Have you noticed?;Briefing

Joan Dalton

I AM rather alarmed by the news that the Office for Standards in Education is to take over inspecting childminders.

I have been so publicly and persistently rude about that nice Mr Woodhead that I fully expect him to turn up in person for my annual inspection. Good. He is one of the few people I can think of who would actually be improved by a small deposit of baby-sick on his shoulder.

Unfortunately, my pre-

OFSTED self-assessment reveals that my two-year-old is not potty-trained, the one-year-old can't talk and the 10-month-old baby has yet to produce a single tooth.

I am obviously a failing home and should expect a local authority hit squad to take me over. The fact that the children are happy, well-adjusted, stimulated and totally adorable will count for as little as it does in schools.

As a governor I know that any institution can fail if it is judged against criteria it does not recognise or aspire to.

Sadly, even were I to muddle through my OFSTED, there is no indication that parents would then be able to use their entitlement to a free place for their four-year-olds with me, or any other childminder. All the kicks and none of the ha'pence. And you thought teachers had things rough.

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Joan Dalton

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