Childminding Agencies – There is hope from the House of Lords   3 comments

After the meeting with Lord Storey in the House of Lords last week – that had been arranged by UKCMA, I had hope that through The Lords we would be able to raise awareness about Childminder Agencies.

I know UKCMA will do doing their up most to gather the views of registered childminders and are calling on everyone to work together – not just their members.

For my part I am drawing up an action plan and sharing information with my colleagues and indeed anyone who will listen.

And so, it was with interest that I looked at the transcript of 2nd reading of the Childrens and Families Bill in the House of Lords yesterday. I could only skimmed read as at the time I was cuddling and comforting my youngest grandchild who is in my care today, however a couple of comments did jump out from the page and these comments have given me hope that the House of Lords will igive serious consideration to the aspect with in the Bill about Childminding Agencies

Read them for yourself – and if you spot any positive comments that I have missed – please add them to the comment section on this page.

Lord Storey
Finally, I followed with great interest the childcare ping-pong—or, as the Mayor of London would no doubt call it, the “whiff-whaff”—regarding reforms to childcare ratios. I now presume that it is game, set and match to the Lord President of the Council in this regard. Equally important is the need to give careful reconsideration to the introduction of a childminder agency system. The introduction of such an arrangement would mean that experienced childminders could be lost. Indeed, 71% of childminders have “outstanding” grades. They have built their own businesses and are now on a level footing with daycare centres. Currently, childminders are inspected every three years by Ofsted, but only every four years if they achieve “outstanding” status. However, as we have heard, under these proposals the agencies as organisations will be inspected while only a cross-section of their registered childminders will be inspected. There is a danger that childminders with less satisfactory standards will be afforded a higher status by virtue of their membership of a highly rated agency. When a parent chooses a registered childminder, they should be confident that the grade of the childminder reflects their talents. Can the Minister confirm that all childminders will be inspected by Ofsted, and not merely a cross-section of those who work for a particular agency?

Shame he got his facts a little wrong as 71% have good or outstanding – still it is excellent that he raised the issue.

Baroness Morris of Yardley
My second point is about pre-school learning. This is the second time that this Government have dropped the requirement for a group of education providers to be inspected by Ofsted. I am a great admirer of Ofsted; I think it plays a good part. The first time this was done was with schools which had got outstanding Ofsted inspections. I did not agree with it but I could see the rationale behind it. I cannot see the rationale for some childminders not to be subject to Ofsted when we cannot guarantee their quality. Nevertheless, I welcome the broad thrust of this Bill and very much look forward to the debate that I suspect we will have in Committee

And an excellent comment
Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
On childminder agencies and early years provision, we remain sceptical of the Government’s commitment. Despite the known long-term advantages of early years investment, we have seen a 40% cut in the early intervention grant compared to 2010 and a massively unpopular attempt to increase child/staff nursery and childminder ratios. This is why we will be tabling amendments to protect the current ratios; although the Government have rolled back on that proposal, we do not trust them not to come back with similarly ill thought-through proposals that could damage the interests of young people. We will also want to allow further consultation before childminder agencies can be introduced so that the full implications can be considered and the issue of improved inspection addressed

 

Additional information

The Pre school Learning Alliance have just issued the following press release

Cost of agencies to be passed onto parents

3 responses to “Childminding Agencies – There is hope from the House of Lords

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  1. Thanks for sharing this Penny – hope indeed!

  2. I see a small light at the end of the tunnel 🙂

    Janis Phillimore
  3. Thanks Penny some positive comments,perhaps they are starting to listen.

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