Headlines: March 8th, 2010

Local authorities are being urged to recognise the need to invest in specialist childcare for children with disabilities. The call has come from the National Childminding Association, which has welcomed a report being produced today by Ofsted.

Ofsted inspectors looked at children and young people who needed particular support to promote their development and well being, such as those with speech and language difficulties or serious medical conditions who might need help from either health or children’s services. They found high-quality childcare was important for all children.

The best care was an important contribution to the lives of children in need as it identified their specific requirements and helped them to get the right support. The report also highlights how the best childcarers work closely with parents in new ways. Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, said: “This report shows how the best childcarers are giving children in need a vital step-up in life and the best opportunities to learn and develop. It is important other childcarers learn from these examples of best practice.”

Welcoming the report, Andrew Fletcher, the Joint Chief Executive of NCMA, said it highlighted excellent work being done by dedicated childcare professionals. Many families with disabled children chose registered childminders because the home environment offered a greater degree of individual care and could complement care provided in partnership with other children’s services. He added: “I hope this important report will illustrate to local authorities the benefits of investing in specialist childminders and childminding networks to benefit disabled children and their families.”