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
'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.'
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
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,
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,
West Midlands - Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Herefordshire,
Sandwell, Shropshire, Solihull, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent,
Telford & Wrekin, Walsall, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton,
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
2. Currently in England, there are approximately 130,000 childcare
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.