DATE: 8th September 2023; New research from Pregnant Then Screwed has uncovered that 98% of parents do not support the government’s decision to increase ratios in nurseries.
Today, the government is activating its plans to increase ratios in nurseries from 1:4 children to 1:5 children for two-year-olds in nurseries across Britain despite overwhelming objection to the plans during the consultation process. New research from Pregnant Then Screwed has found that this has been met with huge opposition from parents – just 2% of parents support the initiative.
Lauren Fabianski, Head of Campaigns and Communications for Pregnant Then Screwed comments, “The decision to increase ratios in nurseries shows just how out of touch the government is with childcare in Britain. This is not a solution to years of systemic underfunding. All that changing ratios will achieve is increasing stress levels in a sector that is already struggling to hire and retain its staff, and it could compromise the quality of care that children receive. We need the government to listen to parents, nursery workers and early years specialists and get childcare right.”
Just last week, the TUC released data that revealed that 95% of councils are struggling to hire childcare workers with the right skills and experience to do the job. It comes as little surprise then that for 15% of parents the top reason that they oppose ratios is because they believe it will put too much pressure on the workforce, and for 38% of parents, the negative impact on the quality of childcare that their children receive is their top concern with the changes.
One parent commented, “We have had several good staff leave our son’s nursery and are told it’s very hard to recruit due to pay & working conditions. We are lucky that our nursery is looking to hire very good staff, but the turnover is concerning, and I don’t know how they are going to manage.”
Lauren Fabianski comments, “Whilst workload will be increasing, staff will continue to be paid peanuts for all of the important work they do. Make it make sense. We will continue to see talented professionals leave this profession in their droves if we do not get this right. The clock is ticking.”
One concerned parent comments, “The carers at our son’s nursery are so incredible but lately seem so stressed, and it’s heartbreaking to see. There also has been a constant turnover of staff, causing our son to be anxious and unsettled. He loves nursery but the constant changes cause him to worry. The staff say they have to leave either for mental health or because they can’t meet the costs of caring for their own family.”
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About Pregnant Then Screwed:
Pregnant Then Screwed is a charity that seeks to protect, support and promote the rights of pregnant women and mothers. We carry out extensive research into the effects of systemic cultural and institutional discrimination during pregnancy and motherhood. Our support services include: a free employment rights helpline, a free benefits advice clinic, a free mental health support line, pro bono legal advice and a tribunal mentor scheme that supports women who are considering legal action against their employer. We campaign for changes that will end the motherhood penalty and we support working mums to rebuild their confidence and find work that works for them.
About the research:
The survey was completed online between 18 August and 3rd September; there were 5,141 respondents, all parents, with at least one child under 5 years.