Latest Public Sector News

19.04.13

Harsher inspections for early years childcare

Ofsted plans to toughen its inspections of nurseries and childminders, and reclassify ‘satisfactory’ as ‘requiring improvement’.

Head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw said the number of poor nurseries was “unacceptable”.

The proposed changes to early years inspections would mirror a similar toughening of standards and reclassification of ‘satisfactory’ seen in the schools regime.

But the Pre-School Learning Alliance says real improvements will need more funding.

Nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are not improving fast enough between inspections, particularly in poorer areas, according to Ofsted.

Its 2012 figures showed the majority of England's nurseries and childminders as ‘good’ (62%) or ‘outstanding’ (12%). But a quarter were ‘satisfactory’ and 1% ‘inadequate’.

Sir Michael is due to say: “We all know from the research that children's early years are a period of rapid development and vital for building a secure foundation for future personal and academic success. Parents, whatever their circumstances, want their children to access good quality childcare and get a good early education that sets them up well for statutory schooling.

“Yet too many providers are not good enough, particularly in the most deprived areas. We must be tougher on weak settings. From September 2013, nurseries and pre-schools judged less than good will need to improve rapidly.”

Education and childcare minister Elizabeth Truss said: “I want to see more teacher-led nursery classes where children are learning so that they arrive at school ready to progress.”

Purnima Tanuku of the National Day Nurseries Association, said the Government needed to ensure there are “sufficient support mechanisms in place to help weaker settings get better”.

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