Nurseries and childminders to face tougher inspections

 
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Nurseries and childminders in England will face tougher inspections under proposals announced by Ofsted.

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

The move follows concerns that nurseries are not improving fast enough, particularly in deprived areas.

The Pre-School Learning Alliance warned that real improvements would require better funding for childcare.

Chief inspector of education Sir Michael Wilshaw announced a consultation on the proposals in a speech to an invited audience in London.

Similar changes were made to school inspection ratings last year.

'Raising expectations'

Ofsted says that evidence from inspections shows that nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are not improving fast enough between inspections, particularly in poorer areas.

Sir Michael Wilshaw told the BBC the number of poor nurseries was "unacceptable"

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.

The watchdog says the proposals "will raise expectations and tackle weaker settings".

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

"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," Sir Michael said.

"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."

Sir Michael added that Ofsted would encourage good or outstanding childcare providers to support weaker ones.

Ofsted's most recent report on early years providers said that, despite an overall improvement, many children were not well prepared for school, particularly in poor areas.

Start Quote

I want to see more teacher-led nursery classes where children are learning so that they arrive at school ready to progress”

End Quote Elizabeth Truss Education and childcare minister

The report, analysing inspection reports from 2011-12, said: "It is a concern that 34% of children are not working securely in communication, language and literacy by the end of the early years foundation stage.

"It is also worse in deprived areas, where 41% of children are not working securely in communication, language and literacy," it adds.

'Support and advice'

Sir Michael said that inspections would also include a focus on qualifications held by early years staff. Earlier this year the ministers announced plans to allow nurseries and childminders to look after more children, but only if there is a qualified graduate present.

Ministers also said it was not acceptable that childcare professionals are not required to have at least GCSE grade C in English and maths.

Commenting on Ofsted's announcement, 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."

Prof Andy Goodwyn, of the University of Reading's Institute of Education, warned: "What the sector needs is not tougher inspection but better investment and a period of stability to allow its staff to build up their skills.

"It needs to become an attractive and high-status sector that can attract graduates who can see a real career path and a sustainable future. The very last thing it needs is more threats, disguised as yet another crusade to 'raise standards'."

Groups representing childcare providers broadly welcomed the focus on improvement with some reservations. Neil Leitch, of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said: "While we welcome the aspiration of high-quality childcare, without a rethink on policy and adequate funding from government, we struggle to see how a real improvement will be made."

Purnima Tanuku, of the National Day Nurseries Association, urged the government "to make sure that there are sufficient support mechanisms in place to help weaker settings get better".

Start Quote

The very last thing [the sector] needs is more threats, disguised as yet another crusade to 'raise standards' ”

End Quote Prof Andy Goodwyn University of Reading

She warned that local authority cuts had reduced the amount of local improvement work and free training for staff.

Anand Shukla, of the Daycare Trust, added: "We are particularly concerned by the suggestion that Ofsted will be the sole arbiter of quality in the early years. Ofsted is ultimately a regulator with a limited remit and is not resourced to enable it to influence providers in all parts of England.

"Local authorities tend to have local intelligence and are closest to providers."

Catherine Farrell, of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, said: "These new grades can only be introduced if Ofsted's own inspection judgements are more robust and if government recognises that providers will still need support and advice on how to improve."

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 402.

    It's kinda bad taste to trash someone when they're not here to respond.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 401.

    399 ommadawn200
    She got most upset when I accused her of that earlier - but she has kept me from eating too much chocolate :)
    Enjoy the wine!

  • Comment number 400.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 399.

    396.nagivatorjan: 392.ihopethisoneworks
    Pretty clear from early posts that 'Sally' is a troll or bot, but hey.... she made for an entertaining half hour.

    Just poured my wine too too, have a good evening everyone.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 398.

    ... because of bad tonsillitis problems, which resulted in my tonsils being removed when young, I didn't start primary school until 5 yrs and 6 months, until Sept, 1960. No formal schooling before that but I've still done very well. What counts, is quality of education and, essentially, parents who care.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 397.

