Nurseries caught coasting face closure as Ofsted forced to toughen up inspection rules

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.

More at:  Nurseries caught coasting face closure as Ofsted forced to toughen up inspection rules

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… 

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Categories: Pre-school.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove More (un)supportive noises coming from Ofsted and in particular, Wilshaw. And he wonders why people don’t like him

  2. cia262

    SchoolsImprove As a parent, I paid for a private nursery to get away from the state. Do not want OfSTED imposing state theories.

  3. ETusty

    All very well, but what about working parents who are happy with their nurseries, and require full day childcare.  I want childcare rather than having my son leave being able to count to 100 and knowing phonics.  That’s what school should be teaching.  Nursery should be for play, exploration and learning from other things.
    And what about children who don’t go to nurseries at all?  
    Some nurseries provide totally different benefits from hard core schooling which is a good caring environment, where children can learn from others, learn to play and socialise with peers.
    Our nursery is fabulous- great facilities, tonnes of outdoor play through having a forest school, caring staff who’ve picked up my son’s tongue tie where HV and midwives didn’t, and a possible intolerance where I wouldn’t have twigged.  It still got downgraded last time because it wasn’t pushing weekly planning (surely it’s meant to be child led?).  They’ve lost 90% of interest/bookings compared with normal due to that.  Despite parent testimonials and people sending their kids there for other reasons than to drill them full of schooling at an early age.

    In our area there’s only 4 which cater the hours I need, 1 which is a nightmare to get into, 2 which I didn’t feel were right when I looked round (neither with green outdoor space), so I’d be stuck as a working parent without any other options.

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