Children and Families Bill

Memorandum submitted by Dominique Brockhaus-Grand (CF 36)

Dear Madam/Sir,

I would like to add my comments to the consultation on the Children and Families Bill.

1. I am an Ofsted registered childminder and a parent. I was previously a teacher and feel very passionately about childcare and children’s wellbeing. I am very concerned about the "More Great Childcare" plan as I feel it will be detrimental to children and have an adverse effect on the business of childminders.

2. The areas of the Children and Families Bill about which I have most concerns are - ratios for early years children, childminder agencies and qualifications for early years workers.

3. Ratios for early years children

3.1 The proposal lists ratios which are very detrimental to the wellbeing and healthy development of children. A person cannot possibly respond well and sufficiently to the personal needs of 4 babies or 6 children (in a nursery setting). Children need the physical presence and attention of their carer, time spent with them and plenty of personal attention.

3.2 I, as a childminder, will certainly not be increasing the number of children I will look after as their wellbeing is paramount and would be compromised by having too many little ones in my care.

4. Agencies for childminders

Agencies are likely to increase the costs incurred by childminders who are already extremely poorly paid. This will have a negative impact on their income.

Agencies are not wanted and not needed.

5. Qualifications for early years workers

Qualifications will not enable people to look after more children. A person will still only have 2 hands and 2 eyes to look after the children, keep them safe and emotionally secure. Qualifications will make no difference at all and is it very disingenuous or at least very naïve to claim that it will.

Claiming that it is being done in other countries is irrelevant. We should aim to copy the best international examples, not blindly follow irrespective of whether the examples are good or bad. In this case, the UK has got the best practice. We should be proud of that and not tinker with it.

I hope you take my comments into consideration and help me protect outcomes for the next generation of our children.

March 2013

Prepared 20th March 2013