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Reduce ratios to reduce costs? what do you think?


caffinefreak
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I came across this on the BBC website, suggesting that if OFSTED raise the ratio's, it will bring down the cost of day care for parents, I'm not convinced, I think as it says in the article, that all this will do is go towards the gap between the amount we get from the L.A and the actual cost of the provision of the 15 hours 'free' childcare. I would also be concerned that this will impact the quality of care as we all know how tough it can be sometimes even on a 1:8 ratio when you have 3 staff and 24 children, including distressed newbies, one who has a wet accident and one who wants to tell you all their news ect !! Not to mention 1:3 ratios with under 2's who all need milk/food/sleeps/cuddles at different times! I agree that it would be fantastic to be able to pay our brilliant staff more and that we are one of the most expensive countries in the world for childcare costs, but I'm not sure this is the way to reduce them, what do you think?

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20950899

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Obviously when we reduce our ratios we can only do this by laying off our staff thereby adding to the massed ranks of the unemployed - as most early years workers are women and a significant amount working mums this smacks of the government shooting itself in the foot a bit as for every working parent they get back into work because of cheaper childcare they have probably put 4 out of work by reducing the ratios <_<

Edited by SueJ
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  • 3 weeks later...

me ( being cynical) think this is a way of the govt reducing the amount of NEG we receive, the current amount is supposedly based on what it should cost for each child ( yea right) , if we reduce the ratios....we will need less staffing per child, therefore in the eyes of the govt the cost per child would be reduced, meaning the NEG will be cut ( again ).

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I just don't see how they think having less staff with a higher qualification will save money....surely a eyps will be looking at much higher hourly rate than most levels 3 are now paid, so that's already a false economy and as the woman interviewed last night said an eyps certificate doesn't come with an extra pair of hands and eyes.

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I keep reading that there is going to be a big announcement this week but I can't find any clarification, a

Have any of you seen anything?

 

Steve posted this today;

More Great Childcare: Response to Nutbrown Review

 

 

I got to page 10 then stopped reading as steam was coming out my ears :angry: :angry: :angry:

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I've just read it too Sue. I like some aspects of it, if it works, but honestly I fail to see how reducing ratios will, raise staff wages, reduce costs to parents and improve quality all at once.

Schools being allowed to take our under 3s is worrying.

Looks like LAs might have the biggest gripe with it to be fair, no fiddling about with Ofsted regulations and requirements just to justify their own jobs and to release the £160 million they've been using to do so.

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Looks like LAs might have the biggest gripe with it to be fair, no fiddling about with Ofsted regulations and requirements just to justify their own jobs and to release the £160 million they've been using to do so.

 

Another way of looking at that aspect is maybe LAs will relish the opportunity to go back to training and improving provision based on recommendations from the Ofsted inspection instead of having to inspect settings themselves.

 

It is also possible that if Ofsted are the sole inspectors and they inspect based on guidelines given to them you may get a better continuity across the sector.....how often do we read on this forum that settings do the same thing but differently as per the authority requirement?

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I have an email saved in drafts to send to our LA concerning their requirement that we in Birmingham have to renew CRBs every 3 years in order to qualify for the NEG.

Will this no longer be the case?

Does it say when these proposals will go ahead? I read it twice and could see a date.

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I read it as a proposed document for September 2013. I don't think the number of proposed children per setting you can have is clear ? It is rather vague and it suggests it will be left to providers to decide if you are of a certain quality setting. My chairperson read it and immediately said we would be able to take more children.

Not what I wanted to hear, together with the proposed increase ratio for two year old's in a mixed setting.

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Looks like LAs might have the biggest gripe with it to be fair, no fiddling about with Ofsted regulations and requirements just to justify their own jobs and to release the £160 million they've been using to do so.

.

 

We have been open four weeks this term. During this time I have had 3 visits from LEA jobsworths! Despite a Good ofsted visit in November we have had to endure a Quality Review pre visit, followed by THE Quality Review (graded 2a) an 'Advisors ' return visit for a child with eal - despite having no actions from last terms visit (guessing she wanted a day out) AND a Funding Audit - not unlike the Spanish Inquisition!! Oh yes, have a Quality Review on SEN procedure next month!! Now i appreciate we all have our jobs to do.....BUT LET ME GET ON WITH MINE!!!

 

Wonder how we'd have coped had we not been OVER ratio??

 

Oh sorry thats 4 visits, afraid I didnt do Math GCSE.........and the advice from the eal Advisor?

 

"try different snacks". Bravo. Bet she's on more per hour than I am. Bitter? You Bet.

