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Plan to lower nursery staff-to-child ratio in England angers parents and providers

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Plans to ease childcare staffing ratios in nurseries in England have drawn an angry response from providers and parents who say their concerns have been ignored.The government has announced it is launching a consultation on ways to reduce childcare costs for parents, most notably by changing staff-to-child ratios so that each adult can look after five two-year-olds instead of four as currently permitted.It says the move could reduce costs by up to 15% or £40 a week for a family paying £265 a week for care for a two-year-old, if providers adopt the changes and pass on all the savings.

However, the figures have been questioned by the charity Pregnant Then Screwed, which described them as “nonsense”.Purnima Tanuku, the chief executive of the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), said: “From when this was first mooted, the sector has been saying that altering ratios for two-year-olds from 1:4 to 1:5 won’t make any meaningful difference to the cost of childcare for providers or parents.

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