Proposals to change rules on nurseries criticised by Scunthorpe firm
PLANS to increase the number of children at nurseries have been criticised as dangerous by a Scunthorpe firm.
In a move to cut childcare costs, the ratio of carers to children is set to be increased by the Government this autumn.
But Toni Krajnik, of Wise Owl Nursery in Scunthorpe, said the initiative would be unsafe.
"Wise Owl will not be adopting these measures and will be working with the current ratios, as we put the safety of children first, before money," she said.
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"It has been in the pipeline and the thing about the ratios is not a great surprise, but we thought it would never happen because it is quite dangerous.
"If there are eight babies in a room and only two members of staff, how can you say they are adequately dealing with the specific needs of each child? This is not safe."
Children's Minister Liz Truss said the proposals would make more childcare places available and reduce costs for parents in the long-term – but Mrs Krajnik said cuts to child tax credits had actually led to a drop in numbers.
"We lost lots and lots of children," she said.
"People could not then afford to put their children in childcare and it was cheaper for parents not to work.
"We are the most expensive country in Europe for childcare, but that is because other countries offer free childcare as it is all paid for by the Government."
Under the new proposals, the amount of childcare space will be cut so more children can be cared for in a given space.
The existing level two industry qualification is also set to be scrapped, with all nurses needing to gain better qualifications – at level three.
But Mrs Krajnik said this could lead to people choosing not to take up the profession.
"I think this will have a massive detrimental effect," she said.
"How on earth would these people have that opportunity to be a nursery nurse?
"People are not going to have the GCSEs to get on the course."
Vicki Harland, a level three qualified nursery nurse at Wise Owl, said the plans did not put the children first.
"How is one member of staff supposed to supervise six two or three-year-olds?" she said.
"With floor space, it is a nursery not a puppy farm.
"The current system is in place for the safety and protection of the children.
"A lot of people start on level two at college because they did not have the right grades to get onto level three. Are they going to change the requirements, or are people going to miss out on a career in childcare?"