School-based nurseries to have separate Ofsted rating

By Laura McCardle

| 03 July 2014

School-based nurseries and reception classes will receive separate inspection ratings from September, the head of Ofsted has confirmed.

Ofsted will pass separate judgments on school-based early years provision from September. Image: Lucie Carlier

Sir Michael Wilshaw has written to teachers informing them of the decision and said the new ratings will influence their school’s overall judgment.

The changes, which will also see a separate judgment introduced for post-16 provision, have been introduced following a public consultation, during which Wilshaw said the plans received “strong support”.

Ofsted is yet to publish its response to the consultation, but when the plans were first announced in March, the inspectorate said it would develop separate inspection criteria for school-based early years provision.

The new criteria will measure pupils’ achievement, the quality of teaching, behaviour and safety, and leadership and management.

The aim of the move is to ensure inspectors place as much emphasis on early years provision as they do on education for five- to 16-year-olds.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, has welcomed the announcement, but has concerns about the proposed inspection criteria.

He said: “Early years care and education is pivotal to a child’s long-term learning and development, so it is important that the quality of nursery and reception provision is assessed in its own right.

“That said, we remain concerned about the proposal to base these inspection judgments on achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety, and leadership and management, rather than the existing criteria on which registered early years providers are currently judged.

“It is vital that all early years provision – regardless of where this provision is delivered – is assessed against the same criteria to ensure that the inspection process is fair and consistent.”

Similarly, Liz Bayram, chief executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, said Ofsted must ensure consistency across the sector.

She said: “We are interested in ensuring that the brief evaluation criteria proposed by Ofsted for the inspection of school-based early years settings is consistent and as robust as the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) inspection framework that all other registered childcare settings currently have to meet.

“It is important that EYFS-based evaluation criteria are used across all early years settings for a consistent approach to quality improvement, so all services support whole child development – physical, emotional and social as well as educational.”

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