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Childcare is to be deregulated

(60 Posts)
Italiana Mon 12-Nov-12 15:52:51

It has just been announced that childcare will be deregulated via the Children and Families Bill

Government 'plans to deregulate childcare' in children and families bill

By Gabriella Jozwiak, Monday 12 November 2012

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Childcare regulations may be relaxed by an amendment to the children and families bill, CYP Now has learned.

Deregulation could mean ratios of childminders to children would decrease. Image: Martin Figura

Decreased ratios of staff to children and lower qualification requirements could be included in the legislation, according to a source working closely with the coalition government’s childcare commission.

The source said a “form of deregulation” would be added to the bill that would affect childminders and group level childcare providers, but they were unsure about the exact form the deregulation might take.

The early years sector has expressed concern at the proposal, which follows suggestions for deregulation made by children’s minister Elizabeth Truss earlier this year.

“Any form of watering down of regulation and ratios or qualifications can only be damning to good quality early years childcare,” said Denise Burke, director of United for All Ages and the Good Care Guide.

“If we were talking about taking away some of the burden of registration and paperwork required for inspection, that would be a good thing, but if we’re talking about regulation on ratios or dumbing down of qualifications, that would be a very bad move.”

Parliament is expected to introduce the bill in January 2013, meaning any amendments would have to be announced before that date.

The National Childminding Association's (NCMA) director of professional standards, Stuart Turner, said he hoped this would provide an opportunity to debate the amendment before it becomes law.

"As our members are very concerned about possible changes to childminding regulations and ratios in England, if the rumours about the bill are true, NCMA would welcome the scrutiny that a parliamentary process would ensure," said Turner.

June O’Sullivan, chief executive of the London Early Years Foundation, said she was unsurprised by the suggestion.

“Our minister is quite determined to take this through even though I don’t think the sector is supportive of this and I don’t think it’s in the sector’s interests,” she said, referring to Truss.

Truss has suggested adopting a model of childcare regulation similar to that used in the Netherlands in a paper for the think-tank Centre Forum.

“There is a political drive for this in terms of trying to make childcare more cost effective, but it may well prove to be more costly as it did in Holland,” continued O’Sullivan.

The Department for Education has been contacted for a response.

Italiana Wed 14-Nov-12 13:02:48

Noblegiraffe as a parent you should write in to Truss and ask her just that....all this is to address parents concerns about cost of childcare but there are also other worries including how many children we can care for and Mr Anchovy has addressed that
As previousy said some c/ms caring for 5 are now reconsidering however it is not compulsory

I do have a rough idea about agencies because Truss gave these to us at our meeting....but we have to wait and see

Mr Anchovy Red tape is not just what you have outlined...there is much more and it has increased since this govt took office...the ones who can tell you are c/ms experiencing it first hand...neither Data Protection nor planning are so big that cannot be done away with but red tape has to relate to what is unnecessary to keep children safe...
I wonder what your c/ms clients feel...for me red tape is also Terms and Conditions imposed by LAs and representing associations that takes away independence and the right to reflect on what is best for my practice...would be great to compare
We seem to have arrived at a point when this needs to be addressed recently and Truss has mentioned some in her interview...hope she carries them out

ZuleikaD Mon 19-Nov-12 19:13:20

This is why childcare needs to be regulated.

squinker45 Mon 19-Nov-12 20:08:37

Hmm where does it say that this woman was not subject to any regulation?

fraktion Mon 19-Nov-12 20:16:36

I think this is a first for me but if there were a like button I would have use it, Zuleika. Spot on.

Strix Tue 20-Nov-12 11:19:45

That whole situation has a whole lot more than lack of regulation going on.

A lot of parent (and child careers) support reduced red tape (i. e. deregulation). There is a place for some kind of inspection. But there is also a widely held view that OFSTED's powers are too great, and they often overstep the mark withouth any consequence. There is an e-petition (which is unfortunately now closed so I can't sign it) asking for the OFSTED quango to be shut down.

I wonder... How many people work for ofsted, and what does it cost to run annually. Perhaps the budget should be slashed and that money given to primary schools so they could reduce the class size? Or maybe back to parent so they can pay for their childcare? Or, hey, how bout this.... Let us keep our child benefit.

fraktion Tue 20-Nov-12 12:08:55

The issues people have with OFSTED frequently aren't related to regulation though. They are just enforcing badly worded legislation which obliges CMs and out of school clubs to implement EYFS.

Collective childcare had been regulated for a long time, since the 19th century. Up until recently the regulation was minimal - it concerned who was looking after children, how many and where to ensure that children weren't placed at risk. Then some busybodies decided that it should be compulsory for all children to be educated and observed every single waking moment and it all went downhill.

