If you have a passion for the safety and well-being of children and a desire to make the world a better place, you may want to consider a career as a childcare inspector.
What does a childcare inspector do?
In the UK, childcare inspectors work in Ofsted, or the Office for Standards in Education, Childrens Services, and Skills. Inspectors may work directly for Ofsted, in which case theyre called Her Majestys Inspectors (HMIs), or on a contract basis, in which case theyre called additional inspectors (AIs). Both HMIs and AIs inspect childcare facilities throughout the UK to confirm that theyre in compliance with national standards. Tasks include:
- Preparing for inspections by reading briefings and previous reports
- Consulting with other staff members about any previous development plans and what progress has been made
- Gathering feedback from both parents and other professionals
- Visiting childcare centers on location
- Rating the childcare based on how well it complies with national standards
- Verifying that the center is providing for the safety and welfare of the children in its care
- Taking detailed notes
- Compiling written reports and making presentations
- Giving feedback to the childcare center, including any steps they need to take to improve
Where and when do childcare inspectors work?
- Childcare inspectors typically work a normal schedule, but that can vary when inspections are scheduled.
- Overnight travel is sometimes required when inspecting a facility too far away from home.
- Excellent communication and people skills
- The ability to build rapport with the childcare providers youll be inspecting
- Keen powers of observation
- Accurate note-taking skills
- The ability to consider all of the evidence and make a fact-based decision that is fair to all concerned
- The ability to stay calm under pressure and in situations where the other party is tense or angry
- The ability to present feedback in an assertive but tactful way
- Leadership skills
- Analytical skills
Qualifications and entry requirements
- A degree in a relevant field, like education, childcare, or social work
- The ability to obtain Disclosure and Barring Service clearance
- At least five years of leadership experience in a child-oriented role (as a head teacher, for instance)
- A track record improving the facilities in which you worked
Once youre hired, youll begin induction training. That includes training sessions, practice/training inspections, and the support of a mentor. You would also be inspected to pursue continued professional development and to stay current on any legislation or other factors that would affect childcare.
National Careers Service projects that there will be an additional 43,000 inspectors working in the UK between now and 2020.
Few things are more important than the health and safety of our children. As a childcare inspector, you could be confident that you were doing a job thats essential to the well-being of children and their families.
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