Ofsted is from today seeking views on how childminder agencies should be inspected.
The government’s Children and Families Bill 2013 will allow for the creation of childminder agencies. They will help childminders with training, support, advice and networks. The aim is to better support existing childminders, attract new high quality providers into the market, and provide more choice for parents.
In light of this development Ofsted will need to have a framework for regulating childminder agencies, the first of which are set to be created later this year once the legislation is on the statute books. In developing this framework, Ofsted has sought to maximise its knowledge and experience in regulating and inspecting similar services.
- there should be a judgement on the overall effectiveness of the childminder agency;
- childminder agency inspection judgements should be made against the four point scale of outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate;
- childminder agencies should have no notice of Ofsted inspections;
- Ofsted inspectors should take into account the way in which childminder agencies use self-evaluation to improve;
- inspection judgements should take into account the views of individual childminders and parents; and
- inspection reports should be published on the Ofsted website.
Lorna Fitzjohn, Ofsted National Director of Childminding and Regional Director for the West Midlands, said:'Childminders will have the option of joining an agency from later this year. We want to make sure that they are inspected in a way that is fair to agencies and which gives assurance to parents.
'As the inspectorate and regulator, we will have a big role in helping childminder agencies in improving the quality of early years provision. Our inspectors will work with agencies to help drive improvements and give young children at least a good start in life.'