Back to Listings

Ofsted publishes first inspection report on childminder agency

Ofsted has today released its first inspection report for childminder agency Leap Ahead.
 
Childminder agencies have been widely scrutinised since their implementation two years ago and the report outlines a number of recommendations, including sharpening the new management role for the head of the early years, as well as ensuring that the agency’s safeguarding procedures are clearly outlined.
 
Given the lack of information on childminder agencies over recent months, Neil Leitch, chief executive at the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said that he welcomes the publication of this report.
 
“We particularly welcome the fact that the report contains information on the quality of care provided by the agency’s registered childminders, as well as service provided by the agency itself, although it is disappointing that it does not clarify how large a sample this is based on,” Neil said.
 
Something the sector has long-argued against is the way in which childminder agencies are rated; that being as “effective” or “ineffective”, rather than “outstanding”, “good”, “requires improvement” or “inadequate”.
 
“We remain sceptical of the childminder agency model, and in particular the reliance on agencies’ own quality assessment of their registered childminders, given the clear conflict of interest,” Neil said.
 
“Both the government and Ofsted would do better to focus their resources on the extensive network of experienced, high-quality independent childminders already operating, and ensuring that sufficient support is available to help stop their continued decline in number.”