Edited by Rafa
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Rafa, I'm so with you!! we have those inspections too, they are useful to a point but SO time consuming! and don't even get me started on EAL, we had some training at our nursery and I asked how I (as manager) could support parents with EAL and she said that I should translate all our documents into their home language (of which we currently have 13 spoken - oh well that shouldnt take too much time then!!!!) so I showed her what I had done which was do one side in English and the other side in their home language, but then she told me that was patronising as I was assuming they couldn't read English???!!!! arrrrrggggggghhhhhhh!!!

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Back to qualifications - we have had two students this year, one studying a level 2 with no GCSE English and only basic GCSE's and one with 9 A's at GCSE who is completing a level 3.

Guess who is the natural with the children....oh and just because she didnt get a 'c' in English, it doesnt mean she can't communicate with them. Makes me really cross, the assumptions and generalisations that are made.

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Back to qualifications - we have had two students this year, one studying a level 2 with no GCSE English and only basic GCSE's and one with 9 A's at GCSE who is completing a level 3.

Guess who is the natural with the children....oh and just because she didnt get a 'c' in English, it doesnt mean she can't communicate with them. Makes me really cross, the assumptions and generalisations that are made.

 

I agree you have a fair point here, and I do believe that most practitioners/nursery nurses/nursery officers/early years eduactors, (whatever they want to call us?!) are born with a natural flair for the job, and have the ability to effectivley communicate with and excite children to learn and develop. However I DO feel the basic GCSE's SHOULD be necessary (runs and hides) I have an excellent group of staff working for me. When I completed my course at college 20 odd years ago, I HAD to have GCSE C or above in english maths and science to get onto the course, but over the years this seems to have vanished and is no longer the case. Although my staff are all excellent and we have been quoted as 'educationally outstanding' by an ofsted inspector, this still doesn't remove the fact that for some of the staff basic maths and spellings appearsd to be very difficult. I recently received some feedback from a parent and it was all very positive apart from one remark, she stated that she was 'horrified' by the spelling mistakes in her daughters learning journey and on some of her more recent reports - and I completely agree. Yes, we can all use computers to spell check for us, but we only have two computers available in our setting, and have 14 care groups, each with around 5 - 8 children, there just isn't enough time for everyone to use the computer to complete these written pieces of work! Therefore I believe GCSE's are important, almost as important as the natural flair. I have two members of staff who do not have a C or above in english, and are both very keen to take on new courses and retake the exam to get these grades!

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Back to qualifications - we have had two students this year, one studying a level 2 with no GCSE English and only basic GCSE's and one with 9 A's at GCSE who is completing a level 3.

Guess who is the natural with the children....oh and just because she didnt get a 'c' in English, it doesnt mean she can't communicate with them. Makes me really cross, the assumptions and generalisations that are made.

 

Tricky one isn't it....in the setting I worked in I would have said the most tolerant, patient and gentle member of staff was the most qualified amongst us......she just had a way about her and I am sure the training enhanced her practice and just made her even better.

 

We were lucky, we had a group of well qualified people but I think what really helped if we were all 25 plus and all bar one of us was a parent so we were a very mature (most of the time) bunch.

 

I think you have to have an in built aptitude, a caring streak and without that no amount of training would make you a suitable person to work with children.

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The point I was making was the Governments assumption that unless you have a GCSE English you ARE not capable. I agree lots of qualified people are fantastic and are highly skilled but that doesnt mean we should right off those that arent. Yes, its tricky - thats why we shouldnt generalise in something so important.

I am lucky to have a degree and consider myself highly experienced (long in the tooth!!!) but new students coming in (often unqualified and without good GCSE's) are often a breath of fresh air.

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Genuine question but does GCSE English even cover spelling these days?

 

I've only speed read the document but liked the reference in it to the old NNEB, stripping back to basics really

 

"We will ensure new and better qualifications at Level 3, to qualify people to become ‘Early Years Educators’. Early Years Educator qualifications will be the modern equivalent of the highly respected Nursery Nurse Diploma, which used to be provided by the National Nursery Examination Board (NNEB) but was discontinued in the mid-1990s "

 

- back in the times of having one course, strict entry (no guarantee of acceptance), rigorous coursework and you had to prove ability - or <shock horror> Fail!

 

To be fair, raising the bar has been tried and initially it looked promising by introducing the EYP status (rigorous entry, proven history of high quality practice, LA endorsed) but then we began to hear of people who have some random degree in non child related subject, fast tracking through 6 months of qualification to then lead practice - why? (in my opinion!) because it was target driven and the powers that be 'panicked' that there wasn't sufficient uptake so moved the goal posts

 

Disclaimer; not trying to upset anyone - This is by no means typical of all EYP's - just as low quality Level 3's is not typical but demonstrates that there isn't enough 'rigour' in the qualification period, too many 'aw we'll give them the benefit of the doubt, she/he's lovely really', too much external interference by powers that be who don't have grass roots knowledge and too much change/coverage of random topics -

 

I'd like to see high quality 'basics' covered and the rest learned on the job - instead of them having to be retrained about the basic stuff when employment begins

 

Just realised/remembered/acknowledged my own journey whilst writing this - and it's probably demonstrative of the (derogative) attitudes surrounding child care - I was (very) academic at school, expressed an interest in working with children; had a proven history etc cue 'career advisor' session - did everything to steer me away from childcare based on my results! Made me even more determined to go this way and succeed!

