Dear Prime Minister,
We are writing to ask that you ensure high quality education and care for our youngest children is top of your agenda. Specifically, we believe it is crucial for the Government not to relax the nursery ratios of staff to children.
We have a raft of studies from world leading UK and international research institutes which demonstrate that the significance of high staff to children ratios is the quality of the provision. We also know that quality is essential if our youngest citizens, particularly those from more disadvantaged backgrounds, are to thrive and succeed in school.
Increasing the adult to child ratios will, without doubt, significantly reduce the time available for staff to spend with each child. This is particularly important for the youngest children – our little babies and toddlers whose welfare and social and cognitive development is closely linked to social interaction and forming secure attachment relationships with adults.
Furthermore, choosing to push a policy that effectively puts more pressure on staff who are quitting the sector in droves because of lack of respect for what they do, low status, poor salaries and lack of support, is simply foolish.
Our new Education Minister, Will Quince, must get to grips with why thoughtful ratios are critical for the wellbeing of children and the ability of staff to support their learning and development successfully. We have some of the best childcare in the world, yet cutting corners in such a demeaning and dispiriting way should not and cannot be an option.
We strongly urge you to make the right decision.
With all best wishes,
June O'Sullivan MBE
CEO of London Early Years Foundation (LEYF)