Ofsted published a release of their periodical review of inspection judgments of children’s homes between 1 April 2019 and 31 August 2019 at the end of November 2019.
Ofsted regulates children’s homes (which includes children’s care homes, secure children’s homes and residential special schools registered as children’s homes) and inspects them under a “social common inspection (SCCIF) framework” which was last updated in November 2019.
All children’s care homes receive a full inspection each year and then there are interim inspections and ad hoc, concern-driven inspections depending on risk. The release is supplemental to the annual statistics published each year in July, covering inspections carried out in the year up to 31 March of that same year. The last annual review is available to download here.
According to the release, by 31 August 2019, 93% of homes had an inspection judgement. Of those 2,216 homes:
- 18% were judged outstanding
- 64% were judged good
- 15% were judged as requires improvement
- 3% were judged as inadequate
From those children’s homes which have been inspected up to August 2019, compared with their inspection judgment from 2018-2019:
- 54% were judged the same
- 23% improved
- 23% declined
Rather unhelpfully, because of a shift in review cycles, Ofsted have “chosen not to include comparisons to last year’s data”.
More children’ homes were deemed inadequate in 31 August 2019 than at 31 March 2019 and in respect of secure children’s homes, almost a third are judged inadequate. On the face of it, this is a concern.
However, as Ofsted explains, these figures may be skewed somewhat by the inspection cycle, and “is expected because of the way children’s homes are selected for inspection based on their risk assessment.” Some of those rated requires improvement or inadequate may well be re-inspected before the annual results are published next July and their rating judgment improved. A three month snapshot may not accurately reflect a whole year’s inspection activity.