    Ofsted have done a good job of suffocating the life out of our schools system over the years and now they want to do the same to pre-schools. I have no time for the regulatory body as a business man myself whos been to a grade 2 listed private provider, one has to wonder when no facilities worth teaching in are given such a high grade, you do start to question the integrity and validity of them.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 396.

    389 Golgotha
    Sally has a nasty habit of accusing people of all types of behaviour, so just ignore her.
    I think 392 ihopethisoneworks has the right idea, it's nearly 2130, back to the wine, rather than the whine!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 395.

    391 Anglerfish
    Fine,"innovative"?
    ref "Old Boys Network"teenage app developers,BBC Education page.
    Sorry if I appear argumentative?
    I realise context is ALL,as far as his quote is concerned,never-the-less would still appreciate your comments,thanks.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 394.

    I heard Wilshaw on radio 4 this am justify this saying that vetinary workers - working with animals - need to be more qualified than nursery workers who work with our children.
    That's a great comparison. We regularly take our animals to the vets so they can be huddled in a group and read a story. And our toddlers go to nursery to have medical proceedures.
    What an ignorant imbecile Wilshaw is.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 393.

    384.ommadawn2000
    9 Minutes ago
    382.
    CURTAINS 2012
    Does that mean you believe the children rather than their parents/environment to be flawed? Or did I misread?

    +++

    Fortunately very few children are born with developmental problems. But the detrimental impact of poor parenting/environment should be eliminated AFAP.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 392.

    @372.Sally
    @381.Blinkybilly

    Oops! That should be 400,000 teachers (200,000 teaching assistants). I I reckon Sally is a wind-up merchant. Now back to the wine.....

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 391.

    388. gerald
    ''Hi Anglerfish,please help!''

    I can do so only from personal experience. Since Xmas I must have delivered around 30 after-school staff meetings for teachers. In every one of those schools kids were involved, enthusiastically, in one or more activities well beyond 3.30. I can't recall all of them but certainly saw dance, science, gardening,history and art clubs and a film society.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 390.

    #385

    You give credence to the comment, education is wasted on some people.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 389.

    385.Sally

    "You advocate a Bolshevik education policy"

    That's funny becuase I haven't in a single post once mentioned anything about educational policy, perhaps you've confused me with another of your detractors?

    "Police can kick your door down, the state just needs to come up a lovely ambiguous term to label you."

    I thought we were talking about unpaid taxes here? Moved goal posts?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 388.

    Hi Anglerfish,please help!
    Dr Tony Sewell founder of Generating Genius said recently "at 15:30 when the bell goes in a state school,the kids are out of the door.Very few are staying behind doing innovative things"
    Correlation to recent proposals and private comparisons etc,sorry I'm a bit off topic as well!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 387.

    @372.Sally
    @381.Blinkybilly

    There are around 200,000 teachers in England alone. I don't think there can have been anything approaching 100, 000+ at that demo, otherwise it would have been on the news. The word minority still applies.

    I notice that the website is hosted in the US (Kansas according to Geotool) . Interesting.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 386.

    377.Sally
    8 Minutes ago


    375.CURTAINS
    The state.


    +++

    My name is not "Sally", so I'm not on The State's list of "Sally"s to be persecuted.

  • Comment number 385.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 384.

    382.
    CURTAINS 2012
    Does that mean you believe the children rather than their parents/environment to be flawed? Or did I misread?

    377.Sally
    Its hard but its not impossible, most courts are in rough agreement. I'd offer - someone who engages in armed conflict for political or doctrinal gain without due regards for the rules of war and internationally agreed rules of engagement. Is that you?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 383.

    377. Sally

    '374.Anglerfish
    I disagree with you. Deal with it'

    I am. You're wrong. Armed police do not come to your door if you haven't paid your taxes. It's simple. Keeping on saying 'Deal with it' is a bit pointless to be honest. And what's it got to do with nursery education anyway... oh, i remember, your think all state provision is evil.

 

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