Ofsted to bring childcare inspections back in-house

By Laura McCardle

| 28 May 2014

Ofsted is set to announce plans to bring the inspection of early years settings back in-house, CYP Now can exclusively reveal.

Contracts between Ofsted and its inspection service providers are due to expire in September 2015.

The announcement, scheduled for Thursday, will confirm that Ofsted will take over the inspection of private nurseries, childminders and school-based nurseries from commercial providers, CYP Now understands.

The move follows recent concerns raised by childcare practitioners about the quality of inspection staff and the training of them provided by Tribal Group, which handles inspections for the south of England. At a meeting last month practitioners said inspectors didn't have good enough knowledge of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Nick Hudson, Ofsted director of early years, told CYP Now that the inspectorate would make an announcement about the future contracts of all of its inspection services, including schools, further education and initial teacher education, this week.

He said the inspectorate's contracts with the four inspection providers – CfBT Education Trust, Serco Education and Children’s Services, Tribal Group and Prospects Services – are due to expire in September 2015.

An Ofsted spokesperson declined to confirm the move, saying it would make an announcement shortly.

However, June O’Sullivan, chief executive of the London Early Years Foundation, and a spokesman for the Pre-school Learning Alliance told CYP Now that their understanding is that Ofsted will bring the management of the service back in-house.

Childminding expert Penny Webb also believes this to be the case. She added: "We know that they [Ofsted] are taking the current training [of inspectors] back in-house also."

In April, practitioners raised concerns about the quality of staff employed by Tribal Group to deliver inspection services on the inspectorates’s behalf during an Ofsted Big Conversation event and asked a panel of Ofsted representatives whether the service would be brought back in-house.

The panel declined to answer the question, but said that there were “a number of discussions ongoing”.


* Ofsted has since announced that existing contractual arrangements for early years inspection services, which are due to expire in September 2015, will continue.

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