Stricter inspection of nurseries

4th December 1998 at 00:00
Charlie Owen's article on men in nurseries (TES, November 20) makes several perceptive points, especially about "better vetting".

The Newcastle abuse case demonstrates the urgent need for a national register of all child carers - men and women - including complete work histories.

Where vetting does take place, a search is made only for criminal convictions, so anyone with allegations or suspicions of misdemeanours against them can continue working with children -either by moving authorities or by becoming a nanny in a child's own home, where there are no formal checks.

A stricter inspection regime is required, including inspections without prior notice. The Government is committed to providing even more places in daycare, after-school clubs and so on, but it should be equally committed to funding the training and employment of more inspectors and qualified childcarers in order to ensure quality, safe childcare.

My association, along with other organisations, will be addressing the issue of men in childcare at our "Childcare Today" seminar in Derby on December 3.

Alison Johnston

Professional officer (primaryand early years) Professional Association of Nursery Nurses Friargate Derby

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