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CHILDMINDERS & PARENTS - step this way.......opinions needed on OFSTED and their paperwork and inconsistancies!!

322 replies

bloodsuckingLOONEY · 19/10/2007 22:36

A lot of us on here have moaned away about OFSTED and how they are getting worse and worse. Good childminders all over the country are quitting because they've had enough of the endless paperwork, training etc etc.

I want to get as many opinions as possible and send this thread to OFSTED as I feel very strongly about all this (yeah, yeah, probably hormones but still, felt like this before!)

So.....if you're a childminder....tell me what you think - I know a lot have said but please put on this thread.

Parents - what's more important to you....that we care for your little ones in a home environment, show them love and attention, play with them, take them out in the community etc etc or that we make sure you sign the attendance register, put posters all round the house, have 'wash your hands' signs in the toilet and 'no smoking' signs on all walls of the house, spend time writing endless observations as we go through the day etc etc.

I could have put it a lot better than that but I'm really tired, my eyes are getting blurred! I was going to wait until I was fresh tomorrow but I thought I'd strike whilst I feel so strongly!

ALSO....CHILDMINDERS.....what do you think of the INSPECTORS/INSPECTIONS? Fed up with them all saying different things and making you not know where on earth you stand? Fed up with some inspectors saying they'll never give out an 'Outstanding' grade just because that's them? Fed up with phoning up and being told one thing just to get into trouble for that info not being correct?

Give me all your thoughts as I really do want to send this to OFSTED but we need LOTS of you to come forward!!

Thanks, I'm off for my dinner now

OP posts:
outed · 21/10/2007 15:41

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bloodsuckingLOONEY · 21/10/2007 15:52

I'm so pleased it didn't put you off finding another childminder!

OP posts:
bloodsuckingLOONEY · 21/10/2007 17:20

Another copy and paste from chat:

shoptilidrop on Sun 21-Oct-07 17:14:41:

sorry, only just seen this, thanks
glad ive said something right!

but in all seriousness my cm is worth her weight in gold. she has taught my dd (just 21 months) counting, alapahbet and please and thank you. all her children she looks after are polite and well mannered. my dd is so happy to go there, i drop her off and she doesnt even look back, and has to be dragged away.

My cms house is lovely and she cooks lovely home cooked healthy meals for them all. She got into trouble for giving my dd a biscuit and for not getting her to wash her hands first.....
and for not having a no smoking sign and for having her own authority to apply sun cream form for the parents to sign as apparently its not the correct wording.

this is all rubbish. biscuits are fine as part of a healthy diet. washing hands before eating said biscuit is silly too.

makes me angry.its the care thats important.

OP posts:
derahCula · 21/10/2007 18:09

Posters? No smoking signs? What? My DD has been in nursery for the past year, but before that she was at a childminder's 4 days a week (from 4 months old to 1 year old) and the main reason I like it was because it was someone's house!!! I didn't want an offical-type feeling place for her, just love, cuddles and toys! There weren't any posters or such up, but this was a year ago. Why should CM's make their home look like an institution, when it makes absolutely no difference at all to the children? Would they notice if a poster is or isn't there? Would they care if certain "requires" toys are there or not? And what's this about free access to toys and drawing stuff? Um, my dd is 2 years old and I don't give her free access to anything much cos she'd eat it/scribble on the carpet with it/break it. Kids should be supervised when they play and toys (esp stuff like lego) should be kept out of their reach.

I'm very sad to hear that CM's feel they are being regulated out of a job. DD is very happy at nursery now, but before the age of 1, nursery is just too formal a setting for them imo, and I'd have been lost without my CM. OFSTED, leave the CM's alone to get on with their jobs!!!!

bloodsuckingLOONEY · 21/10/2007 18:40

Couldn't agree more! Thanks for taking the time, Parents views are invaluable!

OP posts:
ThePrisoner · 21/10/2007 18:44

One of my minding parents wants to know which hand towel he should have used after he'd used the loo!

Should he have used the one his own toddler uses, or the grown-up one that I use? What would have happened if he'd accidentally used one of the other mindee's towels? Is he even allowed to use my toilet? Should I have fumigated him before or after he left the room?

