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Open letter to the Telegraph

PACEY was a signatory to an open letter published in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph. The letter calls on the government to focus on improving the quality of support for childminders to ensure a positive, long-term influence on children’s learning, well-being and development. The signatories also raise concerns over government plans to introduce childminder agencies.

The full text of the letter submitted to the Telegraph reads:

 

Sir,

As a sector we are sceptical of government’s approach to driving quality improvements in the early years. This is following announcements this week on proposals to introduce baseline testing for four year olds and extended nursery provision through increased collaboration between childminders and school based nursery settings.

Liz Truss has written to childminders across the country detailing her support for the profession. Ms Truss states that childminder agencies will make working in the profession easier, and cites improved working relationships between childminders and school-based nursery settings. But as a sector we are still concerned that childminder agencies will not help childminders to improve their expertise or deliver benefits for families. Government focus should remain on supporting improvement in the quality of training, which will have a positive long-term influence on children’s learning, well-being, care and overall development.

It’s encouraging that Ofsted will have a role in assessing the performance of childminder agencies but we still need to see detailed plans of how individual childminders will be assessed and supported to drive their expertise.

We continue to have reservations that government is taking the right steps to ensure that all childcare professionals are equally supported to deliver a high quality of care. The new system has to be about quality as much as provision and cost, and the childcare sector remains unconvinced that agencies, baseline testing and channelling more childcare services through school nursery settings are the right way forward. 

Childminders in particular are disappointed at government’s lack of engagement with them as sector professionals, and are committed to working in partnership with the Department of Education and all third sector organisations, given the opportunity."