Alliance responds to Ofsted's launch of consultation on new inspection framework

Michael Freeston, the Pre-school Learning Alliance's director of quality improvement, said:

"We welcome the proposed early years inspection framework, which is a real positive step in the right direction. While the current Common Inspection Framework has plenty of value in it, it relies on some concepts and terms from school provision that never made sense in an early years setting. This new framework not only rectifies that, but also shifts the focus on to the overall importance of the child’s educational experience in the provision, while emphasising practitioners’ ability to demonstrate this to the inspector over to the production of records and data.

“We also welcome the stronger reference to the Characteristics of Effective Learning as something inspectors should consider when they look at children’s attitudes and behaviours, as this demonstrates Ofsted’s recognition that ‘how’ children learn is as important as ‘what’ they learn. 

“However, it’s important to remember the context in which this propose framework sits. In proposing these changes, Ofsted’s stance appears to be aligning with the views of many academics, parents and practitioners that the early years should provide a broad education that prepares children for a life-long love of learning, rather than a narrow focus on numeracy and literacy. Unfortunately, the review of the Early Learning Goals and the proposed re-introduction the baseline assessment, it’s clear current government policy is at odds with this position. Our concern is that, until those differences are reconciled, there’s a real danger that providers will be caught between being inspected on how their children learn and delivering against an increasingly narrow understanding what should be taught.”



  • The Pre-school Learning 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 member settings 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.
  • The Alliance’s Fair Future Funding campaign currently has over 7,000 practitioner and parent supporters.
  • On 18 February 2019, the Pre-school Learning Alliance will be rebranding to the Early Years Alliance.

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