Ofsted feedback from OBC NW meeting 10.2017
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    Default Ofsted feedback from OBC NW meeting 10.2017

    Claire Brunner and I were given the opportunity to raise some issues with Ofsted after the Ofsted Big Conversation North West open meeting on Saturday 7th October. Our questions were kindly answered by Gill Jones – deputy director of early years at Ofsted.

    Question: Delays with registering childminders

    Pre-registration childminders are reporting long delays with the registration process. Many are waiting to work and 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 registered childminders we can get quickly up and running?

    Response from Ofsted: During the summer period we always receive an increase in applications for providers who are wishing to operate from September. In addition to this, we have experienced a 34% increase between May – July in Childminder applications when compared to last year.
    There are external factors that impact the application process such as working with other agencies. Applications where there are concerns may also take longer and in some instances providers may not be available for registration visits. It is worth noting that once the visit is completed there are a number of processes to follow before the registration decision is made.
    Providers should be advised that the registration visit is not the final decision and that processes such as drafting and submitting the toolkit along with recommendations and reviews of all the matters relating to the registration, needs to take place before the registration decision is made.
    There was a delay during the summer but this has now been resolved.

    Sarah’s comments – wow it’s brilliant that they have so many applications that Ofsted can’t keep up! I am delighted we are welcoming lots of new childminders to the profession.
    ………………………………..

    Question: 30 hour rule for children in school nurseries

    How will Ofsted judge childminders in the holidays if they have 4 or 5 children under 5? Childminders are concerned because inspectors are often very harsh on them if they have more than 3 under 5.

    Response from Ofsted: Childminders are permitted under the EYFS to exceed the ratios as long as they can demonstrate that they have thought about, and can meet, the needs of all the children.

    Follow up question: Do all inspectors know the new rule? Childminders would like reassurance.

    Response from Ofsted: This is not a ‘new rule’ – the arrangements in EYFS on this have been in place since 2012. All inspectors have been briefed / trained about this.

    Claire’s thoughts: The 30-hour rule referred to is new. Instead of an exemption or variation cms are being actively encouraged by Govt to go over ratio in specific circumstances which didn’t even exist in 2012.

    If colleagues have any issues with feedback from inspectors relating to variations and partnership working with other settings we encourage them to speak to either Sarah or Claire and we will pass the information back to Ofsted.

    Follow-up question: What record keeping is going to be required for nursery children who attend maybe only 2 or 3 hours wrap around?

    Ofsted response: Childminders must meet the requirements of the EYFS – we do not require them to do anything over and above this.

    Follow-up question: 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 response: Childminders must meet the requirements of the EYFS – we do not require them to do anything over and above this.

    ………………………………..

    Question: What do childminders need to do about Ofsted and DBS checks when they get married?

    Answer: Ofsted ask to see proof of name change which is usually a marriage certificate. They say they would not request a new DBS.
    Sarah says: Ofsted then send out a new certificate in the new married name to be displayed. You cannot work until you have your new certificate in your married name…
    ………………………………..

    Question: 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.
    Can Ofsted please look at this because it is one more area where we fell that we are being discriminated against as group settings don’t have to have their cover/volunteer registered to their settings at all – they can take staff sent from any agency – why this extra hoop for us?

    Ofsted response: Ofsted will only accept DBS disclosure notices obtained via another organisation if it is an enhanced level check, the position applied for states ‘child workforce’ and the individual has also registered with the update service. Furthermore, we will only accept their DBS check if it has been obtained for a home-based role. This is because home-based DBS checks may include other matters that will not be on a ‘normal’ check, but which may impact on the person’s suitability.

    Childminders must ensure that people looking after children are suitable to fulfil the requirements of their roles. If a childminder wished to employ an agency member of staff they would be required to have checks undertaken by Ofsted and they would need to submit an EY2 form. The provider would be required to ensure that until a suitability decision has been made they must ensure the individual is supervised at all times and is never left alone with children.

