Ofsted are the childcare regulators and they register new provision and inspect childcare settings. The Ofsted website has lots of useful information for childcare providers.
New Ofsted safeguarding requirements
- Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings
- Guidance for inspectors undertaking inspection under the common inspection framework
You can download a copy of the document covering the above guidelines from the bottom of this page.
National Day Nursery Association
Free e-safety briefing – online course
New Ofsted early years films
Ofsted has put online five films about the early years:
Full and relevant qualifications
The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) defines the full and relevant qualifications that practitioners must hold, you can access useful information on the Department of Education website.
Early years annual report 2012 to 2013
In its first stand-alone early years annual report, Ofsted argue that the pre-reception age settings best equipped to help break 'the cycle of disadvantage' are those focused on helping children to learn at the earliest age.
Complaints against providers
Ofsted have confirmed that complaints made against early years providers that result in a compliance investigation will no longer automatically trigger a full inspection. They said that they will be looking at each case on its merits, carry out a risk assessment and if they believe it to be necessary will undertake a full inspection.
Ofsted early years inspection framework
Early years providers are subject to a tougher early years inspection framework, which makes clear that only provision that is good or outstanding is good enough for young children. Inspectors will use the revised framework to inspect all early years providers and make sure they are delivering a high quality service. The Ofsted rating of satisfactory is replaced with requires improvement to make it clear that anything less than good is not good enough for young children. The revised inspection framework details what an early years provider has to do to be rated outstanding or good. New guidance for inspectors has also been produced.
Ofsted inspectors are using a four-point grading scale for each of the three key judgements they make and the overall effectiveness of the provision. The grades are:
- Grade 1: outstanding
- Grade 2: good
- Grade 3: requires improvement
- Grade 4: inadequate
At the end of the inspection, inspectors give feedback on their findings and judgements to the childminder or, in group settings, to the most appropriate person - usually the registered provider, their nominee or the day-to-day manager. They also explain what needs to be done to improve aspects of the provision.
'Getting it right first time', an Ofsted report on achieving and maintaining high-quality early years provision is available to download below.
Ofsted inspection complaints process - a handy guide for early years settings
Ofsted has changed the way that it handles complaints. There are now three steps:
- If you are unhappy with the way the inspection was carried out and/or the resulting grade, contact Tribal or Prospects, depending on who carried out your inspection, so that they can start dealing with the complaint. You should then be sent a draft inspection report. Ofsted aims for 14 days but this is getting drawn out due to backlogs. Following this, if you are unhappy with the report you have ten working days from publication of the report to submit a step two complaint
- Prospects or Tribal have 30 working days to investigate a step two complaint and write to the provider with the outcome. If you are still unhappy with the outcome you have 15 working days to lodge a step three complaint with Ofsted
- At this stage, Ofsted will carry out an internal review and will look into the step two investigation. Ofsted will then write to you, normally within 30 working days with its decision. If you are still unsatisfied at this point the only step left in this process is to refer the complaint to the Independent Complaints Adjudication Service for Ofsted. This service has a limited remit in that it effectively only looks at the conduct of the inspectors and is unable to reverse earlier decision making by Tribal, Prospects or Ofsted. It is possible to bring a court case against Ofsted before the high court which is a judicial review action. Judicial review is the means by which the High Court examines the acts and/or omissions of a public body. It is not a process of appeal and therefore, the court will not substitute its own view on the matter in question. Rather, it is a review of the legality of the act or decision in question
- Paediatric first aid must be kept up to date even if you have no children on role or if you are taking a break but remaining registered
- A childminder who is working with an assistant or assistants must not leave them with any children on their own for more than two hours per day and you must have permission from the parent
- Your assistant can register in their own right as a childminder to enable them to look after children on their own. However, you may need to contact your local authority planning department for information regarding planning permission depending on the numbers of children you are registered for. This may also affect your tenancy or leasehold arrangements
- From 1 September 2012, Ofsted will remove your conditions on your certificate, you will be sent a letter with this information. Please be aware that the maximum number of six children under the age of eight years will still apply (including your own children)
- Children who attend your childminding setting, who are aged four years and in full-time education may be counted in your over fives, but will be counted in your five to eight years age group
- Ofsted's preferred method of communication is electronic, however you will be asked what your preferred method is
General update information
- From September 2012, Ofsted will no longer be vetting managers unless they are the owner as well as the manager, which means a system needs to be in place for checking the suitability of your manager. This could be when a new establishment is developed or a change of manager
- Ofsted now have a self-evaluation form team. They will still accept the old self-evaluation form, but if it is completed before September 2012, they will transfer the information from the existing form to the new one
- Settings are expected to deal with minor complaints themselves, for example Ofsted may contact you by telephone and ask what you have done about a particular issue
- If Ofsted feel that the concern or complaint is potentially a risk to children or a deterioration in provision, then this may trigger a full inspection
- Ofsted's preferred method of communication is electronically, however you will be asked what your preferred method is
- Keep checking the Ofsted website as there are many new documents or revisions that will keep you updated on the changes
If you are unable to view documents of these types, our downloads page provides links to viewing software.