Following on from PACEY’s spring conference, where the issue of child ratios for childminders was raised, Ofsted has helped clarify the issue and has shared the following guidance, which has also been given to their inspectors and helpline staff:
The EYFS provides the standard ratios but also recognises circumstances where these ratios can change so that the needs of children and their families are met. Paragraphs 3.30 and 3.42 advise that: ‘exceptionally, and where the quality of care and safety and security of children is maintained, exceptions to the ratios may be made’. For example exceptions can be made when childminders are caring for sibling babies or when caring for their own baby. There may also be other adjustments to the ratios, for example where children need continuity of care.
Inspectors must ensure that the quality of care is not compromised by a childminder caring for more children and that they meet the needs of all the children in their care. Exceeding the ratio is not a breach in itself unless the childminder is failing to meet the needs of all children.
The Department for Education (DfE) has published some frequently asked questions (FAQs) which provide further guidance.
If you receive information that is different to the above guidance, Ofsted has advised that you take the name of the person, the date and time of the call and report it to them to investigate further.