As a parent you may wish to know the legal issues surrounding your child/childrens rights when taking them to a home-based childcarer. Legislation is the laws of the country that define rules and regulations passed by Acts of Parliament. There are numerous laws relating to children and young people in the UK including the Education Act (1981) ???Secretary of state required to publish a code of practice for children with special educational needs. Parents of children under 2 years have the right to ask for the child to be formally assessed???, the Reporting of injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurences Regulations (RIDDOR) (1995) ???Specify certain accidents and incidents that must by law be reported???, the Children Act (1989) ???First acknowledgement in UK law of children??™s rights, encapsulated by the phrase: ???the needs of the child are paramount??™??? and many more but the most influential Acts are:
– The Children Act (2004), which arose from the Green Paper ???Every Child Matters??™. It identifies five outcomes for children:
??? Be Healthy
??? Stay safe
??? Enjoy and achieve
??? Make a positive contribution
??? Achieve economic well-being
– The Childcare Act (2006) which introduced the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in England. The EYFS comprises a set of Welfare Requirements and a set of Learning and Development Requirements which must be followed by providers of care for children below 5 years old. The Welfare and Learning and Development requirements are not specified in the Act but in separate Orders.
All childcare providers, including childminders, nurseries, and pre-school classes, are obliged to register under the Childcare Act in order to operate legally. To become and remain registered they must comply with the Welfare requirements, and with the Learning and Development requirements for settings in England.
Briefly, the EYFS implements six areas covered by the early learning goals and educational programmes:
??? Personal, Social and Emotional Development;
??? Communication, Language and Literacy;
??? Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy;
??? Knowledge and Understanding of the World;
??? Physical Development;
??? Creative Development.
None of these areas of Learning and Development can be delivered in isolation from the others. They are equally important and depend on each other to support a rounded approach to child development. All the areas must be delivered through planned, purposeful play, with a balance of adult-led and child-initiated activities.
These outcomes and the EYFS framework form the basis of Inspections, which are carried out by Ofsted ??“ the regulatory body for home-based childcarers in the UK.
The regulatory bodies have processes and systems to control home-based childcare in the following ways:
??? Registration ??“ This covers checks on the childminder, on other adults who live with them and the premises of the business.
??? Inspection ??“ This is when inspectors carry out checks on the service offered, and on the childminder once registered. They produce a report, which is then available on the websites of the regulatory bodies and must be offered to parents.
??? Investigation ??“ Following a complaint or concern an inspector may carry out an investigation into the childcare service to make sure it??™s meeting and complying with the welfare requirements. This is in addition to the inspection.
??? Enforcement ??“ If they decide the carer is not meeting the welfare requirements or standards expected, the regulatory body can take action against them.
The Ofsted website has a short description of their service, as follows:
???Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children??™s Services and Skills. We report directly to Parliament and we are independent and impartial. We inspect and regulate services which care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.
Every week, we carry out hundreds of inspections and regulatory visits throughout England, and publish the results on our website.
The aim of all this work is to promote improvement and value for money in the services we inspect and regulate, so that children and young people, parents and carers, adult learners and employers benefit.???
Childminders are there to ensure the well-being of your child whilst in their care, at the same time offering guidance and support to aid their learning and development. The regulatory body (Ofsted) follow the guidelines as set above in order to ensure this is put into practice.