There is evidence to show that 74% of early years providers were graded good or outstanding by Ofsted, that is a 6% rise from last quarter. These figures are for inspections between 1 April 2014 and 30 June 2014 in nurseries, pre-schools and childminders. The proportion of outstanding settings has not changed but the settings graded good has risen to 67% from 61%. There has also been a decrease in those settings with grades requiring improvement (18 per cent) or inadequate (8 per cent).
The Pre-school Learning Alliance noted that the improvements in outcomes coincided with Ofsted’s decision to remove non-priority complaint-driven early years inspections, therefore Ofsted has opened a discussion into how early years data should be published.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said, ‘It’s telling that this improvement in outcomes occurred in the same quarter as the removal of the 30-day complaint-driven inspection option. We have long argued that these inspections were resulting in a disproportionately high number of poor judgements”. Even though these figures show there are shortfalls in the funding, early childhood care providers still deliver high quality child care.
Victoria Flint, head of communications at the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, said the figures were ‘a testament to the dedication and hard work of childcare professionals during a time when the sector faces significant challenges in the form of reduced funding and local authority support.’
Purnima Tanuku, chief executive, National Day Nurseries Association says that even though the statistics today show an improvement in the overall number of good or outstanding nurseries, recent inspections show how the number drops to 74% which is lower than the average figure of 83% for the sector as a whole. Ofsted is currently deciding whether to publish inspections 3 times a year instead of quarterly.
It is now almost a year since the standards for early years providers were raised and with almost three-quarters of inspections being graded good or outstanding, they are on the right track. This allows parents to be reassured that their children are in the care of high quality workers who are bettering their chances and educational development.
Although there are still many provisions who do not give children the best start in life, Ofsted are going to be working with this 18% to boost their grades.
Consultation on early years statistics
Ofsted is considering changes to the inspection reports. They are asking for views from early years providers on changing the frequency of the two reports and merging the two reports on early years statistics together and renaming the publication.Ofsted wants to remove data from some of the charts in the report due to the introduction of childminding agencies. As childminders are registered with an agency they can not be registered with Ofsted, which would cause reports on childminder trends to be ‘unreliable’.
Ofsted says, ‘If the responses to this consultation supports the proposal of combining the two releases together, there is an opportunity to bring registration and inspection data together and report on them at the same point in time.’
Ofsted would make sure the modified file remains the same in terms of the information gathered from inspections and they would improve provider level files and include registration data