Tough inspection plans for nurseries


Plans to ensure that good is the only acceptable standard of education and care provided by nurseries, pre-schools and childminders for the youngest children has been announced by Ofsted.

Under the plans, childcare providers currently classed as 'satisfactory' will be dubbed 'requiring improvement' and undergo extra inspections.

The move follows inspection evidence that nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are not improving fast enough.
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, formally launched a consultation on changes to the inspection framework aimed at improving the quality of early years provision during a visit to the Thomas Coram Early Childhood Centre, in central London.

The latest Ofsted figures show that in 2012 the majority of England's nurseries and childminders were judged "good" (62%) or "outstanding" (12%) by inspectors - but 25% were judged "satisfactory" with 1% classed as "inadequate".

Under the proposed changes from September only "good" or better will be deemed acceptable by Ofsted.

Nurseries and pre-schools "requiring improvement" will undergo more frequent inspections and will have a maximum of four years to achieve a "good" rating.

Those which fail to do this are likely to be then judged "inadequate" and may face closure.

The Chief Inspector of Education, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said: ""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."

Commenting on Ofsted's announcement, the 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."