Open Letter to Sir Michael Wilshaw

This is an open letter to Ofsted Chief Sir Michael Wilshaw in response to comments he made in an article published in the Evening Standard on 3rd September 2014.

The letter has been written by an Ofsted Outstanding Rated Childminder and is supported by and thousands of other childminders.

Dear Sir

Childminders have taken to social media in their thousands to question why you made such offensive, ill-informed and potentially damaging remarks about registered childminders during a recent interview to the Evening Standard. We know you don’t like childminders – you made that clear last year when you announced that we were too expensive to register and backed the ridiculous and badly thought out DfE plan to introduce childminder agencies.

However, to use the press yet again to demean and disparage us to such an extent is, in our view, completely outside of your remit as the head of an allegedly impartial and independent agency.

We have a very recent letter (dated 19th August 2014) from the Secretary of State for Education who says that ‘the government greatly values childminders for their ability to provide flexible, high quality, affordable, home-based care that parents want and is committed to supporting and promoting this important profession’… so we question why the head of Ofsted is making comments which are totally at odds with central Government policy.

Parents do not believe that schools are the right places for 2 year olds … they need to be in caring, supportive environments where they can be nurtured and cuddled. Nurseries and childminders know that schools are not the right places for 2 year olds … we teach them through playful interactions every day, helping them towards independence and social awareness and much, much more. For goodness sake Mr Wilshaw even schools (the ones which have spaces) know that they are not the right places for 2 year olds! Why keep pushing this damaging agenda when you are not even a policy maker – you are a regulator!

I know a lot of my colleagues have written to you as well to express their outrage and shock at your very ill-advised comments. I think the least we can ask for is an unreserved apology for your comments and the distress you have caused and next time you speak to the media tell them about the amazing life experiences children receive with highly qualified, caring and professional childminders who, sad to say, are leaving the profession in their droves because of comments like the one you have just made.

Sarah Neville

Ofsted Outstanding Registered Childminder

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