A third of early years providers are not ‘good’, according to Ofsted

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The figure reflects results from 17,400 inspections carried out by Ofsted between 1 September 2012 and 31 October 2013.

33% childcare providers were deemed satisfactory or below, with 25% (around 5,800) meeting the requirements for satisfactory. 8% were declared inadequate.

The number of settings not meeting the criteria for ‘good’ has risen since the 2011-12 academic year, when the figure was 26%.

While more childminders were given lower grades, the percentage of nurseries and childminders in each grade band was very similar.

These statistics are a result of Ofsted toughening up the way it carries out inspections at settings and a stronger focus on those where there may be cause for concern.

November 2013 saw another change in the way early years inspections happen, with the inspectorate claiming they will be harder still on inadequacy. Only ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ is now seen as acceptable.

Those not meeting the standards could face closure. It remains to be seen how this affects the next set of statistics.

Are tougher inspections a good thing for the industry? Or does it place too much stress on staff? Do the higher standards force an increase in the cost of childcare? Comment below…

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13 thoughts on “A third of early years providers are not ‘good’, according to Ofsted

  • March 9, 2014 at 1:05 pm
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    These figures may be shocking, but I do think they reflect the fact that so many childcare professionals experience such a low rate of pay. I understand that a childcare facility needs to be profitable, as does any other business. I also understand that paying for childcare can take up most of your income if you’re on a low salary. However, these are problems that must be addressed if we want to attract and retain the services of great quality childcare professionals. Our children deserve the very best, childcare professionals deserve to be paid accordingly – after all, they are taking care of our most precious assets 🙂 . I honestly believe that low rates of pay in the childcare industry lead to so many providers employing young staff who may not have the patience and dedication required to deliver an excellent service at all times.

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  • March 6, 2014 at 5:29 pm
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    Hear hear Brita – 2/3rds were graded good and above – that’s not bad!
    It would be interesting to find out why that 1/3rd were under a good – was it due to a faddy inspector or there often skewed interpretation of EYFS; (what the division of settings were) etc.

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  • March 6, 2014 at 5:09 pm
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    So that means 2/3 of providers are GOOD and above. Fantastic we should all give ourselves a pat on the back.

    Nick I am sorry but I agree with the inspector. you should have had LJs in place. No difference if it is 1 or 150 all are individual children and should be considered so and all should have been observed and their starting places noted within their first days they were in your care. That is your job and the requirements of your Registration with Ofsted. It is what you are being paid by parents to do and you should insure you have enough staff of the correct quality and ability to do what is required of you. It is not the inspectors fault that you failed to uphold this aspect of the EYFS and as you did not your service was inqadequate at the most basic level was it not. ? Sorry if that sounds harsh but you only have to read the EYFS and the Inspection Guidelines to know it.

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  • March 6, 2014 at 4:01 pm
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    Majority of the Inspectors go on thier daily duties with ‘tick box’ mentality. They have limited personal knowledge of how the service is delivered, limited time in which to assess the settings and then report on them and MAINLY driven by targets. OFSTED has come into a lot of criticism about the whole inspection process vast majority of settings that have recently been inspected resent how these so called ‘Inspectors’ have the audacity to come round and tell the operators how to deliver a good service. Moral in the Industry is already low and the press is constantly harping on about high child-care costs….. How about some journalist comes round to a nursery and spend a day watching what is involved and how staff cope with the daily demands! All for low financial rewards.

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    • March 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm
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      Sadly there is no such thing as a tick box mentality when doing an inspection, if there was it would be easy!

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  • March 6, 2014 at 8:57 am
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    Last year we had a Ofsted inspection due to a complaint (which was found to be unsupported)and was down graded from Good with nine areas of outstanding to satisfactory, our parent complained to Ofsted about the conduct of the inspector, stating she should be working for MI5 not Ofsted has an interrogation Officer. This matter was washed under the table by Ofsted and we and our parent received no support from our local authority in the matter.

    We were down graded due to the fact we had just enrolled 79 new children at the beginning of September term and had not yet had learning journals for these new children. Inspection took place on the 23rd September 🙁 The inspector did not understand that to us, the main concern was to ensure that all these children settled in first which is meeting their individual needs through Personal, Social and Emotional development. There will be no development from any child until they feel secure within their environment, stated in the EYFS.

    Inspection are good, if they are conducted in a fair and unbiased way with some form of understanding of what is happening at the coal face at the time of the inspection.

    So where do we go from here, yes like all setting there is always room for improvements in what and how we deliver our services. But this too take time and money, and the single formula funding scheme is reducing the amount of money Satisfactory setting are getting through the free funding scheme for 2 and 3 year olds and increasing the funding for good or outstanding settings. So yet again where is the support for setting that need to improve?

    Rant over 🙂

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  • March 6, 2014 at 5:45 am
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    I was graded Outstanding in Nov 2013 (2nd outstanding in a row) which was after the even more strict criteria started to be used by inspectors. Yes there’s a lot of paperwork, yes its hard work but if you’re going to do such an important job you need to do it properly. I put in extra hours to do paperwork when children have gone so I can still do the job I love and not spend THEIR time shuffling forms around and ticking boxes. If I found the job too hard I’d do something else. We all know coming into it the pay is rubbish, the hours are long and the expectations are high so what’s the problem?

