Today, the Department for Education (DfE) have launched a public consultation seeking views on proposed changes to early years fees paid to Ofsted. This includes views on:
- a proposed increase to the application fee and annual fee paid to Ofsted by early years providers on Ofsted Early Years Register, with a view of changes coming into force from April 2020. The current fees are £35 annually for childminders and sessional settings, £50 for sessional providers subject to the transitional arrangements and £220 for full day care.
- the principles that should underpin a revised Early Years Register fee model to be introduced from April 2021.
The consultation is open to all childcare providers registered on Ofsted's Early Years Register and anyone interested in early education and childcare including local authorities, sector representatives and professional bodies. Open from today, the consultation closes at 10am on 9 October 2019.
Chief executive Liz Bayram comments on the consultation:
"Whilst any increase is costs will be challenging for childcare providers at this time, we recognise this is the first increase in a number of years and is only proposed at the rate of inflation. The bigger issue remains of how the DfE will ensure sustainable funding for providers who are delivering its early education entitlement. Funding that needs to recognise that costs are increasing for providers as they are for government.
We are glad the department has listened to our clear feedback that any significant increase to registration fees will be difficult in the current climate. We also hope they consider how payment of fees by monthly instalments could further reduce burden for providers.
Any increase must be accompanied by ongoing improvement in the service Ofsted provides. In particular, in past months many new providers have experienced months of delay with their registration application processed by Ofsted and this needs to get better.
We are interested in exploring re-categorisation of provider type on the Early Years Register. There is logic to this proposal but it cannot end up being a mechanism to substantially increase fees for some providers in the future."