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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

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bloodsuckingLOONEY · 24/10/2007 19:37

I know.....TOO fast....I think I'm going to cancel. It's a bit too much stress for me with what I've had going on the last couple of days. The Dr would kill me if she saw me on tv after putting me on bedrest!

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StrawberryMartini · 24/10/2007 20:04

Flippin heck Looney!! Crazy woman. Slow down and take care of yourself first. Am LOVING the reference to my hamster in the article... I'm famous!

StrawberryMartini · 24/10/2007 20:05

Oh and Hell will freeze over before I have No Smoking signs around my house.

bloodsuckingLOONEY · 24/10/2007 20:11

I've cancelled. I knew you'd like the hamster!!!

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StrawberryMartini · 24/10/2007 20:13

Have done a link on the 'In the News' board.

ThePrisoner · 24/10/2007 20:15

I think the thing that's a problem with the whole situation is that some CMs are happy (enough) to do daily diaries, have lots of written plans and run their business in the way that gets lots of gold stars. However, there are some CMs who do not want to operate like this, but are being required to do so.

I already do daily diaries (which means I have been "observing" the children), I do monthly newsletters, I talk to most parents each day about our day, and I give photos to parents. I have detailed written plans, I have paperwork coming out of my ears because I really want to be a "professional" childminder. I am on a CM network, and do as much training as I can fit into my life. However, at my EYFS briefing session, whilst what I offer is all well and good, I was informed that producing an individual scrapbook for each child (and making more written observations), in addition to what I already do, would also be a good idea - I can use photos, write a "few lines" about the child's development, so "proving" that I know what I am doing ... and on and on and on.

I earn good money, and I love working with children, but I feel like jacking in the network, jacking in my place on the county committee, jacking in the mentoring I do, cancelling all the training I'm booked on, burning all my paperwork (including the three noticeboards I have), and going back to being a "satisfactory" childminder who just has fun without worrying that I've ticked all the boxes.

I agree that we need set guidelines to work with, but the grading system is pants and inspectors are not consistent, and it does not demonstrate to parents that a childminder is actually any good with children.

lottiesmummy · 24/10/2007 20:21

Well said

starcatcher · 24/10/2007 20:39

If you are a member I think you should contact NCMA for advice before going ahead. but, if you decide not to take that road, then I think you should make it clear when answering questions that anything you say is based on your opinion and experience only, otherwise its hearsay, cm's in my area are not specifically leaving the job cos of their inspection there are lots of other reasons, you cant speak on behalf of all of us and I wouldnt want your experiences to be seen as a reflection of my own inspections. I think children have the right to the best care possible and if it means being rigorously inspected then I have no problem with that. Maybe my area are just lucky in having inspectors who are fair, approachable and supportive. I think the media have enough negative info about childminding its about time they cascaded some positive stuff about the fantastic job we all do for what is very little reward.

Katisha · 24/10/2007 21:15

Starcatcher the issue for me is that the Ofsted regulations seem to be inappropriately trying to apply regulations that would be suitable for a nursery but not for a childminder who works in their own home and that is why that form of childcare has been chosen by the parent. Personally I do not wish for a curriculum to be followed by the CM, or for corporate-looking notices to be posted, or for written reports etc. I can talk to the CM about how the day has been. While accepting the need for protection of children and checking that all is well, I object to the insititutionalising of it all. And it's my worry that good caring people will be driven out of the profession by the overwhelming paperwork .

Lisaht · 24/10/2007 22:54

I would just like to add my support to previous views. My ds has been with our CM since he was 4.5 months old. I chose CM because she specifically did not make her home look like a little schoolroom or institution, but a home, where he has been made to feel part of a wonderful, loving, fun family. He has been loved and well cared for and has developed into a bright happy and very polite little toddler. I do not need a written report, as I make sure - however busy I am - to stop and talk about what he is doing or has done that day, not just with CM, but also with her daughters and her husband.

I get loads of photos and films, pictures and stories from him - although now apparently I will have to give my written permission for her to take pictures.

He has been with her for more than 2 years already and although we are discussing plans for him to start at nursery next spring for a few mornings a week, I am hoping she will be around for years to come.

I did my research before deciding where he would go, but surely that is my responsibility - just as it would be with a school, nursery, or any environment which I would chose to expose DS to.

CM had her Ofsted inspection last week and was told she was "only" good, as she had not made complaint forms available to all parents. In my opinion, the whole point of using a CM is that you have the type of relationship where you initially discuss any complaints with them and only escalate them if you do not reach an agreement.

