Thousands of new childminders are unable to start work because of
delays in the registration process carried out by schools watchdog
Figures released last week show that there is such a backlog of
applications for new and existing childminders that many are
concerned Ofsted will struggle to register them all by the deadline
of April next year.
Early Years: Early Days, Ofsted’s review of its first year
of handling child care inspections, reveals that 13,000 out of a
total of 28,000 new childminder applications have still to be
It is currently taking Ofsted six months to carry out police checks
and pre-registration inspections on new childminders. By April 2003
it will have to turn around 70 per cent of applications within
The registrations of around half the 105,000 existing childminders
have transferred from local authorities to Ofsted. However, Ofsted
needs to carry out unannounced inspections on a further 54,000
providers within the next six months if it is to meet its target of
registering them by next April.
Gillian Haynes, chief executive of the National Childminding
Association, said it was a “tall order” for Ofsted to meet the
target and if it failed to do so existing childminders could also
be prevented from working after March next year.
“In hindsight the transition period was not long enough and the
systems were not in place. Doing unannounced inspections is an
enormous waste of time as childminders are often out when
“I can’t see how it is going to reach its targets unless there is a
better understanding about what childminding is,” she said.
Ofsted blames the delays on problems at the Criminal Records
Bureau, applicants filling in forms incorrectly and teething
problems with its IT system. A spokesperson said it was confident
of meeting its targets by next year.
Early Years: Early Days shows that Ofsted is already
meeting its April 2003 targets of registering 70 per cent of new
nursery and day care applicants within 25 weeks, and investigating
70 per cent of complaints within 30 days.
– Early Years: Early Days, from www.ofsted.gov.uk