CMs generally are, and should be, safety conscious and that is partly down to the requirements to assess risk and prove that they've done so.

AlanMoore Tue 20-Nov-12 12:22:39

I use a nursery for my two and work in a heavily regulated profession myself. Yes paperwork can be a pain in the arse and nobody enjoys inspections but I am not in favour of deregulation of child care AT ALL.

Strix Tue 20-Nov-12 13:05:58

I actually think what we are talking about is a degree of reduced regulation. I don't think anyone would be in favour of none at all. But I do think what we have now (EYFS is a good example) is a bit OTT.

Mum2Luke Tue 20-Nov-12 17:16:15

Reading this has made me glad I resigned from childminding. All the work us cms put into our jobs is going to waste simply because of de-regulation.

I have NVQ Level 3, certificate in Paediatric First Aid, numerous training courses attended and for what?

I am now working part-time, cannot afford a childminder even if I worked full-time as we don't get any childcare help but if I was looking for one I would still want he/she to have some sort of qualification(NVQ Level 2/NNEB, Safeguarding children and First Aid) to mind my son if he was a baby or toddler.

AmberLeaf Tue 20-Nov-12 17:41:16

I don't think the pay child minders get reflects the level of hoop jumping they have to do.

I know of lots of brilliant child minders who left child minding a few years back due to ofsted inspections etc. not that they had bad ofsteds, just the stress of the process.

There most certainly should be some regulations, paediatric first aid being a must, but I think if parents want a nursery type setting and all that goes with it, they should pay nursery prices. I think some of the regulations are prohibitive and it doesn't surprise me that there is a lack of childminder vacancies in most areas.

Ive known child minders who had all the right qualifications etc, but weren't especially good IMO. All the right boxes being ticked doesn't necessarily mean they are better at their job.

I would want someone whos home is safe, who has nice toys and books, who takes my child out to the park to feed the ducks etc, who feeds them adequately and who is kind and caring. Basically someone who will do the same sort of things I would do with my child. I would want my pre-schooler cared for not taught.

AmberLeaf Tue 20-Nov-12 17:43:45

Oh and I wouldn't choose a childminder who had dogs, but I know that is just my own preference and not everyone would mind a dog in the setting.

Strix Tue 20-Nov-12 20:28:07

Yes, I agree with the regulation you have listed, amber. But some of the things ofsted rate childminders on is not aligned with what I would consider important. For example, their nutritional guidelines aren't nearly as strict as mine. But some of their disciplinary guidelines I think are a bit mambo palm by. I once had a childminder who got marked down for having a "naughty stool". And in my house the naughty step is very well used. I think a bit of time out is a good thing. But OFSTED said it was demoralising. I want my child to be taught right from wrong. I don't want a teenager who thinks their are no consequences for his/her behaviour.

So basic first aid, health and safety, and a natural knack for children are all on my list. But OFSTED's list is in some respects quite different.

Strix Tue 20-Nov-12 20:31:04

Can I just say that I really hate the apple spell checker. Mamby pamby is what I meant to say about their disciplinary guidelines.

littleducks Tue 20-Nov-12 20:46:20

I can't really come to a proper opinion without the full details but I think I am generally in favour.

I used a CM for a period of time, it was very expensive. For the school run to drop off at school £15 (with holiday pay although it was a term time contract hmm). There was no 'education' going on, dd was sitting in a car.

For something like that I would rather pay someone with no qualifications, to walk her to school with her own children. There are mums who would like a bit over extra cash doing that.

When I looked at nurseries and preschool both my children attended places that had qualified primary school teachers there. I made that decision without ofsted.

AmberLeaf Tue 20-Nov-12 20:48:24

grin I love duff spell checks!

HolyBrrrrrrBatman Tue 20-Nov-12 22:10:22

I don't think the case in that link has got anything to do with regulation tbh.

I'm sure if Ofsted rocked up and asked her 'true or false, it's ok to go to the shops and leave 7 little children, including at least 4 under 3 home by themselves?' she'd be able to say all the right things.

In the same way that someone with a CRB check can abuse children. Someone with a first aid qualification can panic in an emergency. Someone with an NVQ in childcare or a degree in early years can sit them in front of the TV and ignore them all day.

I think there is an over reliance on regulation to the point that people have stopped using their own common sense.

Italiana Tue 20-Nov-12 22:36:27

There is a vast different between a 'naughty step' and 'time out'
Naughty is a word good and qualified practiitoners rarely use, the naughty step is humiliating..see Steve Biddulph or Jennie Lindon
Time out is for reflection on actions and consequences and you never leave a child alone at time out but talk sensibly and encourage good behaviour

Ofsted do not have a list..neverseen one in 5 inspections, they judge on good practice and behaviour management I hope?
We do not have nutritional guidelines just feed the children a well balanced diet which is learnt at NVQ3...mine is mainly freshly cooked and mediterrenean= healthy and yummy!

