IMPORTANT INFO FROM OFSTED AND DfE
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    Default IMPORTANT INFO FROM OFSTED AND DfE

    Admin have been working very hard to get answers from Ofsted and The Department For Education to those questions that members ask on a regular basis.

    The attached is an information document put together by myself and Sarah and the original letter/email sent to myself.

    I hope this is helpful and I'm sure it will result in a hearty debate
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    How do I see the attachment?

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    Quote Originally Posted by alex__17 View Post
    How do I see the attachment?
    They should be within my post. Can you not see them? Are you on a phone?

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    Yes on the iPad...will try on desktop version!

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    Quote Originally Posted by alex__17 View Post
    Yes on the iPad...will try on desktop version!
    I've looked on the iPad and can open the attachments. They should appear as PDFs under my text in the first post

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    Thank you both for doing this. Interesting response from Ofsted re childminders own children in numbers.

    xx

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    Managed to read them, couldn't see them using childminding forum app but fine on safari.

    Many thanks will save for future reference, helps with the continuity of care questions

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    It doesn't apply to me but know that someone on here or Independent facebook page asked a question about when her husband was at home could he be responsible for looking after their own children therefore meaning she could take on more spaces - I'm sure she was told by Ofsted that the children remained in HER numbers. Really wish they would come up with a comprehensive list of scenarios for Continuity of Care and not just leave it up to us to interpret 3 or 4 examples they give, justify, risk assess but still get shot down in flames by Ofsted.

    Thank you Rick and the rest of the admin team for trying to get some simple answers from "the Powers that Be" would probably get more sense from the "Knights who say Ni" - not intended to be a pun on your name Rick - characters from Monty Python.

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    thank you ...

    however, I'm not entirely certain that they have actually made anything any clearer!! I have re read the letters several times now, and it is still all down to personal interpretation of the EYFS regarding increasing your numbers.

    But they have answered the question about childminders own children.

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    Yes we saw that thread Hector's House - it was started the same day we got the letter from Gill Jones (deputy director - Ofsted) with the information that is 'may' be ok.

    With Ofsted the devil is always always always in the detail ... one little word ... 'may' changes the meaning of the sentence.

    They will never say it 'will' be ok because they need to leave it open for their inspectors to say 'no you are doing it wrong' when they see a cm not managing their numbers.

    It will always be grey ... however, it's the best we are going to get I think! x

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  14. #11
    Simona Guest

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    Thank you for sharing this letter ....4 issues were clarified

    CMs can easily print this letter and keep it in their folder until inspection day...just in case the inspector attempts to 'interpret' the Variations her own way....
    The DfE say clearly that 'exceptions' adopted by CMs are subject to demonstrating the 'individual needs of all children are met'....this has been very clear for a while and subject to a good RA etc etc....so hope no more confusion


    1. caring for 6 under 8...that has never been a question to raise or be confused about...it was ...is... and always will be that number and clearly stated in the EYFS 2012 and 2014

    2. CMs' own children
    YES absolutely.... they must be in our ratio when minded children are present
    EYFS never clarified what would happen if our own children were at preschool or in the care of relatives
    I think the answer from the DfE is very clear and a good result for CMs

    3. How long is a variation for?
    I personally have always understood it had to be for a limited time...also confirmed at the CMs Ofsted workshop shortly after EYFS 2012 allowed for self variations
    Again the confirmation in the letter is welcome

    4. Reasons for variations: continuity of care, new business
    Continuity of care is allowed as long as the number does not exceed 6 under 8...very clear in EYFS
    I have always said that 'new business' was never specified but I received warnings and much more....that it was the wrong thing to say and went against admin advice
    it was none other than a challenge to what was being advised and which I personally thought was not correct

    We now read that new business is one of the exceptions we can apply
    the letter clearly says that neither DfE nor Ofsted prescribe examples: 'any exceptions'..... 'for whatever reasons' adopted by a CM but subject to the care of all children being met.

    I hope this puts the confusion at rest and CMs who intend to use variations gather confidence from this

    It is now a question of making this known to ALL cms and apply continuity of judgement from inspectors and no more individual interpretations from them...all subject to a CM being able to evidence that all children's needs are being met.

    Again thank you for sharing this letter and I personally will raise this at Ofsted Big Conversation....not for further clarification but to get it in writing and maybe attempt to alter the EYFS wording when it gets updated next time around.

