Nurseries which fail to stretch toddlers intellectually will be given two years to improve or face closure as part of a crackdown on mediocre childcare, Ofsted has announced. This is from the Telegraph…
The watchdog was forced to toughen up its plans to improve standards after pressure from parents who said that proposals announced earlier this year did not go far enough.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector, announced an overhaul of inspection rules for nurseries and preschool centres in April, complaining that almost 250,000 children are “languishing” in nurseries which are failing to prepare them properly for school.
He said that from November the “satisfactory” inspection grade would be changed to “requires improvement” and that those given this ranking will face a fresh inspection within two years to assess progress.
Those which fail to improve within four years overall would be downgraded to “inadequate” meaning that they would risk eventually having their registration cancelled.
But following a consultation with parents, Ofsted announced that it was halving the length of time nurseries would be given to improve.
They will now have a fresh inspection within 12 months and must have improved enough to be classed as “good” or “outstanding” within two years or be downgraded and face possible closure.
Sir Michael said: “Pre-schools and nurseries need to give children a solid foundation.
“Two years is a long time in a child’s life and it’s long enough for a setting to improve.
“I agree with the parents who told us in our consultation that four years is too long to wait for a nursery to reach the good standard that every child deserves.”
In order to be classed as “good” nurseries and preschool centres must demonstrate that they “foster curiosity and independence” among young children.
Those currently ranked as “satisfactory” are safe and meet basic standards they miss opportunities to help preschool children “reach their potential”, a spokeswoman explained.
Sir Michael said: “Early years provision is only as good as the quality of interaction between adults and children.
“The best providers understand the importance of teaching children through their play while also giving them structures and routines which bring order and security into their lives.
“It is vital that very young children make good progress so that they succeed in later years. I am clear that we ignore early education and care at our peril.”
But nursery operators warned that pressure on inspectors to downgrade providers could backfire with many preferring simply to close down rather than face ever tighter regulation.
You can read Ofsted’s own release on this here: Ofsted calls for swift improvement in pre-schools and nurseries
Are Ofsted correct to respond to parental concerns and toughen up the requirements for nurseries ‘requiring improvement’ to reach the required standards? Or are the new requirements unrealistic and too harsh on nursery operators? Please share your thoughts in the comments or on twitter…