Michael Gove and his department are about to seriously undermine the excellent work done over the past 10 years to raise standards of care and education for very young children. Higher qualifications and fewer staff will not improve standards, because what young children need is the nurture and care of a key person to take the place of parents who have to go out to work. There is a volume of research on the considerable effects that lack of attachment in babies has on brain development and social competence. No matter how highly qualified the staff, a 4:1 ratio will cause yet more compromises with regard to basic but telling things such as feeding, which at best should be a mother substitute situation, not a damaging conveyor belt experience. Parents need to think about what they want to happen to children in their absence and say something before it is too late.
Charmaine Beaumont, Early years consultant.