HolyBrrrrrrBatman Tue 20-Nov-12 22:39:35

'Ofsted do not have a list'

they must have some sort of list/guidelines/rules to work from, how else do they know what is currently considered 'good practice'.

littleducks Tue 20-Nov-12 22:49:11

In reception at my kids school they have a time out chair

The kids all come out saying x sat on the naughty chair today wink

It's a punishment, like standing on the wall at break time or having your name put on the 'sad cloud' but I'm not sure I would go so far as to say its humiliating!

Strix Wed 21-Nov-12 06:48:21

Well, I think a child who has been naughty should be told so. How else will they understand what they have done wrong? Children are very resilient and they can only learn from us if we are honest with them. There seems to be all kinds of hysteria regarding the word "naughty" in childcare and education. It has been replaced with the word "silly". So children grow up thinking silly means naughty, but they get the same message on their way to the naughty silly step.

When I use the word silly to represent its true meaning, it's very clear my children think I am cross and that it is a bad thing. So, I tell them what silly really means.

Incidentally "time out" is as far as I know the American translation to the British "naughty step".

These things are a bit trivial in my view. I don't need ofsted to regulate them for me. As a parent these are questions I would ask before engaging a childminder. But what I would choose may not be right for someone else's children.

OFSTED's nutritional standards are frankly lacking, and on that point, they should raise their game.

Italiana Wed 21-Nov-12 07:31:26

Ofsted have a set of criteria by which they judge practice which is set in the EYFS requitrements...we ourselves can check they are using them appropriately when grading us and challenge if necessary

Repeat: time out and naughy chair are different, read some of the books then discuss further

You can have time out sitting on a chair...yes that is usually the practice and the aim is to talk about what happened as long as you know what triggered the behaviour (ABC of behaviour guideline)
Children should not be punished and are not silly,they need guidance to learn good behaviour
If you repeatedly have to use your 'naughty step' your strategy for behaviour management needs reviewing...try something more positive, I have used it just 3 times in years of practice

I would never give my children to anyone who uses the naughty anything! what you have described above are actually humiliating tactics...sad to hear parents do not challenge the school

Ofsted do not have nutritional standards...can I see them please, I use my own which compare favourably with those used by parents
Knowing how to feed kids properly is not rocket science

ZuleikaD Wed 21-Nov-12 07:58:54

The thing I find absurd about the EYFS is that it was a way of formally spelling out what good, involved parents do with their children in a domestic setting. The idea was that that model would be carried into institutional settings such as nurseries and daycare so they were replicating what went on in homes. To then carry that back to CMs in a formal way when it's what good CMs do anyway is - to me - absurd. Yes to keeping children safe, to good nutrition, a stimulating environment, knowledge of first aid. No to pages of assessments, planning, observations, feedback and so on.

SquishyCinnamonSwirls Wed 21-Nov-12 08:23:30

I wish we had a "like" button, as I would "like" Zuleika's post. This is exactly what I feel.
I cm, I love what I do and I love the children I look after. They are treated as extended family, they receive love, praise and disclipine equally. My home is safe, comfy and a pleasant place to be. I'm an intelligent woman, risks have been assessed and mitigated. I am NOT a teacher. I provide learning experiences, challenges and encourage children to try harder, to succeed at things just as I do with my own dd. The files of paperwork are above and beyond.

fraktion Wed 21-Nov-12 10:33:43

Quite zuleika

OFSTED have no nutritional guidelines or standards. It comes under the rather nebulous area of healthy children/lifestyle which it obviously is part of. I don't see how they could insist on any kind of standard though. It was hard getting school dinners sorted and they have dedicated catering staff. I don't remember there being anything on the ICO about nutrition though. IMO if it's that important it goes on the most basic level of training that CMs receive. Which tells us a lot about what is important now looking at CYPOP5....

Strix Wed 21-Nov-12 11:16:46

So nutrition is high on my list, but not ofsted's. other stuff is high on their list, but not mine. So, do they regulated against too much? I think probably yes.

I don't need my 2 or 3 year old to be scored against EYFS. And I don't wish to pay the childminder to fill out unnecessary paperwork. I would far prefer she was sitting on the floor playing.

Some of the stuff OFSTED regulates is good, appropriate, and even necessary, but not all of it. So, if I knew more about the alleged plans for deregulation I may well support it.

Our naughty step is a place the children go when they talk back to the au pair to sit quietly, when they come off we discuss why they were sent there and they apologise to au pair. I'm not sure how that differs from time out.

I also don't think it is your or ofsted's place to pass judgement on my parenting skills.

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