Over the weekend several media outlets including The Telegraph reported on the Prime Minister Liz Truss’s plans to boost the number of childminder agencies in England as a way to drive down the cost of childcare provision.
These proposals echo recommendations set out in the recent Better Childcare report published earlier this year by the thinktank Policy Exchange, which PACEY responded to at the time.
- shifting away from Ofsted towards childminder agency models
- requiring every current childminder to register with an agency within five years
- ‘removing regulatory burden’ for childminders
Helen Donohoe, Policy Advisor at PACEY comments:
“PACEY has already made clear our position on these dusted-off proposals, which were first floated around 10 years ago and rejected by childminders at the time. Since then, there are only six registered agencies in England, which speaks volumes itself. We know that many Ofsted-registered childminders value their Ofsted grading to showcase their professionalism to prospective parents. Our members are now concerned that this choice could be taken away from them under the proposed plans.
“We understand the Government is looking into several possible options for reform, but so far these seem to focus on driving up the number of new childminders through agencies, without a long-term plan to retain the dedicated community of professionals we already have in our sector.
“Until the Government decides to address the true issues behind the childminder decline then no real progress will be made. There are plenty of sensible measures PACEY has put forward on behalf of our members which would make real difference in the sector, such as reversing the illogical rule that prevents childminders providing relatives with funded entitlements, and crucially reversing the chronic underfunding of our sector that stops childminders from earning a decent wage.”