Ofsted's consultation, closing on 21st March 2014, has followed the Children and Families Bill 2013 which includes provisions for the creation of childminder agencies. The Bill also includes regulation-making powers that will determine how childminder agencies will be permitted to operate. If the legislation is passed by Parliament, agencies will be able to start operating from September 2014. Ofsted will therefore need to be prepared to register and inspect these agencies from then. Ofsted, through the consultation, seeks your views on the proposals for inspecting childminding agencies- not the requirements that agencies will need to meet. These will be determined through regulations set out by the Department for Education.
'We want to use our existing knowledge of the sector to ensure that the regulation of childminder agencies supports improvement, is proportionate and efficient, and is centred on the needs of young children and their parents. Our proposals aim to:
- keep children safe and improve the quality of childminding through a robust inspection process
- ensure that clear judgements are made through inspection by incorporating a range of information from different stakeholders
- improve information from parents and childminders by making inspection reports user-friendly and accessible.'
Individual childminders will have a choice of registering with an agency (who will quality assure their work and provide training and support) or remaining with Ofsted (therefore still being subject to regular Ofsted inspections, and being supported by their LA).
Questions within the consultation:
- To what extent do you agree or disagree that we should give no notice of inspection to childminder agencies?
- To what extent do you agree or disagree that Ofsted should require inspectors to make an 'overall effectiveness' judgement on the overall quality of a childminder agency?
- To what extent do you agree or disagree that childminder agency inspection judgements should be made against this four-point scale? (outstanding, good, requires improvement, inadequate)
- To what extent do you agree or disagree that Ofsted's inspections should take into account the agency's ability to use self-evaluation to improve their practice?
- To what extent do you agree or disagree that Ofsted should incorporate the views of individual childminders and parents involved with agencies into the inspection evidence to contribute to its inspection judgements?
- To what extent do you agree or disagree that childminder agency inspection reports should be published on the Ofsted website?
To view and complete the consultation, please go to Ofsted Consultation