Alliance opposes ‘risky’ potential changes to early years inspections

Alliance opposes ‘risky’ potential changes to early years inspections

Leading early years organisation the Early Years Alliance has slammed a suggestion made by Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman that nurseries which form part of larger chains could be inspected collectively, rather than individually

Speaking today at the launch of Ofsted’s latest Annual Report, Ms Spielman said:

“… more and more nurseries are joining large national and international providers, but are inspected individually. These nurseries are more likely to be rated outstanding, which suggests that strong practice can be shared effectively across the whole nursery chain. There may be benefits from a different inspection model that would allow individual inspections of nurseries to be brought together and features across the whole chain to be analysed.”

Commenting, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said:

“Ofsted inspections play an absolutely vital role in ensuring the quality of care and education of all early years provision. As such, we are incredibly concerned by the suggestion that nurseries that form part of larger chains might no longer be inspected individually going forward. Such nurseries may well be more likely to be rated as ‘outstanding, but the fact is that a number of large chains  that operate ‘outstanding’ settings also run nurseries rated as ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ and in some cases, even ‘ inadequate’.

“Not only would such a move create an unfair, two-tier system where individual childcare providers and large chains are held to a different regulatory standards, but it also could allow a provider delivering substandard care to fly under the radar, which, in the worst circumstances, could pose a safeguarding risk. While this of course doesn’t apply the vast majority of early years providers, who deliver excellent care day-in, and day-in, in our view, any risk is too much.

“We know that individual inspections are expensive, but you cannot put a price on the safety and wellbeing of young children. As such, we would urge Ofsted to ensure that any proposed changes to the existing inspection model is driven by the desire to support good practice, and not a need to cut costs.”



About the Alliance

  • The Early Years Alliance is the largest and most representative early years membership organisation in England. A registered educational charity, it also provides high-quality affordable childcare and education to support children and families in areas of deprivation throughout the country.
  • The Alliance represents 14,000 members and supports them to deliver care and learning to more than 800,000 families every year. We deliver family learning projects, offer information and advice, produce specialist publications, run acclaimed training programmes and campaign to influence early years policy and practice.