I can feel the beginnings of a policy forming in my loins.

bloodsuckingLOONEY · 21/10/2007 18:55
OP posts:
fishie · 21/10/2007 19:56

hello. my ds 2.5 has been going to childminder since he was 13m. i love her, he loves her and she provides the most excellent service. he goes to an activity every morning and out to the park in the afternoon. delicious meals are provided and she quite often takes him to park even on days when he isn't with her! he benefits from being with other children (he is only child) in a home environment and is learning a second language.

ofsted marked her down for not having enough books showing people of different races. she was rated satisfactory. i am so cross about this, she'd only just registered and set up when the inspection happened otherwise she would certainly have known what you 'need' to have in place. there is a childminder support group in the area, so they all take the mindees weekly and have additional training etc while the children do extra activities.

we live in one of the most culturally diverse places in uk, she isn't british herself and all four mindees are from different countries/racial backgrounds. most of the local activities are sure start provision and therefore have diversity provision inbuilt, so what the hell difference a few books with different hair and skin colours will make is beyond me. from what she said the inspector just didn't like her.

i agree, spot checks and one-to-one interviews would be a far more effective way of monitoring because the inspections seem so subjective as to be pointless.

fishie · 21/10/2007 20:01


he can count, recognise letters and sing songs. he paints, sticks, draws, builds, climbs and knows how to share. his manners are good. all of these things of course i would (and do) teach him but i am at work 4 days a week so it isn't me or dp doing a lot of it.

josey · 21/10/2007 20:21

Ok Looney dont know if this will help. I lost the most fantastic CM ever as she could no longer deal with the you are having forced down your necks from OFSTED. It took what was an enjoyable job for her (and she loved all the kids as if her own) and turned into hell.
When you stay in a small place like where I stayed you relay on good CM's especially when you dont have the option of a Nursery, unfortunatley there are only about 3 left in the place now and when my CM quit it had to take drastic action to to find care for my DS as at the time I needed to keep my job.
The CM in question is a very good friend now and offered to whole heartedly help with DS anytime she could and he still loves her so much, she is like a granny to him and a 2nd mum to me. Why are they forcing people like this out of the most important job you can give someone??

bloodsuckingLOONEY · 21/10/2007 20:34

Thanks fishie and Josey - yes, josey, it DOES help to see more and more of these things written down. How awful you lost a good childminder because of it. I must say, being a mum of a young ds, I feel very sad at weekends when he asks me 'why won't you play with me mummy' because I'm busy catching up. I work til 6.30pm most nights and then have the whole downstairs to clean and tidy, new sheets to put on cots and then bedtime routine. I have dinner and then I'm not fit for anything else therefore our family time at weekends has to suffer instead! It's the same for many of us, it's so unfair and I can understand why a lot quit!

OP posts:
Elk · 21/10/2007 20:58

Background - I used a childminder for dd1 while I studied until she was old enough for pre-school. dd2 is at home with me.

I used a childminder beacuse I wanted my dd in a home environment. I did not need a piece of paper/diary to tell me what my child did each day because I liked to talk to my childminder.

I didn't want my childminder to have a list of activities/ learning goals for each child to achieve because they are babies/children and should be allowed to grow at their own pace in a secure 'family athmosphere'

Very selfishly I believe a childminder should be able to rest in the evenings rather than doing paperwork as I would like her (or him) to be refreshed ready for another day of looking after small children.

I believe the 'home environment' is really important for the under three's.
They can learn so much from 'helping' round the house. For example - By helping with the washing they can learn colours and shapes in an unpressured natural way. Having children of different ages around teaches them sharing, patience and consideration from others.
Cleaning up the kitchen table after lunch/snacks helps with coordination and teaches co-operation and the importance of cleanliness to prevent the spread of germs.

Since the children who spend most of their time at a childminders can't read having signs up is ridiculous.

I can rant for a bit longer if you want.

To sum up - If I want my child in an institutional environment I would put them in a nursery. The whole point of choosing a childminder (for me) was that it was a home environment where my child could bond with her carer and the other mindees like an extended family. (Homes don't have signs telling you what you can and can't do!)

