Ofsted has just inspected my wife who is a childminder. The marathon began at 10am. The inspector observed her taking care of one 19-month-old and two 2-year-olds, working through her lunch until 3pm. Feedback was given at the end of the day, following the school run, snack time, baking activity, story time, school run and dinner before putting two children to bed. The official verdict was delivered - 'satisfactory'. Yes, it could have been worse, but it could have been a lot better.
So where did our superhuman childminder go wrong? Here we go ... the children were not allocated individual hand towels; children washed their hands before dinner but not before dessert; the 2-year-olds were not given a thorough explanation of what an egg is; not wiping a child's nose while helping others; no evaluations of children's learning in a written format ... and finally, there was no MOT certificate in a file.
How many of these "faults" adversely affect the provision of care which these children receive on a daily basis? How many parents would highlight these "faults" as actual faults? The answer, after speaking to them, is none! Ofsted's verdict is the one which prospective parents may ask for when looking for suitable childcare. Uninformed adults may look upon "satisfactory" as poor, particularly in relation to "good" and "outstanding".
Our superhuman childminder, as of September, should be delivering the EYFS framework like many others. However, she may leave the profession due to the enforced administrative obsessions of Ofsted.
Glenn Barry, Teacher, Lancashire.