In recent months, childminders have been concerned by rumours that they could be expected to demonstrate how they plan for, assess and track the learning and development of school-aged children as part of an early years inspection. This is something that that Ofsted has confirmed is not the case.
The Early Years Alliance has worked in partnership with Ofsted to produce a brief Q&A online factsheet on the rules surrounding early years inspections for childminders and other providers delivering mixed-aged care, which is available here.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said: ‘We know that confusion over this issue has been a real source of concern for our childminder members and others in the sector, and so we hope that our factsheet will provide some much-needed reassurance.
‘At a time of increased focus on early years workload concerns, and mental health and wellbeing in the sector, the last thing we want to see hardworking practitioners worrying unnecessarily about questions they might face in an inspection. As such, we are grateful to Ofsted for working with us to provide clarity on this matter.’
At Ofsted, Gill Jones, Ofsted Early Education deputy director, reported that so far providers have welcomed the new style inspections, which focus on much more time observing practice and speaking with staff, rather than looking at paperwork.
She said: ‘But I am keen to stress that we inspect early years provision – not individual children. So, inspectors will want to see how childminders are meeting the needs of all children, including those they care for after a school day. This has not changed. For childminders who only care for children after school, we will not make a judgement about the quality of education, but we will say if they are providing an effective or ineffective service. I hope this sets minds at rest and stops any unnecessary work.
‘If childminders are uncertain about our new inspection approach then they can talk to us at one of regional Ofsted Big Conversation events, or take part in one of our webinars.’