Reception adult- child ratios cut

6th August 1999 at 01:00
AN ARMY of childcare workers is to be sent into reception classes to cut adult-child ratios, as part of a review of early-years care and education, writes Sarah Cassidy.

Reception-class teachers will work with qualified child-care workers to ensure at least one adult for every 15 children, education minister Margaret Hodge announced on Monday.

Government grants of pound;30 million will allow the 60 most deprived local authorities to take on 3,000 extra staff by 2001, benefiting more than 75,000 children.

The 60 authorities have the highest numbers of teenage pregnancies and low birth weight babies in the country. They will have to bear 25 per cent of the cost themselves.

Ms Hodge said: "There has been a great deal of concern that one in four four-year-olds is receiving early-years education in reception classes with ratios of one adult to 30 or so children. This announcement is going to move towards a ratio of one adult to 15 children."

Ms Hodge said the proposals took the first step towards creating a "level playing-field" for private, voluntary and local authority early-years providers.

Currently, different types of nurseries can operate with very different adult-child ratios. Private and voluntary providers must have one adult for every eight children whereas council nursery classes need only have one adult per 13 children.

However, a pilot of 50 private and voluntary nurseries is to be allowed to operate under the LEA ratio if they employ qualified teachers.

The preliminary results of research commissioned by the previous government suggested that the qualifications of pre-school providers was more important than adult-child ratios.

But pre-school providers raised concern that the lower???? ratios damage high-quality nurseries.

Margaret Lochrie, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, said:

"If adult-to-pupil ratios of one to 13 were to become reality for three-year-olds, that would be a tremendous concern.

"Whatever the qualifications of teachers, we are talking about very young children who need a lot of personal attention."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now