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  • March 5, 2014 at 9:55 pm
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    It’s become a ‘dictatorship’ of fads and buzz words. The words child and fun, have gone. The latest buzz words and fads are
    ‘schemas’ , ‘starting points’ and ‘next steps’. Always been around, always been used. Latest fashion, ‘junk’ to play with outside. Always been allowed in our setting……but not always approved of. Copying name cards, joining dots,using stencils…..all good fun….not good for the moment, although not many years ago you would not be a good setting unless each child had a name card with some tracing paper clipped to it for the children to trace! It’s like food, a little of everything in moderation, it’s all a fashion to keep people in jobs that can only watch and judge for a short time a tick boxes. Dictators who demoralize good, dedicated, kind, hard working ( but not always academic enough to produce good reports) staff, and make them want to give it all up. Keeping little people happy for 10 hrs a day is no easy task, and write about them too, takes away the enjoyment we all used to have interacting with the children in our care. What is ‘good?’….wonderful reports, start points, next steps, all beautifully assembled, or a room full of happy nurtured, busy children and staff?………..I wonder……. Remember, the children are individuals, but so should we be, not ‘clones’ as we have to be!…… I could go on, I’ve been working with under 5’s since 1973, but I’ll get off my soap box now. ( N.N.E.B.,A.D.C.E., N.V.Q.assessor, High Scope Prac. Senco, Enco )

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  • March 5, 2014 at 7:27 pm
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    I have no problem with ‘toughening up’ inspections as long as they do not cause even more settings to ‘fail’ just because they haven’t quite got their paperwork up to date.
    My setting was downgraded, following an (untrue, therefore malicious?) complaint-driven inspection, mainly because we had not had time to update some information (including something that we had only been informed of 2 or 3 days prior to the inspection), policies which were only ‘recommended’ had not been updated, the (private company) inspector did not like our lack of ‘effective’ staff supervisions and a volunteer trainee EYP was conducting a group time which was not deemed suitable for the age group – how else was she to learn what is suitable, if not by trial and error, and good feedback from us? Adults learn best (or should as long as what they are doing is ‘safe’) in the same way as children should – by experimenting and learning for themselves what works, and what does not!
    The care and education (apart from this observed activity) was not critisised and the parent, child and staff feed back was all excellent. However, the inspector spent +/- a 1/4 of her time observing the children, looking at displays and other evidence, and talking to the users of the facility – she spent the majority of her time in the office, going through our various files and questioning the Manager about our policies and proceedures.

    On the seperate subject of possible increased childcare costs, of course it could affect this! The amount of general paperwork, the time spent filling in EYFS profiles, organising parent feed back sessions, creating regular displays with photos, EYFS quotes and children’s quotes, the required further CPD training of staff, etc, etc will possibly be increased, leaving many independent nurseries, and very small ‘groups’ having to increase their Admin staff hours or take on extra staff so that the Manager has more time free if they cannot afford an Admin staff member, and do not have the ‘luxury’ of having a head office to deal with most of their policies etc, or affording to employ training staff or area managers.
    (In my 2 settings, the Nursery Managers are required to spend at least 20 – 30% of their working day interacting with the children, helping out at busy times and during staff lunch breaks and encouraging the staff to ensure that they are using SST and writing relevent observations. This is in order that they do not become totally office-bound and that they stay in touch with what is going on within the setting, including that appropriate activities are being planned, the children are content, and that they are aware of any staff discontent issues)
    We get constant email updates from Ofsted and our local EY department which we are expected to read / download / print / act upon immediately – but when do smaller settings, realistically, get enough time for this without employing extra staff, the cost of which has to be passed on if the business is to remain solvent?

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  • March 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm
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    Ofsted reprots are not worth the papaer they are written on – there is too much paperwork for Nursery managers and staff. If a third of nursery providers are not good then I suggest OFSTED find ways of making them improve – perhaps more time with the Children and less time with the pen and paper.

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    • March 6, 2014 at 7:02 pm
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      If a setting is now good then it is not down to Ofsted to make sure they improve but it falls to the local authority

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  • March 5, 2014 at 4:02 pm
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    Its a disaster ofsted have toughened up and made changes to EYFS which is why so many settings have failed, at the same time the inspectors themselves are inadequate just like local authority, who all give mixed messages because they do not have a clue as to what they are doing.
    Look at the tests carried out on inspectors by ofsted and how many failed , so the positions could be sub contracted out.

    Its a big train crash waiting to happen

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    • March 6, 2014 at 7:05 pm
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      Bit confused, you say it is a disaster that you have had to make improvements?? Settings are failing because they are NOT good enough for children, Ofsted set the standards but it is managers and practitioners who have to step up.
      I have a clue what I am doing so don’t tar all of us with the same brush

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