PACEY welcomes Ofsted’s proposal to place a
greater focus on satisfactory childcare providers’ need to
improve and to make this clearer to families, by grading them as
requiring improvement. Whilst the majority of nurseries
and childminders are providing good and outstanding childcare, some
still don’t and all children deserve good quality childcare.
However, PACEY believes changing the
inspection process is just one aspect of driving up standards.
These new grades can only be introduced if Ofsted’s own inspection
judgements are more robust and if government recognises that
providers will still need support and advice on how to improve.
Professional bodies like PACEY provide
on-going support, training and development to its members. Our
growing membership of childcare professionals – childminders,
nannies and nursery workers – are testament to the fact that
continuous professional development (CPD) helps improve the quality
of the care they provide. Yet, as Ofsted has set out, there are a
significant number of providers who do not access such support.
Ensuring these providers will improve requires dedicated quality
improvement programmes, not just more frequent inspections.
So PACEY is concerned that, as Ofsted
proposes these changes, Government is proposing to make it more
challenging to deliver high quality childcare. It wants to increase
child:adult ratios in nurseries and allow childminders to care for
more children under 5; to change qualification entry
requirements for nursery workers but not for childminders and to
remove local authority responsibility to keep their registered
providers trained and up to date. This all goes against Ofsted's
own evidence that on-going quality improvement interventions and
CPD support childcare professionals to improve their practice and
so drive up quality for children.
Government must think again on ratios and
look beyond entry qualifications and graduate leadership of
settings, to ensure that all childcare professionals are required
and supported to continuously develop their practice and ensure
quality care for children.
Catherine Farrell, Joint Chief