Also going national is the inspection of childminders, creches, day and out of school care. Peace of mind for parents and coherent policy for providers of childcare is the aim of changes that puts OFSTED in charge rather than 150 different local authorities.In another centralising move, the Government has now put OFSTED in charge, impressed by the organisation’s impact on schools, and to put greater emphasis on pre-school learning as well as care.It makes OFSTED a powerful force in education, as it has also recently taken on responsibility for inspecting FE colleges.
Under the Care Standards Act 2000, childcare providers must be registered by OFSTED, and meet the new national standards published by the Department for Education and Skills.
OFSTED has published guidance to accompany the standards. This has been distributed to providers and is available on the OFSTED website. The guidance aims to help providers meet the national standards and tells them what inspectors will be looking for.
To carry out its new responsibilities for registering and inspecting childcare, OFSTED has taken on some 1500 new staff, most of them transferring from the local authorities, into an Early Years Directorate. Eight new regional centres across England are now open to manage the registration and inspection needs of each region.