Quality early years provisionThe Ofsted report found that the early years and childcare sectors continues to perform well and suggests that the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage has forced ineffective providers to leave the system.

In 2009/10, the proportion of early years registered providers judged good or outstanding for overall effectiveness increased to slightly over two thirds. A remarkable achievement considering the difficult climate providers continue to face nationwide.

Of those providers judged inadequate in 2008/09 and who have since been reinspected, 95% are now satisfactory or better.

The report also revealed that the quality of provision is lower in areas of high deprivation; the more deprived the area, the lower the proportion of good and outstanding providers. Just over half (52%) of childminders in the most deprived areas are good or outstanding, compared with 71% in the least deprived areas.

The National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) has responded to Ofsted’s 2009/10 Annual Report, welcoming the high standards of the early years sector. However, Purnima Tanuku, chief Executive of NDNA expressed her concerns with the fall in the number of providers and clear differences in provision for children in disadvantaged areas.

Purnima Tanuku commented, “NDNA welcomes how Ofsted’s Annual Report continues to demonstrate how early years provision goes from strength to strength, with an increase in the number of providers judged ‘good’ or ‘outstanding.’

‘Early years provision goes from strength to strength’

“We are also pleased to see that providers who are part of a quality assurance scheme are more likely to receive higher ratings and that Ofsted recognises there is a ‘strong correlation’ between being part of a scheme and the drive for quality improvement. For a number of years, NDNA has seen nurseries who undertake its e-Quality Counts scheme achieve higher inspection ratings for the benefit of children and families.”

However, Purnima did add that the lack of quality provision in deprived areas is causing concern, “The NDNA is concerned that children in disadvantaged areas continue to have access to services of a lower quality. High-quality provision is critical for such children, and as we move to an 15 hour entitlement for all disadvantaged two year olds, they must be able to access a service in their local community that meets their needs and supports improved outcomes.

“It is critical that we look to address this trend, including supporting providers in disadvantaged areas with business support, to overcome some of the challenges associated with their location. As this report identifies, self evaluation and engagement with parents remains a challenge for some providers, and NDNA would like to stress that a robust quality improvement scheme, training, and advice can again support these areas.

“However, overall this report demonstrates that nurseries are working extremely hard to raise standards in what is a difficult climate, and NDNA would like to congratulate the sector on continuing to deliver high- quality services that clearly benefit the lives of children and families.“

Downloadable Resource: Ofsted released a small scale survey identifing some of the factors that contributed to good outcomes for children in need in a range of different types of early years and childcare settings.

What are your views on this year’s Ofsted report? Do you think that the Early Years Foundation Stage is helping raise the standards in the early years sector? Join the discussion below.

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