Alliance comments on first childminder agency inspection report

Commenting on the publication of the inspection report for Leap Ahead Achieving for Children Childminder Agency, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said:

“There has been little information on the progress of the childminder agency initiative over recent months, and so we welcome the publication of this report, the first since agencies were formerly introduced two years ago. We particularly welcome the fact that the report contains information on the quality of care provided by the agency’s registered childminders, as well as service provided by the agency itself, although it is disappointing that it does not clarify how large a sample this is based on.

“While it is positive that the agency in question has been rated ‘effective’, we note the concerns around the agency’s ability to deal with EYFS breaches, training attendance and use of the self-evaluation process detailed in the report. These issues suggest that, as we have previously argued, a two-option ‘effective’ / ‘ineffective’ rating system is insufficient, as it provides no distinction between agencies that are delivering an acceptable service and those providing an excellent one.

“We remain sceptical of the childminder agency model, and in particular the reliance on agencies’ own quality assessment of their registered childminders, given the clear conflict of interest. Both the government and Ofsted would do better to focus their resources on the extensive network of experienced, high-quality independent childminders already operating, and ensuring that sufficient support is available to help stop their continued decline in number.”


For further information or to interview, Neil Leitch, Chief Executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, please contact:

Emma Caldwell
Pre-school Learning Alliance
T: 020 7697 2598
E: Emma Caldwell


Notes for editors

  1. The Pre-school Learning Alliance is the largest voluntary sector provider of quality affordable childcare and education in England.
  2. Through direct provision and its membership of 14,000 nurseries, sessional pre-schools and parent and toddler groups, the Alliance supports over 800,000 children and their families in England. The Alliance also develops and runs family learning programmes, offers information and advice, runs acclaimed training and accreditation programmes and campaigns to influence early years policy and practice.
  3. For information about the Pre-school Learning Alliance, visit our website:

More press releases