Children at risk if ratios increased, says Barking and Dagenham nursery owner

PUBLISHED: 17:11 09 May 2013 | UPDATED: 10:53 10 May 2013

Playaway nursery director Sylma Laviniere

Playaway nursery director Sylma Laviniere


A nursery owner has welcomed the Deputy Prime Minister concerns over plans to allow childminders and nursery staff to look after more children.

Sarah Joslin and Alex Frost with some of the children at Playaway Nursery at Becontree Children's CentreSarah Joslin and Alex Frost with some of the children at Playaway Nursery at Becontree Children's Centre

Speaking today, Nick Clegg said education minister’s Elizabeth Truss’s proposals to relax child-to-staff ratios could pose safety risks and fail to achieve savings.

Ms Truss believes the current system is not working and is unaffordable for many people.

Sylma Laviniere, owner of Playaway Nursery, which runs three centres in Barking and Dagenham, is against the plans.

She said: “I’m pleased to hear Nick Clegg has doubts over these plans, it means there’s a greater chance they won’t go through.”

“Increasing the staff-to-child ratio will mean staff will not be able to pay as much attention to the children, which will mean there’s a greater chance of something going wrong. It’s very worrying.”

If the proposals are given the green light the child-to-staff ratio for two-year-olds would go from four-to-one to six-to-one and for babies it would rise from three-to-one to four-to-one.

Theresa Deighton’s two-year-old daughter Emily goes to the Playaway Nursery at Becontree Children’s Centre in Dagenham.

Theresa, of Mayfield Road, Dagenham said: “Increasing the ratio would be madness. Emily has been at the nursery since she was a baby, but I would not have put her in if I knew one member of staff had to look after her and three other babies.

“Anyone who has young children knows they need a lot of focus. If the plans go through it’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Theresa, 34, agreed with Ms Truss that child-care was too expensive but said the government should come up with alternative ways of cutting costs.

Under the proposals nurseries and childminders would not be forced to look after more children, but Sylma said their was a risk many would increase their numbers to boost their takings.

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