    We know that the Factsheet 'The number of children providers are allowed to care' has been withdrawn...we can only hope this is for the reason that wording will be much clearer when it is re published
    Last edited by Simona; 09-10-2014 at 08:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simona View Post
    Thank you for sharing this letter ....4 issues were clarified

    CMs can easily print this letter and keep it in their folder until inspection day...just in case the inspector attempts to 'interpret' the Variations her own way....
    The DfE say clearly that 'exceptions' adopted by CMs are subject to demonstrating the 'individual needs of all children are met'....this has been very clear for a while and subject to a good RA etc etc....so hope no more confusion


    1. caring for 6 under 8...that has never been a question to raise or be confused about...it was ...is... and always will be that number and clearly stated in the EYFS 2012 and 2014

    2. CMs' own children
    YES absolutely.... they must be in our ratio when minded children are present
    EYFS never clarified what would happen if our own children were at preschool or in the care of relatives
    I think the answer from the DfE is very clear and a good result for CMs

    3. How long is a variation for?
    I personally have always understood it had to be for a limited time...also confirmed at the CMs Ofsted workshop shortly after EYFS 2012 allowed for self variations
    Again the confirmation in the letter is welcome

    4. Reasons for variations: continuity of care, new business
    Continuity of care is allowed as long as the number does not exceed 6 under 8...very clear in EYFS
    I have always said that 'new business' was never specified but I received warnings and much more....that it was the wrong thing to say and went against admin advice
    it was none other than a challenge to what was being advised and which I personally thought was not correct

    We now read that new business is one of the exceptions we can apply
    the letter clearly says that neither DfE nor Ofsted prescribe examples: 'any exceptions'..... 'for whatever reasons' adopted by a CM but subject to the care of all children being met.

    I hope this puts the confusion at rest and CMs who intend to use variations gather confidence from this

    It is now a question of making this known to ALL cms and apply continuity of judgement from inspectors and no more individual interpretations from them...all subject to a CM being able to evidence that all children's needs are being met.

    Again thank you for sharing this letter and I personally will raise this at Ofsted Big Conversation....not for further clarification but to get it in writing and maybe attempt to alter the EYFS wording when it gets updated next time around.

    We know that the Factsheet 'The number of children providers are allowed to care' has been withdrawn...we can only hope this is for the reason that wording will be much clearer when it is re published

    On the issue of timing: it says limited time but of course how long is that? Admin cannot see any point in Ofsted/Dfe allowing continuity of care (for parent's hours changing etc) if you have to tell them after a limited time that you now cannot look after them. Surely keeping a settled child in your care whilst being able to demonstrate to an inspector or cm agency and parents that quality of care and learning is to a high level is the better solution.

    On the issue of new business, admin still urge caution. There seems little point in clause 3.41 if you can simply exceed ratios, with no exceptional circumstances. The sentence you describe above states that it still needs to be an 'exceptional mix' so admin will still state you cannot exceed ratios for new business. On the issue of the term 'new business', I agree it is not in the EYFS because, as far as I know, it is a term only used on this forum and FB group; it is not a term used by Ofsted or DfE. It is an easy way of saying 'taking on a new child which takes you over ratios'.

    Clause 3.41 states no more than 3 young children and 3.30 states 'Exceptionally, and where the quality of care and safety and security of children is maintained, changes to the ratios may be made'.

    Our intention was to provide the information and childminders can interpret it how they wish but we are not going to potentially risk our members' businesses by stating you can exceed ratios with no exceptional reason. Unfortunately, as you know, you won't get accurate answers because every setting and situation is different and Ofsted and DfE don't want to tie themselves down to specifics.

    In any case, I hope member's have found the information helpful. I will see if I can get a firmer answer on 'limited time' and exceeding ratios without an exceptional circumstance.

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  18. #13
    Simona Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    On the issue of timing: it says limited time but of course how long is that? Admin cannot see any point in Ofsted/Dfe allowing continuity of care (for parent's hours changing etc) if you have to tell them after a limited time that you now cannot look after them. Surely keeping a settled child in your care whilst being able to demonstrate to an inspector or cm agency and parents that quality of care and learning is to a high level is the better solution.

    On the issue of new business, admin still urge caution. There seems little point in clause 3.41 if you can simply exceed ratios, with no exceptional circumstances. The sentence you describe above states that it still needs to be an 'exceptional mix' so admin will still state you cannot exceed ratios for new business. On the issue of the term 'new business', I agree it is not in the EYFS because, as far as I know, it is a term only used on this forum and FB group; it is not a term used by Ofsted or DfE. It is an easy way of saying 'taking on a new child which takes you over ratios'.

    Clause 3.41 states no more than 3 young children and 3.30 states 'Exceptionally, and where the quality of care and safety and security of children is maintained, changes to the ratios may be made'.

    Our intention was to provide the information and childminders can interpret it how they wish but we are not going to potentially risk our members' businesses by stating you can exceed ratios with no exceptional reason. Unfortunately, as you know, you won't get accurate answers because every setting and situation is different and Ofsted and DfE don't want to tie themselves down to specifics.

