Following up on my commitment to answer questions asked by childminders, here is some information about socket covers which you can use if challenged during your Ofsted inspection...
Ofsted state that they ‘neither recommend nor criticise the use of socket covers by childcare providers’.
Ofsted’s remit is to check that the environment in which childcare is provided is safe and meets legal requirements and they state that it is the childminders responsibility to have a risk assessment policy and procedures and risk assessments (which do not necessarily need to be in writing) in place.
If you choose not to use socket covers because you have read about the concerns over their safety you should inform your Ofsted inspector about how you keep children safe without socket covers in place.
If the inspector criticises your decision you should refer them to their own literature - Early Years magazine Sept 2011.
...and to the Fatally Flawed website for further information.
You might find it helpful to read the Fatally Flawed website when writing your risk assessment. You can include references to the Fatally Flawed website and research data to back up your arguments.
You will also find a sample socket cover policy which you can adopt, changing it as necessary to suit your provision.
Note that from September 2012 the revised EYFS does not require childminders to have written risk assessments. However, this is causing a lot of problems because Ofsted inspectors are looking for risk assessments in writing - and childminders are finding it difficult to provide evidence of what they do when they are trying to manage children’s needs in a busy household while answering an inspector’s questions.
I strongly recommend you continue to have a set of written risk assessments for the environment (inside and outside) and covering any outings you go on with the children.
This free document will give you lots of information about writing risk assessments.
You can find out more about Ofsted expectations, including the requirement for a written risk assessment policy and procedures, here.
... and in this Childminding Forum thread .
If you have any questions about socket covers or risk assessments please ask!
Chat soon, Sarah x