Research from the University of Surrey claims that children attending an ‘Outstanding’ nursery or one with highly qualified staff has limited benefit for them.
The research, published on the 13th February, outlined how the Government spends £2 billion a year on providing part-time nursery education for 3- and 4-year-olds in England. In the sample used for the research, 1 in 10 children attended an ‘Outstanding’ nursery, two thirds attended a ‘Good’ nursery, 1 in 5 attended a ‘Satisfactory’ one and 2% attended an ‘Inadequate’ nursery.
The research was conducted by teams from the Centre of Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics, University of Surrey and University College London.
Dr Blanden, a senior economics lecturer at the University of Surrey, said: “Successive governments have focused on improving staff qualifications, based on the belief these are important for children’s learning.
“Our research finding that having a graduate working in the nursery has only a tiny effect on children’s outcomes surprised us.
“It is possible it is driven by the types of qualifications held by those working in private nurseries, they are not generally equivalent to the qualifications of teachers in nursery classes in schools.”
He added: “Some nurseries are helping children to do better than others, but this is not related to staff qualifications or Ofsted ratings.
“It is extremely important to discover the factors that lead to a high quality nursery experience so we can maximise children’s chances to benefit developmentally from attending nursery, particularly as the government extends the entitlement from 15 to 30 hours.”
The teams compared data on children’s outcomes at the end of reception with information on the nurseries they attended before starting school for 1.6 million youngsters born between 2003 and 2006.
The research found that commonly used measures of pre-school quality in England were not able to explain much of the variation in children’s outcomes at school.
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…
Social media is being used as the primary way to promote a weekend of debate around Ofsted’s change of stance regarding the Early Years Sector. Anyone involved in childcare is being urged to get involved during the weekend of the 13th and 14th of September, which has been designated the#OfstedBigConversation weekend.
Meetings will be hosted across England. Some will cater for larger groups and some may be three people sharing a pot of tea in their kitchen. The plan is to get everyone thinking, conversing and considering the key issues, with a view to producing an Early Years proposal for Ofsted.
This will identify the key issues and barriers to progress, what would help and how we can build an exemplary regulatory system together which is mutually respected and highly effective.
June O’Sullivan, (CEO of LEYF) has published a blog, detailing her 10 key issues, and is closely involved in forming the agenda with the others mentioned on the map below. You can read the blog here, or follow them on Twitter for the latest updates. (you’ll find them all followed by @TheParentaGroup)
Map showing the larger #ofstedbigconversation meetings
If you are a fan of Twitter, #EYTalking will be featuring Ofsted as the main agenda item on Tuesday 3rd September at 8pm. Simply search for #EYTalking to get involved.
In order to make this a success, it is crucial to engage as many industry voices as possible. The best way is to get online, tweet, post and blog about your Ofsted issues, or share them below and we will promote them for you. Don’t forget to tag everything with #OfstedBigConversation
Ofsted inspections are often the most stressful part of a nursery manager’s job. Your Ofsted rating can influence the reputation and performance of your setting, therefore making it imperative that you receive a rating that best reflects your service.
Although there is a code of conduct that inspectors must follow, the experience from Ofsted inspections can differ due to various factors. All inspections should be equally treated, but have you ever felt that you were unfairly graded for an Ofsted inspection? If so what for? And is there a positive approach you have tried to successfully appeal and get your results changed?
National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) today responded to the Education Committee’s report ‘The Role and Performance of Ofsted.’
NDNA said that whilst a number of the recommendations were welcome, nurseries would be keen to ensure that any changes ensured an improved inspection system that parents fully understand, with inspectors having the right skills and knowledge to support continuous improvement.
Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) comments: “The proposal to split Ofsted into two parts is an interesting one, but NDNA believes that more detailed discussions would be required and careful consideration of the impact and benefits of such a move thoroughly considered. (more…)
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