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Regulation of childcare

The government has today published its response to the consultation on the regulation of childcare.

Last year, in tandem with publishing More Affordable Childcare, the Government launched a public consultation on ‘The Regulation of Childcare’ which ran from 16 July to 30 September.  They received 386 responses, and held meetings with key stakeholders.  The responses received to the consultation have helped to shape the Government response.  A copy of the consultation document, the report and Government response can be found here

The Government response outlines plans to:

  • Align the staffing and qualification requirements for out-of-hours care for children in the Reception class and 5-7year-olds with those governing the school day.
  • Remove the requirement for out-of-hours providers to meet the EYFS learning and development requirements for those children who are in the Reception class.
  • Raise the threshold for compulsory registration from two hours to three hours where the care is provided both in friendship and in domestic settings – for example, a parent can pay a friend to look after children for up to three hours a day in the friend’s own home without the friend needing to register with Ofsted
  • Enable providers to register multiple premises in a single registration process. e.g. a nursery chain can notify Ofsted of its intention to open a number of new settings in a single registration process
  • Enable childminders to operate on non-domestic premises for part of the working week. e.g. a childminder could provide care on school premises from 3-6pm
  • Remove the requirement for local authorities to approve childminder training – this will open up the market and improve access to training for childminders, including from childminder agencies
  • Align the safeguarding and welfare requirements of the Early Years Register and the General Childcare Register
  • Rename the GCR to become the Child Safety Register

Timing and next steps

The relevant changes will be reflected in an updated version of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework which the Government intends to be in place later this year.  This resource will be available on the Foundations website when it is published.

Minister’s letter to childminders

Over the next few weeks the Minister for Education and Childcare, Elizabeth Truss, is writing to all childminders in England informing them about Government reforms designed to make it easier to work as a childminder and to attract new people into the profession.  The reforms include making it easier for childminders to access early education funding for two, three and four year olds; the introduction of childminder agencies; and how childminders can work with schools in providing before and after school care.

The letter is being sent by post to all childminders over the next few weeks and can also be viewed here

Removal of the requirement for childminders to register as a ‘food business’

Childminders will no longer need to register as a food business.  Since 1 January 2014, when registering their business, childminders will only have to provide Ofsted with details of how they plan to provide food as part of their service. These details, held by the inspectorate, will be available to view by local authorities. Previously, childminders that supplied food on a regular basis had to register as a ‘food business’ with their local authority, on top of registering with Ofsted.  The move by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), forms part of the Government’s commitment to reduce the burden on businesses.  This allows childminders that provide food, to have their premises registered with the environmental health service of their local authority, which is a legal requirement.

The change in requirements follows a consultation on the registration of childminders as ‘food businesses’ in England by the FSA in 2012.

You can get more information on the Food Standards Agency website

Childcare business grant scheme

Cash grants worth up to £500 are still being offered to people across England who want to start their own childcare business.  The scheme aims to support over 6,000 new childcare businesses in England by helping people cover some of the set up and training costs, equipment, insurance and adaptations to premises that can otherwise be tough when you’re setting up a new business.  New businesses are also being encouraged to team up with a free mentor so they can access specially tailored business start-up advice.

Becky Padley received a cash grant in October 2013 and is now running her own child minding business, TippeToes childcare, in Sheffield.  She said:

“Without the help of the grant, setting up my business wouldn’t have been possible. I used the cash to join the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, join the national childcare register, pay for my Disclosure and Barring Service checks and also do some advertising. Without this money I wouldn’t have been able to afford to do any of that.”

Find out more here

Department of Health to manage CANparent for a third year

The Department of Health is to run the CANparent Trial for a third year from 1 April 2014.  The transfer of CANparent to the Department of Health will ensure that important links are used to further promote the trial, such as midwives, health visitors, antenatal services and the Information Service for Parents. The third year will build on existing learning from the trial and support providers to become sustainable and establish themselves as leaders in the universal parenting classes market.  There will also be a focus on health outcomes for children.  More details will be available soon.

 

Department for Education publish Early Years and Childcare Survey results

The DfE has published the results of the Early Years and Childcare Survey of Parents 2012-13.

Findings from the survey include:

  • 78% of all families in England with children aged 0 to 14 had used some form of childcare during their most recent term-time week – this equated to 4,194,000 families or 6,090,000 children
  • the majority of families (63%) had used formal childcare and early years provision, whereas 39% had used informal childcare (provided by friends and family)
  • the majority of all parents (58%) rated the overall quality of local childcare provision as very or fairly good
  • on perceptions of cost opinions were divided, 32% of parents rated the affordability of local childcare as very or fairly good, with 29% unsure and 39% saying it was very or fairly poor
  • the proportion of mothers in employment increased from 60% in 2011 to 64% in 2012

You can view the report here

Early Years Census 2014

The DfE has published ‘Early years census 2014: COLLECT guide for local authorities’

This document is designed to help local authority users complete and submit their early years census 2014 returns using COLLECT (Collections Online – Learners, Education, Children and Teachers), the department’s centralised data collection and management system.

The guide includes information on:

  • accessing COLLECT
  • uploading and submitting census data
  • error queries

Read the guide

News from Ofsted

Ofsted has launched a consultation on how childminder agencies should be inspected.

The government’s Children and Families Bill 2013 will allow for the creation of childminder agencies.  They will help childminders with training, support, advice and networks.  The aim is to better support existing childminders, attract new high quality providers into the market, and provide more choice for parents.

You can view the consultation here

More information is available here

The closing date for the consultation is 21 March 2014

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