No warning inspections for nurseries

SUFFOLK'S children's nurseries 'should never have anything to hide' according to the county's childcare chief. Suffolk County Council has announced today that it has asked the government's Office of Standards in Education (Ofsted) inspectors to visit the county's 106 registered nurseries, 858 registered childminders and 107 registered out of school clubs without any warning.

SUFFOLK'S children's nurseries 'should never have anything to hide' according to the county's childcare chief.

Suffolk County Council has announced today that it has asked the government's Office of Standards in Education (Ofsted) inspectors to visit the county's 106 registered nurseries, 858 registered childminders and 107 registered out of school clubs without any warning.

A council spokesman said: "The government has recently changed the rules on care standards inspections of nurseries and other childcare for under fives, saying that they will just warn which month they will be turning up, but not the day of the week.

"Suffolk Children First, the early years development and childcare partnership, is now asking that Ofsted inspectors visit our nurseries without any warning to inspect standards of care."

Suffolk County Councillor Sue Thomas, chair of the partnership, said: "We are confident that most nurseries and other child care for the under fives in Suffolk is very good.

"But we want parents and carers to be as certain as they can be that their children are getting good care at all times, so it seems to us a better idea to have inspectors turning up at any time.

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"After all, parents and carers come in at various times, and they are the customers, and sometimes the hardest inspectors of all.

"Of course, sometimes the childcare staff will be surprised by the arrival of the inspectors, but this system will get rid of all the anxieties and natural lengthy preparations for inspections that staff have to go through currently.

"Nurseries and child carers should never have anything to hide from proper inspectors, or indeed from parents."

The announcement comes after a Suffolk Children First board meeting last month.

In a letter to Charles Clarke MP, Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Mrs Thomas said the decision followed a discussion about a BBC television programme broadcast in August that showed children being mistreated by nursery carers.

She said: "We are all concerned that children and families get the highest quality early education and childcare and we believe our proposal would please and reassure parents and families."

Suffolk Children First is a group of people representing individuals and organisations involved with childcare, early education, employment and training in the county.

Suffolk County Council is a member of this partnership, which aims that parents and children in the county can have affordable, accessible, high quality childcare and early education.

Suffolk Children First is the new name for the Suffolk Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership.

N Do you think inspections should be unannounced? What do you think of nursery provision where you live? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an E-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

 

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