Katisha · 21/10/2007 21:46

Spot on Elk. The other thing that occurs to me is that if the government insists on regulating childminding to death it'll just go underground. People will say they are leaving their children with "family friends" and just give them cash. And Ofsted will have no idea what they are up to. All this regulation should be tempered with COMMON SENSE. But no-one is allowed to use that are they?

shortshafe · 21/10/2007 22:33

My dd is almost 1 and has been going to a fabulous CM for the last 6 months. I chose a CM over nursery as I wanted dd to have the same person looking after her each day, in a home environment, where she could do the sorts of activities I would do with her if I didn't have to work. CM and dd go out with other mindee's to park, supermarket, cafes, playgroups, farms etc. CM has an invite to dd's birthday party next week as she has become a firm friend and gives dd exactly the sort of care i want. NO nursery could give my dd what our CM does.
Sadly, CM and I were discussing future plans, CM has just been inspected and is so miserable about being told to put signs around the house, do set activities, write observations etc. that she is going to quit childminding in July, after 17 years! My dd and I are going to lose a fabulous support and because of the lunacy of the OFSTED regulations.
hopefully CM and I will stay friends and dd will still see her

Mum2Luke · 21/10/2007 23:26

And another thing, will I be penalised because I keep my toys in a locked she in the garden and only get out what the minees would like to play with that day? Or should I get every single box of toys out etc and end up with my health and safety as well as mindees being compromised?

I too have a playhouse where I keep toys which i rotate, where the hell am I supposed to put them all in the house? I simply have not got the room, it would not be safe and dh would have a fit. He already sees my job getting to be a joke (and not a funny one at that!) with OFSTED legislation on this and that, he told me he'd tell OFSTED inspector to PI** off if she told me to put NO SMOKING signs up in our house. We don't smoke and none of our friends do but we are not putting any signs of any kind up.

Am off to bed, goodnight you lot!

Katisha · 22/10/2007 10:08

Reckon you should cut and paste the bits where people's childminders are giving up and send as a letter to national newspapers...

bloodsuckingLOONEY · 22/10/2007 10:15

Think we might just do that......we have another thread for suggestions on how to proceed if anyone is interested

OP posts:
fullmoonfiend · 22/10/2007 18:18

Can I just say - as a foermer preschool worker - you all have my sympathy and empathy. It is all sheer lunacy and will be the death of childminding.
My friend has recently started up as a CM and I cannot believe the hoops she has to jump through in her own home!
More power to your elbows...

love2sleep · 23/10/2007 10:58

Not only are ofsted inspections stressful and upsetting for many childminders but IMO their reports are completely useless for parents. I recently had to find a new CM and decided to reply completely on word of mouth recommendations and have never even bothered looking at our new CM's report.

Of our two previous CMs the one with the glowing report was IMO a very poor childminder with very strange priorities. In contrast, the CM with a satisfactory report and a string of actions was absolutely fantastic CM who provided DS1 with a real home from home.

So CMs take heart, many of us parents have the same ideas about what childminding should be about and we can see the ofsted system for what it is. Most good CMs that I know are never short of work and this has nothing to do with their ofsted ratings.

cef · 23/10/2007 14:20

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

bloodsuckingLOONEY · 23/10/2007 17:21

cef - How do we contact you?

BTW guys......that OFSTED group where they said we're awesome, we own's been removed from Facebook!!!

OP posts:
lottiesmummy · 23/10/2007 18:23

I'm a childminder and I don't like Ofsted at all, my inspector put the children I mind in danger by turning on a gas fire that I had never used (against the gas engineer's advice too) almost burning them in the face as she didnt give me time to move them..

like CRB checks ofsted inspections are only good on the day they are written.

lottiesmummy · 23/10/2007 18:34

plus Elk you hit the nail on the head, we'll never ever get an outstanding while ofsted want our homes like nurseries, and like you and many parents have said to me if they wanted their children in a nursery setting thats where they'd be.

kys · 23/10/2007 19:17

You've all scared me off now. Ive just passed my ICP and my pre registration ofsted, awaiting my certificate. I've been through an inspection in my previous job at a nursery, are they along the same lines?

millie865 · 23/10/2007 19:21

Hi, I'd like to repeat what others have said - I chose a CM rather than nursery because I wanted my daughter to be in a home setting.

Our last CM was lovely, but had been marked down by OFSTED for a number of silly things (some glass vases in a room mindees couldn't get into for example). She had also only got satisfactory on one thing for not having multi-cultural books and toys. She was of Asian origin and cared for a very diverse group of children, who shared in her family's celebrations of Diwali (SP?) and other Hindu festivals but apparently this didn't count. Other CMs who we went to see before we chose her got similar ofsted reports but seemed to stick the kids in their care in front of the TV all day - I guess they got the toys out on inspection day.

Our current CM is fab - does tons of interesting stuff and my DD is very happy there. But she is stressed beyond belief by her upcoming OFSTED inspection and we are getting showered with permission slips to sign for everything under the sun.

I don't particularly want or need written reports on what my DD has done, I'd rather have a chat at the end of the day.

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