Childcare Inspector

The Job and What's Involved

As a childcare inspector, you would monitor the quality of childcare provision for children from birth to eight years, including crèches, childminders, out of school care and local authority or privately owned nurseries.

You would work as part of a team of inspectors, making sure that childcare services meet national standards, which cover:

The suitability of the premises.

The suitability of the people who will be caring for the children or be in contact with them (for example partners of childminders).

Provision for the welfare and development of the children.

Your duties would typically include:

  • Visiting and observing childcare services.
  • Gathering information by observing, examining documents and talking to providers.
  • Working from home to complete inspection reports.
  • Submitting your reports online through a purpose-built IT system.
  • Arranging CRB and health checks, and checks on premises, as part of the registration process.
  • Looking into complaints or information suggesting that childcare providers are not meeting standards.

You would be home-based, and would be allocated work within reasonable travelling distance. You would usually work 36 hours a week, Monday to Friday.

Although you would meet regularly with members of your team, you would spend a lot of time working alone, so would need to be able to plan and organise your own time.

Childcare inspectors can earn between £24,000 and around £27,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

In England you would be employed by Ofsted. In Wales, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales inspects childcare services and employs inspectors.

Jobs are often advertised in the national and local press, through specialist agencies, and on websites such as Nursery World, Local Government Jobs and Children and Young People Now.

Education and Training

To work as a childcare inspector you would need:

A degree, preferably in a subject related to childcare, health, social work or education and,

A substantial amount of experience in childcare.

You would also needCriminal Records Bureau (CRB).

As your work woul involve a lot of travel, you would need a driving licence and access to transport.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

As an inspector in England, you would receive full training from the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) when you start work. This would last for about three months, and would include some overnight stays away from home. You would then complete a probationary period.

You may receive support from a mentor within your team at first, and throughout your career you would keep in contact with colleagues by regular meetings, telephone calls and emails.

There would be regular opportunities to discuss your progress and any problems with your team manager, and to attend workshops in your region or around the country.

In Wales, you would be recruited and trained by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A childcare inspector needs:

  • Organisational skills.
  • The ability to prioritise work and meet deadlines.
  • Self-motivation and flexibility.
  • A professional, courteous and tactful approach.
  • Excellent spoken and written communication skills.
  • Observational and interviewing skills.
  • The ability to gather, analyse and interpret evidence.
  • The ability to make objective judgements based on evidence.
  • IT skills.
  • The ability to give advice and feedback in a sensitive way.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience you may be able to progress to a job with more responsibility, such as team manager.

Get Further Information

Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Childrens Services and Skills),
Royal Exchange Buildings, St Ann's Square, Manchester M2 7LA
Tel: 0845 640 4045
Website: www.ofsted.gov.uk

Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales
Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NQ
Tel: 01443 848450
Website: www.cssiw.org.uk

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