As childcare providers, you have provided a vital service for children through these challenging times. We commend you for the efforts that you have made to keep children safe, to support their learning, and to enable parents to work. Thank you for all you have done, and will no doubt continue to do.
At Ofsted, we never stopped our early years regulatory work and we continued to visit providers if we had concerns. In June 2020, we returned to on-site registration visits, In September we also started interim visits for early years providers that were previously judged ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’, and have restarted our inspections of providers who are registered on the Childcare Register. This restart phase is planned to last until the end of the year. We are also looking ahead to the next phase of our recovery plans and we will provide more information on these as they develop.
But what does this mean for nannies? As you know, Ofsted only regulates nannies and home childcarers that voluntarily choose to register with us. The voluntary childcare register (VCR) was initially designed to support those of you who chose to provide this care, or choose this type of childcare, to benefit from tax-free childcare, like many other types of providers.
Once you are registered with us, you must continue to meet the registration standards. You need to pay your annual registration fee, keep your details up to date and report any major accidents or incidents.
Our regulation of those on the VCR is proportionate. We inspect 10% of providers registered, and we determine this 10% based on any complaints or concerns we receive, plus a sample of others. After an inspection, we publish a simple letter saying whether the requirements have or haven’t been met. You can find more information about the inspection process on our website.
We can only provide guidance to those nannies and childcare providers who are registered with us, which we recognise some have found frustrating. There are, however, a wealth of resources available from member organisations, such as BAPN, who can provide extra support.
If you have chosen to register as a nanny with Ofsted, it is for you to decide how to use official guidance in a way that meets the requirements– whether this is deciding which first aid qualification to complete, or when to return to providing childcare after weighing up the risks of COVID-19. It has been an uncertain time for everyone in the sector and we appreciate that some nannies have found it difficult to interpret government guidelines for early years and childcare providers and understand what it means for them. Keep yourself up to date and be confident in the fact that you are the right person to make these decisions, as you understand the best way to carry out your role for the children you care for.
During this time, our aim has been to ensure registered nannies have the information needed to help make these difficult decisions. Due to the fast-changing nature of the pandemic, we understand that this has not always been easy. We continue to work with the Department for Education (DfE) and other organisations to ensure that you have the most up-to-date guidance available.
Thank you again for your continued effort during this time – whether that is continuing to provide childcare, or indeed making the difficult decision to take a break until it is right for you and the children you care for to return.