Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Wednesday, August 4, 1999 Published at 01:44 GMT 02:44 UK


Union opposes Ofsted childcare inspections

Inspectors will check the standards of education and welfare

A teachers' union has challenged the use of school inspectors in regulating playgroups and childcare, arguing that the schools' watchdog lacks an understanding of the needs of young children.

The Professional Association of Teachers has written to the Education Secretary, David Blunkett, contesting the proposals for the Office for Standards in Education to inspect pre-school centres.

The union is concerned that Ofsted inspection teams have insufficient awareness of child protection issues and will not be attuned to the needs of the under-fives.

"Can you allay very genuine and deeply held fears that Ofsted is not competent in child protection?" writes Kay Driver, the union's general secretary.

The general secretary says in her letter that members in the past have complained about how little inspectors know about young children, "such as the inspector who asked to hear the four-year-olds read, and the inspector who was looking for records of homework".

'Contradicts task force'

The union also says that the government's announcement of the extended role of Ofsted, made on Monday, contradicts the recommendations of its own task force, which published its review of Early Education and Day Care earlier this year.

"Qualified nursery staff employed in social services and voluntary bodies have been phoning to check why the task force's concern over child protection has been ignored," writes Ms Driver.

The Education Minister, Margaret Hodge, said that the use of Ofsted in regulating pre-school childcare would remove the "confusion, the duplication and the unfairness" of the present system, in which different organisations were responsible for inspecting different aspects of childcare.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Education Contents

Hot Topics
UK Systems
League Tables

Relevant Stories

02 Aug 99 | Education
Watchdog to check playgroups

22 Jun 99 | Education
Nursery pupils to get structured learning

14 Jun 99 | Education
Woodhead: 'I am paid to challenge mediocrity'

14 Jun 99 | Education
Teachers say inspections harmful

Internet Links

Office for Standards in Education

Professional Association of Teachers

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

'Golden hellos' fail to attract new teachers

Children join online Parliament

Pupils 'too ignorant to vote'

Red tape toolkit 'not enough'

Poor report for teacher training consortium

Specialist schools' results triumph

Ex-headmaster guilty of more sex charges

Blunkett welcomes Dyke's education commitment

Web funding for specialist teachers

Local authorities call for Woodhead's sacking

Dyslexic pensioner wins PhD

Armed forces children need school help

Black pupils 'need better-trained teachers'

College 'is not cool'