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CHILDCARE INSPECTIONS GO NATIONAL UNDER OFSTED

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OFSTED today announced the launch of the new childcare inspection ...
OFSTED today announced the launch of the new childcare inspection

service which extends the work of the schools' watchdog to include

inspections of childminders, creches, full and sessional day care and

out of school care.

The change, from a local service carried out by 150 separate local

authorities, to a national service run by OFSTED, is part of the

government's aim to improve the coherence and consistency within

which childminders, playgroups and private nurseries work.

Under the Care Standards Act 2000, childcare providers must be

registered by OFSTED, and meet the new national standards published

by the department for education and skills.

OFSTED has published guidance to accompany the standards. This has

been distributed to providers and is available on the OFSTED website.

The guidance aims to help providers meet the national standards and

tells them what inspectors will be looking for.

To carry out its new responsibilities for registering and inspecting

childcare, OFSTED has taken on some 1500 new staff, most of them

transferring from the local authorities. Eight new regional centres

across England are now open to manage the registration and inspection

needs of each region.

In launching OFSTED's new childcare inspection service, chief inspector Mike

Tomlinson said:

'We are delighted to welcome all new staff to OFSTED's early years

directorate. Their expertise is vital as OFSTED takes on this

important new role of ensuring the safety of young children through

registration and inspection. Parents need to know that their children

are well cared for and that they will be provided with activities

which promote their personal development and learning. These new

responsibilities will present challenges, which OFSTED is determined

to meet. Good quality childcare is vitally important.'

NOTES

1 Her Majesty's Chief Inspector (HMCI) is to visit the regional

centres during September and October. This will provide an

opportunity to interview HMCI. OFSTED's new early years regional

centres cover:

London - Barking & Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley,

Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith &

Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow,

Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Kingston-upon-Thames, Lambeth,

Lewisham, Corporation of London, Merton, Newham, Redbridge,

Richmond-upon-Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham

Forest, Wandsworth, Westminster.

NE & Yorkshire - Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Darlington,

Doncaster, Durham, East Riding of Yorkshire, Gateshead, Hartlepool,

Kingston-upon-Hull, Kirklees, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Newcastle

upon Tyne, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, North

Tyneside, North Yorkshire, Northumberland, Redcar & Cleveland,

Rotherham, Sheffield, South Tyneside, Stockton-on-Tees,

Sunderland, Wakefield, York.

East Midlands - City of Derby, Derbyshire, Leicester City,

Leicestershire,Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham City,

Nottinghamshire, Rutland

North West - Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Cheshire, Cumbria,

Halton, Knowsley, Lancashire, Liverpool, Manchester, Oldham,

Rochdale, Salford, Sefton, St Helens, Stockport, Tameside,

Trafford, Warrington, Wigan, Wirral.

East of England - Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex,

Hertfordshire, Luton, Norfolk, Peterborough, Southend-on-Sea,

Suffolk, Thurrock.

West Midlands - Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Herefordshire,

Sandwell, Shropshire, Solihull, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent,

Telford & Wrekin, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton,

Worcestershire.

South West - Bath & NE Somerset, Bournemouth, Bristol City,

Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Isles of Scilly, North

Somerset, Plymouth, Poole, Somerset, South Gloucestershire,

Swindon, Torbay, Wiltshire

South East - Bracknell Forest, Brighton & Hove, Buckinghamshire,

East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Milton Keynes, Medway

Towns, Oxfordshire, Portsmouth, Reading, Slough, Southampton,

Surrey, West Sussex, Windsor & Maidenhead, Wokingham, West

Berkshire.

2. Currently in England, there are approximately 130,000 childcare

providers.

3. OFSTED is a non-ministerial government department established

under the Education (Schools) Act 1992 to take responsibility for

the inspection of all schools in England. Its inspection role also

includes the inspection of local education authorities, teacher

training institutions, youth work and all 16-19 education. From

September 2001 OFSTED will have responsibility for the regulation

of early years childcare, including childminders.

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