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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