My concern is that all these Ofsted changes to rules are in danger of making what I value - an easy comfortable relationship which helps my DS thrive - into something more formal and regulated. If that was what I was looking for, I would have put him into a nursery in the first place.

I'll get off my high horse now.

diplodocus · 25/10/2007 10:14

As a parent I very much echo the comments of LisaHT. I chose to put my DD in a homely environment, where she's treated like the childminder's own children (better in many ways!). My CM has been critisized for not focussing enough on learning goals and child development. DD is 2 and I am very happy with her development - if I wasn't I would consider it my responsibility to talk to the childminder and ask her to do specific activities (which I'm sure she would). She learns huge amounts from the CM's older kids on an hourly basis and I would actually be quite pissed off at having to agree learning goals - she's only 2 and all that will come soon enough.
My CM has also been critisized for not having enough toys reflecting disability / different ethnic backgrounds etc. It's really important to me that DD grows up with an inclusive attitude to other people, but I certainly wasn't intending to "teach" her using props - surely it's much more natural to discuss issues as they arise and when we meet people from different backgrounds and with different abilities? I really think it's my responsibility to ensure she develops a positive attitude to these issues, and all I would expect from a CM is that she answers any questions sensitively and appropriately, and shows an inclusive attitude with others herself.

lottiesmummy · 26/10/2007 14:12

Well I'm not happy with Ofsted today. I've just called the childrens information service to change my age range of children after noticing its wrong (and must have been for 5mths)... they said they couldn't change it until Ofsted inform them of the change (I changed my age range to under ones from this july just gone) so they have had 5mths to do this, would be different if I forgot to inform someone of a change wouldnt it, I've now possibly missed out on work that I am looking for now as a child I am minding leaves in 2 weeks

bloodsuckingLOONEY · 26/10/2007 17:05

Have you complained to OFSTED? Also, I'm not sure what you mean about CIS? I'm always advertising different ages - I didn't think the CIS info was linked to OFSTED after the initial setting up of your details?

That reminds me.....must inform OFSTED as I've filled my vacancies for January as ds goes up to big school.

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lottiesmummy · 26/10/2007 17:12

childrens information service childcare link

lottiesmummy · 26/10/2007 17:12

they can't change your age range unless OFSTED inform them of the change

bloodsuckingLOONEY · 26/10/2007 17:18

Is this your child turning 1 then? Or do you have lots of your own??? I've never had a problem putting WHATEVER I want down as my vacancies but then again, I started when ds was 2 and he's my only child.

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lottiesmummy · 26/10/2007 17:23

the child i mind turned one in july so I changed my registration with ofsted to under one as i was a new minder and was only registered for over one yr at first, I'm looking for work and nothings coming up at the min

bloodsuckingLOONEY · 26/10/2007 17:28

Not being funny but I just don't understand. What are the ages of YOUR children. Ofsted certainly don't keep tabs on what kiddies I mind!! Sorry, confused!

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Katisha · 26/10/2007 17:39

What's the situation with the journalist BSLooney? Did she do the piece in the end?

bloodsuckingLOONEY · 26/10/2007 18:02

Not sure. I've emailed all the members of my Facebook group because she was emailing them to see if anyone else could step in. I haven't heard back so have just set up the news to record on Sky+ just in case.

I feel awful for not being able to do it in the end, it just was the worst day to ask me to do it

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lottiesmummy · 26/10/2007 20:12

I was originally registered for 2 children 1yr+ only, so the childcare link had that info, Ofsted were meant to update them if my registration change,which it did one year after when they allowed me to change to being registered for one child under 1yr and 1 child over 1yr .. (my children are 6yrs and 2 yrs)

Marney · 29/10/2007 20:54

i cried and cried after my inspection the inspector was so cold searching for any thing she could find to say was wrong

Marney · 29/10/2007 21:03

ofsted should give us alist of all the little points they use to stop us getting a good report or are they tring to reduce the number of childminders to fill up the sure start centres;they dont seem to want to help us

nannynick · 29/10/2007 22:44

Ofsted used to publish the inspection notebook, and also other documents intended for inspectors (but which were made publicly available via the web). However both of these document types seem to have vanished, following the latest version of Ofsted's website.

Why are these documents no longer publicly available? Ask your MP

nannynick · 29/10/2007 22:49

For reference, the Childminder Inspection Notebook had reference number: HMI 1400
It was located at:

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