May 19 2013 Latest news:
Else Kvist, Reporter
Monday, February 4, 2013
Newham has the poorest childcare in the country according to a new report.
The figures released last week by Policy Exchange ranks Tower Hamlets as providing the third poorest childcare in the country.
Using Ofsted ratings the think-tank calculated that people living in the most deprived areas receive poorer quality childcare than those in affluent areas.
The report, entitled Quality Childcare, shows that overall more than three quarters (79 per cent) of nurseries and childminders were judged ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by the government watchdog last year.
But only 64 per cent of nurseries and childminders in the most deprived areas of the country achieved the same ratings.
Only three childcare providers in Newham and six in Tower Hamlets gained the ‘outstanding’ rating compared to 19 in Wokingham which came out top. Four in Newham and two in Tower Hamlets were deemed ‘inadequate’ while none failed in Wokingham or Windsor.
Looking at the broader picture 52 in Newham and 63 in Tower Hamlets were rated ‘good’ while 41 in Newham and 29 in Tower Hamlets were deemed ‘satisfactory’.
The findings come as the government has put forward proposals to allows nurseries and childminders to look after more children while raising staff qualifications.
Ratios for two-year-olds are set to rise from four to six children per adult, and for ones-and-under from three to four children per adult.
Children’s Minister Liz Truss claims it would make more childcare places available and reduce costs for parents.
Mother of two Nicola Fitzgerald-O’Connor says she struggles to find good nurseries around Beckton where she lives.
The part-time IT support manager said: “Now that the council is closing the Chestnut Nursery in Tollgate Road which my daughter went to I don’t know where to send my son. I’m having to look towards Canary Wharf where nurseries are even more expensive.
“And with a part-time nursery place costing £600-700 for my youngest and 400 for my older daughter I have to question whether it is worth working.”
But she thinks increasing the ratio of staff from four to six for children aged over two is “far too much.”
She said: “They’re never going to get that one-to-one experience if staff are struggling to control toddlers crawling all over the place.”
Mother of two Ankita Stopa, who lives in Blackwall, said she would not be against the changes if it could be that the quality of care would not be affected. But The chemistry lecturer said: “With the current ratio the quality is already questionable.
“I find the biggest problem is the staff-turn over and inconsistencies in management affecting the relationship and understanding of individual children’s development.”
But she welcomed plans to improve qualifications and believes too much money is going to nursery management instead of staff wages.
Both Newham and Tower Hamlets councils say childcare is continuing to improve.
A Newham spokesman said: “The quality of Newham’s childcare provision is improving at a faster rate than nationally or in London.
“The number of good or outstanding provisions has risen by 20 percentage points since 2009 compared to a rise of 17 percentage points in Tower Hamlets, 11 percentage points in London and 8 percentage points in England.”
A Tower Hamlets council spokeswoman said: The quality of childcare in Tower Hamlets is continually improving and this is a result of the council supporting childcare managers and staff through training, providing one to one support, and by using council audit tools to measure childcare outcomes across the borough’.