Online register for child minders

15th July 2005 at 01:00
Parents can go online for the first time this week to check inspectors'

verdicts on the quality of pre-school care for their children.

Ofsted published its verdict on 1,060 childminders and daycare providers on its website, naming 16 as outstanding and shaming 45 as inadequate.

The findings, which include verdicts on after-school clubs, are the first under the new "on the spot" inspection system for childcare providers introduced in April.

Under the new system, providers are graded on a four- point scale: outstanding, good, satisfactory or inadequate.

Woodley's after-school club, at St Michael's primary in Marlborough, Wiltshire, was among the best. Parents pay pound;7.25 for a session and their children choose between activities such as knitting, art and pool.

Inspectors praised the nutritious evening meal, the range of activities and the way children are encouraged to develop social skills.

Julie Kent, who runs the club, said: "My heart started to beat faster when the inspector arrived but we just got on with things normally. I think I knew the club was good, but it is nice for the staff to have it officially recognised."

Childminder reports will be published anonymously but parents can access local reports by typing in their postcode, then contacting their local children's information service to get the names and addresses of providers.

Under the inspection process, those judged to be inadequate are told to improve within 12 months. In extreme cases, childminders could have their registration withdrawn immediately.

Daycare providers would be reported to their local authority and the Department for Education and Skills, and could have funding withdrawn.

These would include providers in serious breach of health and safety or where a complaint of physical abuse against a child was upheld.

The TES has complained to the information commissioner about Ofsted's refusal to release the names of providers who have had their registration withdrawn, which it believes is against the public interest.

Childcare reports are available from www.ofsted.gov.uk

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