ASCL does not support the key proposal in this consultation to change the current statutory minimum staff:child ratios in England for two-year-olds from 1:4 to 1:5.
We are disappointed that the proposals in the consultation focus only on increasing capacity within early years settings, without adequate consideration of necessary safeguards, or any consideration of a child’s needs or learning. Instead, we call for the government to put immediate and substantial financial investment into early years education and Covid recovery.
These proposals are particularly concerning in the context of the impact of the pandemic. There is growing evidence that the pandemic has led to significant developmental, learning and social gaps being presented by pre-school children as they move into Reception classes. This exacerbates gaps which were already widening pre-pandemic, as outlined in the last published Key Stage 1 statistical data (2019). We believe that this is the wrong time for consideration of this consultation’s proposals, when the focus should be on effective Covid recovery. We reference evidence presented in the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Attainment Gap Report 2018
in support of this point.
These proposals are an inadequate solution to the much bigger issue, i.e. the need for significant funding into early years education. In ASCL’s Blueprint for a Fairer Education System
we call for “Sufficient resources … to deliver the education to which we have agreed all children and young people are entitled.”
Full response to consultation