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Title: Early years childcare provision in rural local authorities in England : an examination of factors that support childminders in the development of a quality service
Author: Evans, Lesley
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis aims to identify factors that have supported childminders living in rural English local authorities in achieving ‘outstanding’ home-based childcare. The Childcare Act 2006 legislated for the integration of childminders into the English education system through the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage in 2008. Since 2005, childminders have been judged against the same Ofsted criteria and standards required of all early years providers. In 1999, the New Labour government announced a commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020. Parents in employment were regarded as vital to the reduction of poverty, and along with nurseries and preschools, childminders were essential for ensuring sufficient childcare was available to meet parents’ needs. Childminders have been portrayed as offering inferior provision. Research has shown that it is high quality early years provision that enhances the lifelong chances of disadvantaged children. A mixed method survey was used. A questionnaire was sent to all English local authorities. ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted reports of childminders in the rural local authority with the highest number of ‘outstanding’ judgements were analysed, as were those of the 55 ‘outstanding’ childminders with whom telephone interviews were conducted and who lived in 18 rural local authorities. Findings identified vastly disparate support for childminders, both between local authorities as well as between providers within the same local authority. A structured local authority network, incorporating quality assurance, was most effective in supporting childminder progression; however, the study found most childminders have limited or no access to networks. Childminders report their childminder colleagues, qualification training and previous experiences offered most support. This study provides a perspective of childminders which has hitherto been lacking; that of articulate, educated, reflective, committed professionals. The study shows that proposed changes for childminder regulation and inspection are premised on false claims and show a disregard for international research and policy.
Supervisor: Nutbrown, Cathy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available