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Survey of childminders back Clegg on childcare ratios

children, families, welfare

Published date:  09 May 2013

Three quarters of childminders say they won’t take more children if ratios rise

 

Immediate release

Childminders are not planning to lower their costs or increase the number of children they care for, despite government plans to increase the legal ratio of children to adults, according to a new survey of childminders by the think tank IPPR. The survey results are released as reports from Westminster suggests that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is set to block the proposed changes.

IPPR’s survey of over 1,000 childminders shows:

Three quarters (74%) of childminders say that they won’t increase the number of children they care for 

79% of those won’t because they think the quality of care will suffer and 68% saying it would pose a safety risk to children

If childminders did increase the number of children they cared for, they think it wouldn’t cut costs for parents. 93% think it would have no effect, 5% think they would increase what they charged to parents, and only 1.48% think they would decrease the charge to parents.

The full results of IPPR’s survey will be published later this summer.

Dalia Ben-Galim, IPPR Associate Director, said:

“Nick Clegg has joined the chorus of concerned childminders, nursery providers and parents who are unconvinced by Liz Truss’ proposals that relaxing child ratios will improve quality or drive down costs.

“In a new survey of childminders we found that 74% won’t increase the number of children they care for, and 79% of those won’t because they think the quality of care will suffer, with 68% saying it would pose a safety risk to children.

“Liz Truss argues that ratios are looser in other European countries, especially France. But this is because the qualifications attained by the early years workforce in France are generally higher. So using ratios as an indicator for costs is limited given the different levels and status of qualifications. It is a real stretch to suggest that slightly looser ratios will lead to lower prices and higher salaries.

“Nick Clegg’s reservations on ratios are welcome and suggest that there is genuine concern on how to best improve child outcomes. But there are other parts of the Government’s childcare package where he should also be sceptical, namely proposals on tax relief. 

“Working parents will be eligible to claim up to £1200 tax-free voucher to pay for childcare costs. But tax relief is regressive, skewed towards higher income families. At a cost of around £1 billion and with no guarantee that providers will not raise their costs accordingly, IPPR has long argued that this money would be better spent investing in early years services, widening access and controlling costs.”

Notes to Editors

IPPR’s survey took place on-line between 3 April – 29 April 2013. In total, 1,030 completed surveys were received. The weighted sample (which removes those who didn’t know / wouldn’t say about Ofsted score or region) is 944. The data published today is preliminary. A full report and analysis will be published later this summer.

IPPR’s report – Great Expectations: exploring the promises of gender equality – is available from: http://bit.ly/IPPR10562

IPPR’s report on childcare systems is available from:
http://www.ippr.org/publication/55/9763/double-dutch-the-case-against-deregulation-and-demand-led-funding-in-childcare

IPPR’s report on the case for universal childcare is available from:
http://ippr.org/publications/55/8382/making-the-case-for-universal-childcare

Contact

Richard Darlington, 07525 481 602, r.darlington@ippr.org

Tessa Evans, 07875 727 298, t.evans@ippr.org