Are you doing too much? Blog 3 - part 2
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  1. #1
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    Default Are you doing too much? Blog 3 - part 2

    Unnecessary paperwork continued…

    In part 1 of this blog - Are you doing too much? Blog 3 - part 1 I looked at some of the unnecessary paperwork childminders complete to try and tick boxes that really do not need ticking.

    Here are some more unnecessarily burdensome documents which can be consigned to the shredder – as long as you can explain verbally to an Ofsted inspector and parents what you do and how what you do benefits the children…

    Daily / weekly activity records – it is a requirement of the EYFS to share information about ‘the range and type of activities and experiences provided for children, the daily routines of the setting, and how parents and carers can share learning at home’ (requirement 3.73) with parents and you will be jotting down what they have enjoyed doing in your observations and their diaries (if you use diaries to communicate with parents).

    There is no requirement to keep further information about planned or spontaneous activities anywhere else. I have seen all sorts of ‘recommended’ planning sheets from LA advisors over the years and some are completely ridiculous in their complexity – as a rule of thumb only use a document if it makes sense to you and you find it useful!

    You can read how I do my planning for children’s learning here - it takes a few minutes per child each week to update and I've just achieved my 3rd outstanding grade from Ofsted so I know it shows what they are looking for - Sarah's Blog: Planning for play and learning.

    Parent interview checklists – you might find it useful to have a list of things to discuss with parents but it’s not a requirement of the EYFS to list everything you have discussed with parents during the initial interview - and not something Ofsted will ask to see. An inspector might say ‘what do you say to parents about…?’ but you should be able to answer that verbally.

    Parent / child questionnaires – yes it’s important to ask parents if they are happy with your service, find out any niggles and act on their comments, but you do not need to give them long written questionnaires which they will possibly feel resentful about or not complete. You might find it more useful to, for example, ask them questions at home time or email them with a quick question after work. Ask parents – ‘how would you prefer me to communicate with you?’ and try to use that method when possible.

    Transition reports – some LAs require childminders to write transition reports when children leave or move on to other settings. However, they are not currently a requirement of the EYFS and, as EYFS requirement 2.2 says, ‘Assessment should not entail prolonged breaks from interaction with children, nor require excessive paperwork’ it is important not to add more and more layers to what you do. If you want to write a transition report for the child’s next setting (which is given to parents to hand over) then go ahead - you can use the same layout / template as the statutory 2 year progress check to make it easier for yourself – but it won’t be inspected by Ofsted because it leaves with the child and inspectors do not ask to see learning records for children who have left.

    2 year progress check know how guide –

    Contract termination letter – while it is good practice to write a letter confirming the last working day with a child and reminding parents about unpaid fees or suggesting they need to stop their tax credits claim, contract termination letters are not a requirement of the EYFS. What you must do, to comply with your Information Commissioners Office registration, is inform parents about how long you will keep information related to their child and ask for written permission if you want to keep photos of the child after the child has left - if they are, for example, on your website or in photo albums.

    Holiday (and other) notification forms – will parents keep / read them? How can you best communicate with parents? We all want to cut down on how much paperwork we produce so it makes sense to ask parents how they would prefer you to share information with them and, for example, set up a closed Facebook group or email / text them with information. You can also include notes about holidays and other important events in their child’s diary (if you use one – it is not a requirement to write diaries as long as you can evidence other ways you share information) or put details about holidays etc on a website or blog and remind them when it has been updated.

    Receipts for payments – some parents might ask for a receipt but they not required by HMRC or your Ofsted registration. You can find FREE money management guides here -

    Weekly planners – the most important type of planning is individual (also known as next steps or plods), linked to children’s observations and their interests with you, at home and in other settings. You can write other planning if you find it useful but it is not required by the EYFS and it’s just as easy to download and use planning from other childminders (like me) who enjoy writing it for you – then take the bits from it that are relevant to the children in your care at the time.

    Daily fridge and freezer or cooked food temperature records – it is not a requirement of the EYFS or the guidance ‘Safer Food Better Business for childminders’ to keep daily temperature records. It is important to use the diary in ‘Safer Food Better Business for childminders’ to record if something has gone wrong such as if your freezer has defrosted overnight or if your fridge has broken but daily records or tick lists are not required.

    Safer Food better Business for childminders -

    A learning journey file – you can call it what you want and it can be online (as long as parents and children can – and do – regularly interact with it) or on paper. ‘Learning Journey’ has simply become the industry standard name for the file which contains children’s starting points, your baseline assessment, ongoing observations and assessments, the 2 year progress check, individual planning, learning characteristics, notes from parents and other settings and children’s individual tracking etc.

    Written risk assessments – it is good practice (not a requirement of the EYFS) to have a set of written risk assessments but they can be in your head if you prefer. Areas you should (not must) cover include inside the house (including resources and equipment), emergency evacuation, lost child at different venues, various types of outings (including ratios), outside play, variations (when you change your ratios from the normal 3 under 5) and overnight care – these are probably the most important to have in writing (if you are going to write them). You can have others if you find them useful – but Ofsted should not ask you for them in writing as long as you can explain them coherently during an inspection or if a child has, for example, had an accident or been lost on an outing.

    Signed attendance registers – attendance registers are retained until the child is 21 years 3 months old in a file with all other information relating to the safeguarding and welfare requirements of the EYFS such as accident, injury and first aid forms. This information is retained (partly) to protect you from historic claims of abuse. It makes sense (to me) to ask parents to sign the attendance register at the end of the month ‘to confirm hours worked’ and in case of contract / payment disputes but it is not a requirement of the EYFS to have them signed and certainly not signed every day like I’ve seen some LAs advise!

    Safeguarding file – while it is useful to have safeguarding information to hand, there is no requirement in the EYFS to have a file for safeguarding forms and booklets – and there is no requirement to print long safeguarding documents either. You can keep documents in a file on your computer where they are easily accessible – and pop other safeguarding related information such as your policy and procedures in a file with other parent information. Up-to-date safeguarding documents are listed in a pinned thread on the Independent Childminders Facebook page -

    It is important that you are confident about what you do during inspection – for some childminders this means writing things down while others are happy to chat about their procedures and ways of working.

    The main purpose of these blogs is to try and stop childminders from doing unnecessary paperwork which takes them away from the most important part of their job - playing with children.

    Remember, Ofsted are not the enemy – and they only come once every 4 (or more) years under normal circumstances – who on earth is going to look through 4 years’ worth of weekly activity plans or 4 years’ worth of fridge temperatures?

    Thank you. Sarah.

  2. Likes Maza, Rubybubbles liked this post
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    On another planet !!!
    Registered Childminder since
    June 09
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    Thanks for sharing a real eye opener x



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