So we have been treated to four new publications from Ofsted this week. One is related to providing childcare within School Registration and another relates to how inspectors would deal with a direct safeguarding disclosure. The two remaining ones relate to childcare providers and they are perhaps opportunely published when we are hearing more and more stories in the news about settings having their registration suspended or cancelled by Ofsted.
So what are these other documents? One is called How to Object and the other is How to Appeal, you might well think this is the same thing – but apparently not. Well, after some analysis of them, I hope I have distinguished the reasons why you would do one over the other, because I couldn’t see any other summaries that told me why or when you would choose either one. The How to Object document is essentially objecting to their intention to carry out certain steps, this may be anything from refusing to register you or cancelling your registration. You have 14 days from their notice of this intention to object. The document and process reads very much like an appeal against a disciplinary or grievance decision. They will listen to your objection, in person, over the telephone or in writing, giving you the opportunity to produce any new evidence you feel is important for your case. They will discuss this without you and then re-present your objection to you so it is all clear and understood. They will then inform you in writing if your objection is or is not upheld in whole or part.
The How to Appeal document however is used when the decision has already been made e.g. through a magistrates order if it involves changing conditions or cancelling a registration or direct from Ofsted on other registration procedures. Appeals come under the scrutiny of a First Tier Tribunal (these are not new). The rules whilst waiting for a Tribunal hearing are bemusingly quite different though. If you are appealing a cancellation you can in fact still open your setting until the point that the Tribunal makes its decision, although if your appeal fails its immediate closure. However, whilst you can appeal against a Suspension of Registration (and incidentally you cannot object to it), you cannot open your setting during the appeal process. So from this I suspect suspension will always precede cancellation as this is their only way of being able to prevent opening. And whilst from a safeguarding perspective this is obviously a good thing, it is also quite a frightening prospect as I am sure, like all of us Ofsted can get it wrong sometimes. More information on suspension and the Tribunal process is available in the original document from 2012 ‘Suspension: Information for providers, parents and carers when childcare is suspended’.
In other news this week there has been a couple of interesting publications and reports the most interesting one of which is by the Family & Childcare Trust. It’s a hefty 55 pages though (that’s my weekend reading sorted then!) so here is a short summary of some of the key aspects.
And if that isn’t enough for you here is the latest list of Ofsted Inspectors!
About the author: Tricia Wellings
Her passion for and knowledge of owning and running a nursery group and the issues within the sector that affect them is second to none. She continues to keep herself updated through regular meetings with PVI groups, Local Authorities, Ofsted Big Conversation and Conferences.
You can find our more about Tricia on her website www.triciawellings.co.uk