorry rant over, just makes me so angry and sad.

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I am an owner manager and obviously am driving around in a top of the range mercedes xD :lol: xD :lol: xD :lol: xD :lol: xD

 

Sue, you made me smile!

 

I had promised myself to keep quiet here, but one last comment - pretty please?

 

My last employer did drive around in top of the range Merc; they have a people carrier, have bought their daughter a car and flat 'to get her on her feet'... and the house! :blink:

 

Sorry.

 

(slinks off...)

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I guess this is a move which brings preschool settings 'in line' with schools in terms of ratio requirements. The old argument that a better qualified person can educate more children, so therefore less staff are needed. However, the care aspect of childcare seems to be constantly overlooked and disregarded. I wonder how many of these policy makers have first hand experience of looking after children of this age.

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I've just had a thought. Bear with: it doesn't happen often.

 

Most settings I know locally are more or less full: there's the odd movement when a family leaves but usually they are replaced fairly quickly. So they won't actually be able to increase their income by increasing the numbers of children (unless the proposal to look at minimum space requirements per child is all part of the same thing) so the only way they could make more money would be to make a member of staff redundant or cut back their hours.

 

I guess you'd all figured this out way before me, but this doesn't sound like a successful plan to get more women into the workforce does it?

 

As for childminders, I saw a great response yesterday from a mum of three children under five who spoke with great eloquence about how damn hard it was. I'll see if I can find it. Basically she was saying that the care tasks alone required with three small children was enough to keep her occupied throughout the day, and she just couldn't see where a lone childminder would be able to find the time (or energy) to engage in the high quality learning expected. Just as I was wondering if she was selling childminders short, she happened to mention that she's a Level 6 practitioner - so as she said, as qualified as you could get.

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Sue, you made me smile!

 

I had promised myself to keep quiet here, but one last comment - pretty please?

 

My last employer did drive around in top of the range Merc; they have a people carrier, have bought their daughter a car and flat 'to get her on her feet'... and the house! :blink:

 

Sorry.

 

(slinks off...)

 

That last employer of yours - It wasn't me - it wasn't me Sue R xD :lol:

 

Sadly I have a Peugeot - not wanting to start on these cold mornings

Two young adults (they don't like being called "the children" anymore) - both of whom are still waiting for me to buy them that flat to get them on the housing market and both of whom have cars one up from scrap heap models that they have to look after themselves (guess they'll have to slum it and make their own way in the world until I come up on the lottery xD :lol: )

 

I obviously need to toughen up - sack my staff - sit back and watch the ensuing chaos and watch the £s come in - Kerching !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;) ;)

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Well, please wish me luck with caring for 5 children aged from newborn to 2 :blink:

 

I shall use some of my huge annual earnings to buy a carrier for my back, another for my front and learn to juggle so each of the other 3 have an opportunity for a cuddle at some time .......

 

Nona

 

:o :o :o I see a money making opportunity here!!............... I'm pretty good with a sewing machine - I recon I could do a nice line in some kind of combat trousers that you can fit babies/toddlers into the pockets............. :D ::1a (off to dust off machine............)

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While you're at it, I would love to buy the staff some combats like the RAF wear, with a plastic pouch on the leg so they can write notes while sitting.

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I'd like to add that it isn't just private settings that put 'balancing the books' before what is best practice - over the past three years I've been working as 'Agency Staff' and as well as working in private settings, have worked in children's centres where there have been staff cut backs, demotivated staff and practices which I felt were far from best practice.

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Also wanted to add that I've also worked in some fantastic private settings, with passionate owners and staff - I'm starting work at one of them in January :1b ! (Incidentally - most of the children's centres were graded Outstanding by Ofsted, and the private settings satisfactory or Good :ph34r: )

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I'm an owner and if my business takes less money then I get less wages, not my staff. I always keep the same amount of staff regardless of what time of year it is and how many children I have. I would like one christmas where I have oney to spare as it is always the worst term for numbers, but my staff still get the same amount of money!!

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While you're at it, I would love to buy the staff some combats like the RAF wear, with a plastic pouch on the leg so they can write notes while sitting.

Do you mean these?? I'm NOT wearing braces though:)

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/RAF-SURPLUS-TROUSERS-AIRCREW-COLD-WEATHER-GREEN-Mk3-G1-SIZE-5-PILOT-BRITISH-ARMY-/190673321688?pt=UK_Collectables_Militaria_LE&hash=item2c6503fed8

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