Childcare Regulations Event Summary

17 July 2014

Playwork Partnerships held a meeting about the changes to the Childcare regulations that will come into effect in September.  They include the fact that anyone working with over 8 year olds is no longer required to hold a qualification and the ratio of adults to children in this age group is now 1 to 30.  There is also no requirement to have an Equalities policy which may have implications for disabled children accessing play settings when ratios are so high and staffing levels minimal. There may well be no consideration to inclusive practice and more barriers preventing ALL children playing.

The meeting was attended by Lesli Godfrey from SkillsActive who had met the previous week with Ofsted and Chris Martin from UNITE. There were also representatives from many organisations including training providers, development teams, playworkers and managers from Out of School Settings.

The meeting discussed the changes and Ofsted's responses to questions that had been sent via Lesli. There was general dismay that the playwork qualification was no longer a requirement  for those working with over 8's and whilst there was some pleasure in the fact that the learning and development assessments had been removed, the fear was that places looking to save money, particularly Academy run schools, would look to reduce staff. With less staff providing resources and spaces it is feared that children's opportunity to play freely and access a range of play opportunities including risk and challenge would be seriously curtailed.  An overall concern was that children would end up sitting behind desks in homework clubs as this was the only way one person, particularly unqualified in playwork, could manage thirty children.

In order to move the discussion forward into action the group came up with some ideas including using social media to raise awareness, discussions with parents and carers about what made a good play provision and the need for a statement that all good settings would endorse around the need for qualified and experienced staff with a knowledge of play and playwork. Chris Martin offered to write this statement and circulate for discussion.

There will be another meeting arranged in the autumn to discuss the initial statement from Chris and there has been a petition set up through Change.org to appeal to Nicky Morgan the new Education Secretary. The meeting also discussed the preferred use of the description Out Of School rather than After School to ensure that play settings are seen as time for children away from schooling and not an excuse to extend their learning day further.

Full notes of the meeting along with supporting documents can be downloaded here:

This is something people felt very strongly about and will continue to express concern over in whatever forum is available. If you would like to get involved let us know at team@playwork.co.uk 

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