Conversation with Ofsted...
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  1. #1
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    Default Conversation with Ofsted...

    Outstanding childminder concerns discussed with Ofsted

    Saturday 7th October @ Ofsted Big Conversation North West open meeting

    We raised the following concerns with Ofsted on Saturday and will keep you updated with any feedback. We have already received a few replies – you will see them below.

    Delays with registering childminders - pre-registration childminders are still reporting long delays with the registration process. Many are waiting to work and it is impacting on sustainability. We are hearing about 2 – 4 week delays waiting for certificates to be printed and sent out as well. Please can this be looked at urgently because we need all the newly registering childminders we can get quickly up and running?
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    30 hour rule for children in school nurseries - will childminders be required to demonstrate partnership working with other settings? We ask this because very often they won’t work with us which leaves us open to criticism during inspection.

    Ofsted reply – Local Authorities are being challenged to show how settings are working in partnership with childminders during regional meetings with Ofsted – this shows that Ofsted have an expectation that other settings work in partnership, not just us. Ofsted gave the example of how we write a transition report and it isn’t read by school – they are challenging schools to ensure they read and use the information that is passed to them.
    Inspectors will ask for evidence of information sharing and childminders should be able to demonstrate that they have tried to share information with other settings children attend.
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    Informing Ofsted about family members who leave home
    Policy state we do need to inform Ofsted – confirmed on the Childcare Registration page. However, feedback from a childminder at the OBC London meeting is that we don’t need to inform Ofsted. Please can we have a definitive rule for this in writing?

    Ofsted reply – we need to inform them when a family member leaves home – not when they are at university or studying away and come back in the holidays.
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    Suitability letters - Childcare Registration confirms that family members are no longer receiving suitability letters. However, we are still waiting for confirmation about whether staff will receive them. Can this be clarified please?

    Ofsted reply - Ofsted confirmed during the meeting that there have been changes with suitability letters and they will take steps to ensure everyone is informed about what is happening.
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    Disqualification by association and assistants - a childminder was recently told that she must have a specific form for her assistants to confirm their ongoing suitability (the NDNA form wasn’t apparently appropriate) and that the form must be signed by the assistant 6 monthly. Childcare Registration advised us that this was not the case. However the judgement has caused a lot of confusion.
    Can Ofsted please let us know what is required in relation to assistants and how we are meant check their ongoing suitability?

    Ofsted reply - Ofsted will not comment on individual cases but they confirmed during the meeting that there isn’t a specific form to use or a set timescale – we can use any format we choose to record the information as long as it is done consistently. I mentioned that a lot of childminders have something at the top of their assistant’s register so it is confirmed every day they sign in and she said that was fine.
    Ofsted will want to see that you are being robust in asking your staff whether there are any changes to their suitability.
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    Questions we have asked Ofsted to raise with the Dept for Education
    We feel the following areas are discriminatory against childminders. We recognise that they were first introduced when the National Standards were written in 2002 and we know ask the Dept for Education to recognise that childminding has changed immeasurably since then – and we need the EYFS to move with the times.
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    Ratios for childminders with QTS / EYT / graduate / EYP and level 3 qualifications – many childminders feel those with higher qualifications should be able to work to higher or more flexible ratios in the same way as group providers. Skills are not reduced simply because the provider is in a domestic setting and in many instances childminders have far more experience than a typically young nursery nurse who has done a level 3 qualification. Higher potential earnings might also work to incentivise childminders to achieve higher qualifications which is surely good for quality…
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    30 hours and related children - nurseries / pre-schools can claim funding for related children – childminders cannot.

    **Note – Pre-school Learning Alliance are currently discussing this with DfE on our behalf as well.
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    Childminders and agency staff - it would make a lot of difference to childminders working with assistants if they could use agency staff to cover assistant / co-childminder holidays and occasional days off. However, the barrier appears to be the DBS check which must be ‘home-based’ for childminders.
    Most childminders have trusted and qualified colleagues with DBS and first aid who would happily step in but we're not allowed to use them. If the home-based DBS requirement was changed to an ordinary one then the whole issue would be solved.
    **Note – Pre-school Learning Alliance are currently discussing this with DfE on our behalf as well.
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    Childminders and the home based DBS - one has to wonder why childminders and family members still have a different DBS to other providers. It means we are limited to only being able to use one DBS provider which is more expensive than and typically takes much longer than the other companies offering the same service.
    ………………………………………
    2 hour rule for assistants - this is causing a lot of problems especially as most training courses are now midweek so the childminders are having to close – even most toddler groups go on longer than 2 hours!
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    8 year olds - childminders are asking why children have to wait until they are 8 to move into the next age range. We can now count children starting school as 5 – but have to wait for an 8 year olds’ birthday which might be August and these 7 year olds are taking up a space which could be filled by younger before and after school children.
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    Question we have asked Ofsted to raise with HMRC

    HRMC / Childcare Choices - HMRC are still making a mess of childminder details on the Childcare Choices website. Can Ofsted please request that this is revisited by HMRC urgently? It is one more area where we are being discriminated against because parents can find group providers easily - but not us.

    **Note – Pre-school Learning Alliance are currently discussing this with DfE on our behalf as well.

    Thank you, Sarah and Claire

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Thanks Sarah , I’m glad the issue of agency workers to cover assistants has been raised. It is the reason I don’t expand or have assistants as if they areoff have to let parents down which Is a sure way to lose business.

  4. #3
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    Some good questions raised there especially ones to be raised with DfE - I think the one about 8 year old's will come back saying that it's to do with the Children's Act, our local swimming pool says children under 8 have to be supervised by an adult - if the rule was changed to the academic peer group the child was in rather than actual age it could get really complicated. 8 years old is 8 years old, just like a baby under 12 months is a baby a day before their first birthday.

    Completely agree with people with a higher relevant qualification (or maybe could include graded Outstanding) should be allowed to have 4 children without it coming down to COC - I can't take on any extra children or charge any more money with my Outstanding grade, so not really an incentive to try to retain it.

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