Dramatic increase in child care standards

Most child care providers have reached the levels set out in the
new national standards, according to watchdog Ofsted in its first
report on early years services.

Initial inspections between September 2001 and March 2003 of every
childminder and day care provider found that only 40 per cent of
carers complied with the national standards.

But this figure has risen to 99 per cent after inspections led to
improvements in health and safety and the physical

During its first year as child care regulator, Ofsted received
10,500 complaints about providers and took steps to prevent 175
operating. A further 220 applicants – less than 1 per cent of
applications received – were refused registration.

“The report’s findings are positive,” said Gill Haynes, chief
executive of the National Childminding Association. “They should be
reassuring for parents. The 175 carers who were banned is a
worrying statistic but it is only a tiny percentage.”

But Haynes criticised Ofsted’s “crude” new rating scheme for child
care inspections, under which services are rated “good”,
“satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory”.

Haynes said the system had been introduced too quickly. “It is very
difficult for inspectors to make a judgement following a two-hour
visit. This could affect many businesses,” she said. 

Early Years: The First National Picture from

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