Ofsted introduce tougher inspection regime for nurseries

From today onwards, Ofsted are toughening up their inspection regime for nurseries and pre-school facilities.  Only those services rated as outstanding or good will be exempt from intervention.  The changes will bring the inspection of nurseries and pre-schools in line with the inspection of primary and secondary education establishments.  It removes the rating of ‘satisfactory’ and instead they will be told they ‘require improvement.’  Those classified as either requiring improvement or inadequate face the risk of having their registration cancelled.  The move is likely to affect thousands of nurseries and pre-schools caring for young children in England.

Latest figures suggested that up to 157,778 pre-schoolers are at facilities that are not considered good enough by inspectors.

Nurseries and pre-schools given the ‘requires improvement’ rating will be monitored and re-inspected within a year.  They will be given 2 years to raise their rating or risk being classed as ‘inadequate’.  Services classed as inadequate will be re-inspected within 6 months.

Commenting on the change, Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief executive of Ofsted, said “no-one thinks they should be allowed to languish in their inadequacy.  I wouldn’t have wanted my child to go to an inadequate nursery and I don’t believe that any parent would either – so we’re going to be less tolerant.” He added “when we go back to re-inspect an inadequate setting and it hasn’t improved, it’s likely that we may take steps to cancel the registration.”

Ofsted’s director of early years, Sue Gregory, said “Our revised framework will give further reassurance to parents, and give the early years sector the opportunity to demonstrate that they are providing a high quality service in which young children can develop in a safe environment.”

However, Davina Ludlow, director of daynurseries.co.uk, said “While we believe that every child deserves the very best education, we are concerned about the impact this ‘downgrade’ could have on nurseries and hard-working staff members.  The change being brought in by Ofsted risks adversely impacting staff motivation, resulting in more harm than good.  What nurseries need is more support from local authorities and national government if there is to be any improvement across the sector.”

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