As a self employed independent Ofsted registered childminder you are responsible for ensuring your documentation is accurate, up-to-date and reflects current legislation and any Ofsted factsheets published since the EYFS was released in Sept 2012.
Here I will talk about...
· Risk assessments
· Policies and procedures
A new risk assessment factsheet from Ofsted - document 120334 - states that childminders need to have a risk assessment procedure AND risk assessments for the environment and for different types of outings. These do not have to be in writing but you must be able to explain them to parents and, of course, Ofsted inspectors on request.
The Childcare Register requires childminders to have a written risk assessment procedure.
If you write your risk assessments (and I strongly recommend that they are available in writing) they should note -
· The date;
· Area of the house / garden or outing risk assessed;
· If it is an outing RA you must include a note that you were working within your ratios during the outing;
· The hazard – what might happen;
· The risk – what will happen to the child /adult / visitor etc if the hazard happens;
· The likelihood of it happening;
· Control – what is in place to stop it happening.
So... the hazard is the open drain... the risk is a child falling down the drain and breaking his leg... the likelihood is 1 for low, 2 for medium and 3 for high... the control is a drain cover. Then add a review date at the bottom. If something changes between now and your review date, make a dated note.
Times to update risk assessments include when new children start in your provision or when something else changes such as...
· Outings taking account of a new child;
· The child’s age and stage and what they might be doing eg climbing toddlers or babies who throw etc.
There is a dedicated section of the Childminding Forum available for you if you need to ask questions about any aspects of your risk assessments -
There is a core set of policies and procedures which must be available in writing to help you comply with the requirements of the EYFS 2012 and the Childcare Register. This Childminding Forum thread clarifies the requirements related to policies and procedures and posts on the thread offer further suggestions and advice -
Behaviour management - this is the best place to talk about how you record physical intervention.
Where possible, involve children in their own behaviour management and in setting goals. Be clear about how you manage behaviour and be consistent, working closely with parents. Ask parents about children’s behaviour management at home during initial interviews and note their comments.
Ofsted like to see behaviour posters on the wall with positive comments – we walk in the house (rather than ‘don’t run’) etc.
Make sure, on inspection day, that you do not change things around too much or do things which the children find different... you can be sure they will comment or their behaviour will show their confusion if you do.
Concerns and complaints procedure - this procedure MUST be shared with parents if the child is on the Childcare Register. You might be one of the lucky childminders who has never had a complaint made... however you still need a complaints file / book somewhere easily accessible just in case.
It should contain...
o Complaints procedure - the Childcare Register 2012 states that this must be shared with parents;
o Complaints phone number for Ofsted - if you still have the out of date 0845 number now is the time to update your records;
o Complaints forms – make sure you do not have the old 14 standards on your form! It needs to be updated to show the EYFS 2012 and the Childcare Register 2012 (Ofsted document 080161). Also check the timescale for responding to complaints – it used to be different depending on the register but now it’s the same for them both.
More information on the Childminding Forum - here.
Emergency evacuation of the premises - Ofsted inspectors normally look for an emergency evacuation procedure displayed on your wall as well as a clear procedure in writing which you follow and practice regularly with the children. Please see information about ‘fire procedures’ for more details.
Equality of opportunity - for the Childcare Register it must include information about how you support children with learning difficulties and disabilities. There are lots of ways of showing this, from books to posters to magazines to disabled dolls and expensive wheelchairs which children use as skate boards. I have listed many activity ideas in my equality mini e-books series and to be honest if you have got to the point of inspection without thinking about it, then it really is too late.
Every time you buy a new resource check it is diversity friendly... every time you borrow a book from the library make sure it is not tokenistic... every time you put up a new poster make sure it shows equality of opportunity. You can’t go far wrong if you do lots of forward planning.
Failure to collect - often called a ‘Late Arriving Parent’ procedure. Your procedures if parents do not arrive to collect their child should be detailed in writing. It is important that you discuss your procedures with parents and ask them for details about who can collect their child in an emergency situation.
Health and safety - relating to accidents, hazards and faulty equipment - within the ‘accidents’ section you should also talk about injuries and first aid... within the ‘hazards’ section you might refer to your risk assessment procedures... within the ‘faulty equipment’ section you should commit to protecting children from faulty equipment and state your procedures if you find equipment to be faulty.
You might also discuss your healthy child procedures relating to, for example, healthy eating and diets, protecting children’s teeth and infection control measures in place. For example -
Infection control - you will find it useful to download the latest infection control poster from the Health Protection Agency and share it with children’s families. You might also put a copy in your portfolio to show Ofsted that you protect children from the spread of infection.
You should then think about the following...
- Have tissues in every room and give children access to a lidded bin;
- Remind children to wash their hands after coughing and sneezing;
- Wipe noses regularly and then wash your hands;
- Wash your hands in a dedicated sink if possible. If not be prepared to explain to Ofsted how you clean your sink after use to ensure it is not contaminated;
- Wash soft toys daily if they have been chewed or coughed / sneezed on by the children;
- Clean chewed toys after each use;
- Avoid instruments which are blown except when supervised so you can make sure children are not swapping them without cleaning first etc.
Medication administration - for the Childcare Register it must include details about how you support individual children with medical needs.
See Ofsted factsheet for more information (doc 080290)
Missing child - your procedures if you lose a child - these procedures should be discussed with parents so they know what you will do and how you will protect their child in an emergency situation.
Risk assessment - while it is not a requirement to have written risk assessments, you must have a procedure in writing to comply with the Childcare Register.
See Ofsted Risk Assessment factsheet for more information (doc 120334).
Safeguarding children - for the Childcare Register it must include the procedures to be followed in the event of an allegation being made against a member of staff. For the EYFS 2012 it must include information about mobile phone and camera use.
This procedure MUST be shared with parents if the child is on the Childcare Register.
More information about safeguarding -
Safeguarding - is how you protect a child from harm
Child protection - is what happens if the child has not been protected from harm and now needs extra support.
My procedure is called - Safeguarding and child protection policy and procedures
Your procedure must include details about what to do if an allegation is made against you or a member of your family / staff. It must also include information about mobile phone and camera use. If you work with an assistant or co-childminder you must include information about whistleblowing.
Your local authority might have a model safeguarding policy and procedures which they ask you to adopt - ours in Cheshire East is 10 pages long! Check and ask if there is one available and make sure you follow the requirements.
Smoking - it is a requirement of the EYFS 2012 that you protect children from the dangers of smoke and smoky atmospheres. Your policy must state this. I include information from Smoke Free England in my policy - http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/.
Visitors - your procedure must discuss how you check the identity of visitors - the use of a visitors book is a hotly debated subject on the Childminding Forum. It is not a statutory requirement to have a book for visitors and many childminders refuse to record who comes into their house. The EYFS says that you must show how you protect children from intruders – a visitors book or other type of signing in sheet - such as in your daily diary - is a good place to start evidencing this one.
You must take note of the wording in the EYFS 2012, the Childcare Register 2012 and any factsheets and further information produced by Ofsted when writing your policies and procedures. You might also be given support by your Local Authority especially regarding safeguarding - ask them for further advice and information. It is important that these policies and procedures are read and understood by parents - Ofsted might ask parents to discuss them during your inspection. I would also say that there are some other policies and procedures that are very important to share with parents, as they show how you run your business such as a fees policy!