 

Yes people may be capable of looking after more children - but I'm with those that think 'what more could be achieved if we kept the ratio's the same' AND increased quality of qualifications

 

Still think it's sneaky that all this is happening at a time when they are trying to place thousands of two year old's!

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Gingerbread man, I am inclined to agree. I am NNEB qualified <shows age!!! There were 200 applicants for 20 places, there were placements in nurseries, schools, hospitals and private families, lots of coursework no guarantees of success, in fact 2 of the people on my course did not pass it. Fast forward to a meeting I was in with a person who volunteered in our setting whilst undertaking her level 3 NVQ, I sat in on a professional discussion with her and her assessor, when she could not answer the questions, the assessor wrote what she thought, telling the candidate 'oh don't worry about it, it’s not important anyway'.

 

If we are going to raise standards in the industry, we have to ensure that there is consistency in the standard of qualifications. I also agree that fast tracking on a 6 month course from any other degree may not be the best way forward for those who will lead settings, I've been in childcare for 17 years and am currently undertaking my foundation degree to then do my BA and EYPS and I believe that my background in childcare has given me a great advantage as there are not too many things I haven't had to deal with across those 17 years and they have all shaped me into the practitioner/manager that I am today. I'm all for raising standards but I also strongly believe that experience trumps a certificate every time and if you have both then all the better :)

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My son is currently doing NVQ in plumbing so he can work with hubby.The tutor spoke to hubby on Monday and said they can fast track him through the Gas NVQ. Hubby's against that, he wants him to spend time learning at college as well as on the job, he see's some of the lads who have recently gained their NVQ and he said they dont know much.

The last 4 staff members at playgroup who've been through the NVQ system were missing knowledge in lots of areas and even in ideas and being prepared to research.The NVQ system needs looking at, its seems to be more about pass rates than anything else these days.

As to the GCSE in English and Maths, I havent got either, but at the risk of blowing my own trumpet, I dont think I've fared to badly over the years.

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I too qualified as an NNEB - round about the time the wheel was invented - 2yr full time course. Over the years I have completed many

'personal development' training courses and have been the owner/manager of a pre-school for 23 years!!! I never had the opportunity

to further my education with a degree course or the like and now feel too past it to consider The EYP. However, I do kind of consider myself a 'Professional in my field'. i have had four staff members qualify via the NVQ3 over the years....Two were natural child carers and have been fantastic staff members, in everyway. The other two, tho being educated to degree level in an unrelated subject have much less natural empathy and understanding of the development of pre- schoolers. Quite frankly I feel they only took the role on to fit in with their family life, not because they have any passion for childcare and education.

 

As probably in all manner of workplaces, there are those who are 'made for the job' and those who are 'passengers'. Of course a highly educated workforce can only benefit our little ones but it doesn't guarantee they will say or do the right thing.

 

Lets start with a course similar to the NNEB as the grounding. and it would sort out all those young people who can't decide whether to

do.....

'HAIR or CARE....!!' - no disrepect to my lovely hairdresser : )

 

 

Oh by the way......have always felt slightly aggrieved that the NNEB is considered a level 3 qualification and on a par with a NVQ3. The two just don't compare......my NVQ3 can't even mix paint!! ha ha!

Edited by Rafa
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Although I had mentioned before the importance of GCSE's I do have to add, that the natural flair must also be present. I must agree that there appears to be a distinct difference between the good old NNEB and NVQ's. I, personally completed a BTEC (let's throw another one in the mix!) as, when I discussed with my 'careers advisor' at school (I too was quite academic as a nipper) I was advised against it! and was pushed more towards the 'do a degree and then if you still want to, you could teach instead' - this set me on my path, which meant I needed to do a BTEC national diploma in childhood studies, rather than the NNEB (I'm still not entirely sure why?) I have seen sooooooo many students on the NVQ courses and their assessors quite literally carry them through, they (as previously mentioned) write a script for professional discussions, complete test FOR THE STUDENTS, give them the answers to questions, and basically complete all the work for the students, just to ensure they pass and they get paid!! I think it is disgusting! One of my closest friends had previously worked for me and completed the EYFD and eventually moved on to teach students as she felt so strongly about the downfall of the standards! Some of the stories I hear about other assessors/tutors is absolutley horrendous. I agree, bring in one exceptional qualification course, with rigid entry requirements, and the possibility of 'fail'!!

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