Childminders have risen in great numbers to protest about proposals circulating in Whitehall that could mean that they are no longer registered and inspected as individuals under the Early Years Foundation Stage.
The National Childminding Association has reacted by launching a campaign, Individual Inspection Matters, and a survey of both NCMA members and non-members.
Some 2,000 childminders had signed up to the campaign in the first week.
Taking childminders out of individual inspection in favour of some sort of agency-based system would fit with the Government's agenda for deregulation, but would in fact be a huge step backwards for the profession and for children and families.
Deregulation of childcare in the Netherlands, cited by MP Elizabeth Truss in this issue of Nursery World as a shining example of what can be done, has in reality led to rising Government costs and falling quality and is now being rapidly reversed. (See the feature by Anand Shukla and Eva Lloyd at www.nurseryworld.co.uk.)
It would be very detrimental if recent progress in childminders' professionalism, qualifications and quality were to be put at risk - and, of utmost importance, children's well-being should not be at risk either in the name of deregulation.
Just a little more time!
All those of you who have been telephoning and e-mailing because you were afraid you would miss the deadline for entries to the Nursery World Awards 2012 can stop panicking! There is now an extension until Friday May 25 - but make sure you don't wait too long, or you won't get the chance to be a winner.