    In any case, I hope member's have found the information helpful. I will see if I can get a firmer answer on 'limited time' and exceeding ratios without an exceptional circumstance.
    Thank you Rick

    Limited time...I am fairly clear on what that entails from the Ofsted workshop I organized and attended...and of course it is not ever going to be 'for ever' as children move to school or other matters can arise
    Either DfE and Ofsted trust us to make the exceptions or we are going to have to raise questions ad infinitum....I recall Truss saying she wanted more independence to providers to decide what is best? but of course she has now departed

    New business...if a CM does not exceed 6 under 8 then it can be done subject to the care of other children not being affected?
    This I think may require more clarification and I have it under my radar
    New business does not mean more that 6 children under 8...that is clear and I hope no cm will ever attempt that and jeopardise their business?


    You have certainly provided the info which I hope has helped ...my personal view...is that we need that translated in plain English ...both in the EYFS and any Factsheet Ofsted may want to provide...so both the legislator and regulator work in unison and sing from the same hymn sheet!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simona View Post
    Thank you Rick

    Limited time...I am fairly clear on what that entails from the Ofsted workshop I organized and attended...and of course it is not ever going to be 'for ever' as children move to school or other matters can arise
    Either DfE and Ofsted trust us to make the exceptions or we are going to have to raise questions ad infinitum....I recall Truss saying she wanted more independence to providers to decide what is best? but of course she has now departed

    New business...if a CM does not exceed 6 under 8 then it can be done subject to the care of other children not being affected?
    This I think may require more clarification and I have it under my radar
    New business does not mean more that 6 children under 8...that is clear and I hope no cm will ever attempt that and jeopardise their business?


    You have certainly provided the info which I hope has helped ...my personal view...is that we need that translated in plain English ...both in the EYFS and any Factsheet Ofsted may want to provide...so both the legislator and regulator work in unison and sing from the same hymn sheet!
    Thanks Simona and yes wouldn't it be preferable to have it in plain English? I shall go back to the powers that be and see if we can get something firmer on this.
    On new business, it certainly is against the EYFS wording and whenever that happens it should be treated with caution. Although we are in charge of our own variations, it would still be our advice to contact Ofsted and talk it through. You might get the standard response or you might get some help, it depends who you get on the other end of the line

  21. #15
    Simona Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    Thanks Simona and yes wouldn't it be preferable to have it in plain English? I shall go back to the powers that be and see if we can get something firmer on this.
    On new business, it certainly is against the EYFS wording and whenever that happens it should be treated with caution. Although we are in charge of our own variations, it would still be our advice to contact Ofsted and talk it through. You might get the standard response or you might get some help, it depends who you get on the other end of the line
    I am afraid we should not accept advice depending on who is on the other end of the line...they should know their job and advise accordingly

    Despite the letter I still feel...my view of course...that we cannot trust what has been written and caution needs to be taken?...so we are going round in forever increasing circles.

    That won't do...CMs deserve better and again OBC is my point of reference in future and I intend to put this across very firmly.

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    thank you to admin for taking the time and battling up hills to get some answers. Not sure that we did from the dfe but certainly looks better from the Ofsted answers
    Debbie

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    Some extra information relating to the above, attached.

    Summary:
    *There are no scenarios whereby you should take on a new child with no exceptional or continuity of care circumstances which takes you over ratios as outlined in clause 3.41.

    *On timing of variations, it gives a standard answer but I believe my assumption of being able to prove to an inspector how you are meeting the needs of each child will be acceptable and there is no finite length of time for which a variation exists. It lasts until the situation changes, such as a child leaves, taking you back to 3 EY children.

    *I also asked about twins. Again no precise answer. An inspector would check your actions at inspection.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Rick; 29-10-2014 at 11:47 AM.

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  26. #18
    Simona Guest

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    Thank you for your time and sharing this added information.
    I have to admit one of the replies is in total contradiction to what I heard someone say ...and that person was from Ofsted too....a top manager whose reply is on record.

    I feel that Ofsted are trying to interpret the EYFS themselves...then each inspector does its own version too
    They must have thousands of queries on this matter...so why does Ofsted not check with the DfE itself and solve it once and for all?

    The main aim is to be sure never to go over 6 children under 8...the rest is a question of 'give them a call and ask'.

    I did raise this at the last London OBC and looks like it goes back on the agenda

    Thanks again

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  28. #19
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    I have read all the letters thanks and it's all still double Dutch to me. Why can't it just be one way or no way. 3 under 5, 1 under 1 , no exceptions. Simple!! It would be so much easier for everybody. We wouldn't have to think can we cant we. 3 under five is enough anyway in my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toddlers896 View Post
    I have read all the letters thanks and it's all still double Dutch to me. Why can't it just be one way or no way. 3 under 5, 1 under 1 , no exceptions. Simple!! It would be so much easier for everybody. We wouldn't have to think can we cant we. 3 under five is enough anyway in my opinion.
    Twins are surely an exception? Or siblings born within the same year? So under 1's would be 2 under 1.

 

 
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