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Pat Wills observes how parents of young children are judged but not helped .

Involving children and young people is no longer an optional extra. National developments such as Every Child Matters and the Children Act, set in the context of international policy like the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, mean we have to talk with them and listen to them.

Having proposed a new trade body for the sector, Alan Bentley explains how it could be structured.

When we think of childcare, our first thought is usually of the support provided to children. But as anyone who works in childcare knows, we provide informal support to parents too.

I agree with the comments on inspection made by Steve and Barbara Whitewood, both childminders (Letters, 18 August). I have been a registered childminder for 11 years and now work with another registered childminder at my home.

It is impolite and inconsiderate not to make an appointment when carrying out a full combined inspection. As a busy day nursery manager I have various administrative commitments throughout the day, plus my deputy may be on holiday. With no supply cover available I may be taking a group of children and not free to accompany the inspector and answer questions.

The point of unannounced Ofsted inspection is to see the 'normal everyday' standards, high or low, or a mixture of both, in the provision, without a show put on. These new-style inspections are a must if we are ever to permanently raise standards in all provisions.

In response to 'When an inspector calls' (Letters, 4 August), while I empathise with the situation of private nurseries, I can assure the writer that inspections in schools are no easier. I was a nursery nurse in a school and the next inspection always loomed.

I am studying the NVQ level 4 in Education and Childcare and am investigating the effects of the Foundation Stage on play in sessional daycare. I would like to find out the opinions of early years workers who have made the transformation to the Foundation...

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