After school warehousing of children is not the same as quality childcare
Out of School Alliance response to Regulation of childcare – consultation report
Commenting on the publication of the Government’s response to the public consultation on the regulation of childcare, Catherine Wrench, director of the Out of School Alliance, said:
“Whilst we recognize that some of the planned changes outlined in the report will benefit providers of out of school care – particularly the removal of the requirement to deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage – overall we think that the proposal will have a detrimental effect on our sector and on the experience of children in out of school care.
“It is clear that the focus of the Government’s changes is on increasing the number of childcare places, not on the quality of care delivered.
“The removal of the requirement for out of school club staff to have any relevant qualifications or experience is a significant backwards step. Furthermore the current statutory staffing ratios will be removed leaving it up to each individual manager to make their own value judgment about what is appropriate. This means that potentially unqualified and inexperienced managers will be expected to make crucial decisions on safe staffing levels and deployment.
“The Government says that staff ratios should be broadly in line with those used in classrooms but this completely fails to take into account the differences between education and play-based provision. It is much easier to ensure the safety of a classroom of similar-aged children sitting at their desks and engaged on the same activity, than to supervise 30 children at an after school club whose ages range from 4 to 11 and who are engaged in individual activities, moving from indoors to outdoors as they choose.
“Whilst there are a few proposals in the Government’s response document that we welcome, overall our view is that the planned changes will lead to a proliferation of cheap, low quality childcare which will devalue the play experience for children. Our fear is that the changes will ultimately drive high quality settings – those employing qualified staff and using safe staffing ratios - out of business. After school warehousing of children is not the same as quality childcare.”
14 February 2014