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Nursery ratios to be cut

Nursery ratios to be cut
Nurseries and childminders in England will be allowed to look after more children per adult as part of the Government's drive to cut childcare costs.

Children's Minister Liz Truss said the ratio of children to child carers can be raised where carers' qualifications meet improved standards.

Ms Truss said she wanted the UK to "move in the direction of continental European countries" with greater autonomy for nurseries and "more of a focus on professionalism".

Speaking to the Today programme, she also stressed that wages in the sector needed to rise.

"At the moment nursery workers are getting £6.60 an hour, it’s barely more than the minimum wage. I do not think that is an acceptable wage rate for what should be a professional job," she said.

Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg warned changing the ratio could undermine the quality of childcare:

"The Government isn’t listening to parents and isn’t listening to what the experts are saying about this. Under this proposal we could have child minders looking after four one year old babies. At that age it is vitally important that children are getting proper care and attention and I don’t think it’s right to change this."

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