From education to employment

New Inspection Report Praises “Good Work” Across Sector

Nurseries, childminders and other types of childcare across the country received a fillip with the fulsome praise of an Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) report.

The report, called Firm Foundations and designed to disseminate good practice throughout the sector, is based on the evidence gathered during inspections in the last two years. Almost half of the approximately 105,000 childcare providers had cause for great celebration, achieving the ultimate “good” grade in the inspection. One percent, however, were deemed to be “unsatisfactory” by the inspectors, with the remaining providers rated as “satisfactory”.

Report on the Report

Full and sessional daycare were found to offer the best provision for children. The inspectors also examined the performance of nursery education and childcare. They found that nursery education, provided in childcare settings like nurseries and children’s centres, was “good” overall or of “high quality” in around 92 percent of settings.

Promoting children’s behaviour and managing their behaviour have proven to be particular strengths, the report shows, with an impressive 68 percent gaining the coveted “good” grade in the inspection. In matters of healthy diet and exercise, more than half of the providers were rated as “good”; not a single provider inspected was awarded an “unsatisfactory” grade in this area.

David Bell on the Inspirational Work, and on the Road Ahead

The Chief Inspector of Schools, David Bell, was impressed by the quality that shone through. “There is some truly inspirational work going on in nurseries and the homes of childminders,” he said. “We have tried to capture a small picture of it in today’s report. Parents can be assured that the vast majority of childcare providers in this country are doing a good job in keeping children safe and preparing them for life at their “big school”.”

Mr. Bell recognizes the vital importance of training and advancement in this area, as he sees the first four or five years of a child’s life as “very important in preparing them for school, for work and for life.” He encourages better practice sharing to better inform each individual area of the best way in which to proceed. He insists that there is always more that can be done, finishing: “The standards achieved by those childcare providers highlighted in Firm Foundations should be the benchmark that all providers, with the support of their local authority, work towards.”

Jethro Marsh

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