Some light Christmas reading from Ofsted, for those of you who have nothing better to do – or more importantly are looking to start up or expand next year. The Early Years & Childcare Registration Handbook has been published today, effective from 1st January 2016. It replaces all of the documents below and creates one hefty 50 page document instead.
All these are now out of date…
- Early years and childcare providers: registration and suitability handbook
- How to register on the Childcare Register
- How to register on the Early Years Register
- Childcare Register requirements for childcare providers on non-domestic or domestic premises
- Childcare Register requirements for childminders and home childcarers
- Types of childcare that don’t need to register with Ofsted
- Early Years Register: preparing for your registration visit
One major change that is occurring here is the ability to register multiple premises against a new or existing registration (page 14-15). The registration must be the same ‘legal entity’ – so if you register your settings as individual limited companies it won’t apply to you – but you can now apply online (and pay your fee) for approval for new premises, and there is no limit to the number of premises that can be added. We would hope that this will indeed make the whole process easier and simpler – but what is actually involved for existing settings?
On reading the further detail, it tells us that an approval visit is likely for any additional premises (p25-25) but that repeating the Registration process in full is no longer needed. Well that’s good news on the one hand but lets see what an ‘approval visit’ actually includes.
Well, quite a few things it would seem, but essentially focussed on the setting themselves rather than the organisation or registered person. Things such as ensuring common policies ‘are understood and will be implemented in that setting’ and whether the setting can deliver the EYFS. And as you might expect there is a large emphasis on safety and safeguarding so don’t think they won’t be talking to you at all – or indeed your staff – who, if present, the inspector must ‘test (their) communication and language skills in English’. The visit will also include analysis of qualifications and staff training and personnel changes since first registration. Did you know, for example, that a change in Nominated Person will place you higher up the ladder in their ‘Risk Assessment’ process when scheduling inspections in each cycle.
There is also much information for Childminder’s relating to applying the 50% rule for domestic/non-domestic premises. This is not something I am familiar with but if clarification was needed then this document might provide it. I also learnt for the first time that you can register ‘any area or vehicle’ including outside woodlands and buses – provided they are sole use. (This probably isn’t new but it was new to me!).
The handbook then has Annexes which include those ‘difficult to find’ documents such as when registration is not required and the requirements for registering on the childcare register, as well as the early years register. Lastly a handy single page reminder about what Ofsted checks during registration.
Is this a further sign of a new and improved Ofsted administration? We shall have to wait and see. Why not tell me your Ofsted Story or give me your comments below so I can share it at the next Ofsted Big Conversation meeting.
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