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In connection with 'Ofsted register fees set to soar' (News, 29November), this is yet another so-called 'consultation' by thisGovernment. How can you have 'consultation' when you have alreadydecided how much and when the increases will occur? I am sure everyprivately funded and operated business, let alone nursery, would love tobe able to increase any portion of their income streams by 195 percent.

The Government has already made operating private nurseries almostimpossible with the layers of bureaucracy implemented since they came topower. But the nursery education funding has been the almost the deathknell for most nurseries.

Now the PVI sector is to 'fund' the NEG through the increase inregistration fees. If your nursery takes the NEG, you are not allowed tocharge top-up fees; now the Government will increase your overheads, sothose of us who have opted out of the NEG for financial, fiscal andoperational reasons are now funding the NEG directly. Another stealthtax implemented via the back door by this Government.

It is also proposing to remove the 'benefit' we receive when applyingfor an Enhanced CRB on any employee, asking 'is this the best use oftaxpayers' money?'. Possibly not, but we became a registered body withthe CRB to avoid delays and so that we could liaise directly with theCRB on any application. This cost us 300.

It then decided to change the rules, as there were too many registeredbodies. As we did not make 'enough' CRB applications (obviously ourfault for having a stable and satisfied workforce!), we lost ourregistered body status. Did we get the money back? Hell, no.

This has to stop; we have to stand up and fight. I have responded to theconsultation online and you can view this onwww.dfes.gov.uk/consultations/conResponsePrint.cfm.

Simon Burman, director, The Pre-School Centre Ltd


What an interesting forum discussion with senior nursery practitionerson issues around 'dirty children' and Diane Rich's excellent expert'sviewpoint (Let's talk about, 22 November).

I just wanted to point out the paper on 'messy play' by BernadetteDuffy, head of Thomas Coram Centre for Children and Families, on theCD-ROM in the Early Years Foundation Stage materials. Viewers can findthis to read or print off in the index of resources under the key themeof Learning and Development, or on the Principles into Practice sectionin commitment 4.3 'Creativity and Critical Thinking'. It deepens andinforms this area of debate.

Jane Cole, early childhood consultant


I read with interest Liz Turner's comments regarding her recent Ofstedinspection. As per her inspection, our inspector arrived at nursery at9am and spent two days with us.

As a nursery owner, this was my third inspection and by no means theleast stressful inspection we have ever had. But our inspector (who wasalso being inspected) made the staff feel relaxed and at ease.

The tide is changing, so let's give inspectors the support theydeserve.

Chris Stoker, Bridge End House Day Nursery, Brighouse, WestYorkshire



After a year of debate about curriculum issues, unfair funding andillogical qualification requirements, I thought it would be nice tofinish with a round-up of those quirky little errors that children make,and we would rather not correct. Maybe other readers could add their ownlittle gems to these examples of three- to five- year-olds making senseof the Nativity.

A three-year-old boy told his mum he had been singing about 'Mary andthe baby cheezers'.

A four-year-old boy with English as an Additional Language sangsincerely about the 'Baby Genius'.

And finally, the soprano voice of a five-year-old as she reached thehigh note on 'alelu alelu alelu ... yuk!'

Lesley Todd, St Andrews Infant and Nursery School, Colchester

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