    Sarah & Claire’s response: this clearly needs to be unpicked in more detail. What ‘other matters’ are specific to childminders that don’t affect suitability for staff in nurseries, pre-schools or schools? Also if a DBS is in place and an EY2 is in process, does this mean that agency staff MIGHT be used – and if so, could they be used in ratio? It is something we need to find out…

    ………………………………..

    Question: Informing Ofsted about family members who leave home
     Policy state we do need to inform Ofsted – confirmed on the Childcare Registration Facebook page
     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 response: The requirement is to inform Ofsted of every person over the age of 16 who lives, works or is to work on the premises where, and at the time when, childminding is provided and demonstrate that they are suitable to be in regular contact with young children. There is no requirement to a childminder’s registration where they must inform Ofsted when a family member/person the age of 16 leaves home.

    ………………………………..

    Question: Suitability letters
    The Childcare Registration Facebook page confirms that family members no longer receive suitability letters. However, we are still waiting for confirmation about whether staff will receive them. Can this be clarified?

    Ofsted response: Family members do not actually 'register' with us, they just apply to be added to the childminder’s registration and undertake checks through Ofsted. There is no certificate but the childminder gets a letter once we deem them suitable or not.

    Sarah and Claire’s response – this is not answering the question. We will re-ask it…

    ………………………………..

    Question: 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 and that the form must be signed by the assistant 6 monthly.

    Ofsted response: This is not a requirement of the EYFS and therefore there is no such need for a form to be signed by the assistant every six months. The childminder must ensure that people looking after children are suitable to fulfil the requirements of their roles.

    Sarah’s response: I have written a blog about childminder assistants and the requirement to check staff suitability which might help colleagues:
    Childminders and staff suitability.

    ………………………………..

    Question: reassuring providers about the DBS changes

    Ofsted response: Gill Jones, deputy director of early years at Ofsted states: "There is no requirement to let the update service continue. The decision to let it lapse would have no consequence." This was confirmed by Ofsted at the Yorks & Humber OBC, where the question was asked of Ofsted directly why continuing to subscribe to the update service is described as best practice when there can be no benefit to childminders of doing so. Ofsted confirmed that continuing to subscribe might be of benefit to larger settings with staff.

    ………………………………..

    Further questions

    Childminders asked a number of questions which are not within Ofsted’s remit to answer - they relate to DfE decisions. What we asked was ‘can Ofsted please request this to be revisited by DfE – it is an area of practice where we are being discriminated against when compared to group settings and we feel that the discrimination no longer reflects the skills, experience and qualification levels of the people doing the job’?

    The questions were:
    • 30 hours and related children – Nurseries / pre-schools can claim funding for related children – childminders cannot.
    • 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!
    • 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 and typically takes much longer than the other companies offering the same service.
    • Ratios for childminders with QTS/EYT/graduate/EYP and level 3 qualifications - 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.
    • 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 old’s birthday which might be in August. These 7 year olds are taking up a space which could be filled by younger before and after school children.

    Ofsted state: in response to all the questions above, Ofsted said ‘we can provide data and feedback to the DfE where we are requested to do so but we cannot tell the DfE what they must consider. We can share what child care providers tell us are the key challenges and what the impact is for the child care and specially the childminding sector.’


    Ofsted state: Information has been collated from Ofsted Policy, and Applications, Registration and Compliance managers.

    We hope you find this useful ... where we think they have side-stepped the questions we will ask again.

    Sarah and Claire

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    Thank you Sarah

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    Thank you.

    How you keep calm and rational whilst Ofsted either don't answer or use gobbledegook is amazing. Well done!

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    Quote Originally Posted by loocyloo View Post
    Thank you.

    How you keep calm and rational whilst Ofsted either don't answer or use gobbledegook is amazing. Well done!
    Why thank you LoocyLoo I do mutter a lot!

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