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Ofsted reports increase in ‘Outstanding’ EY providers

In its quarterly early years statistics, Ofsted has reported an increase in the number of early years providers rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’; an all-time high for the sector.
An Ofsted spokesperson said that 86% of providers now sit in these brackets, and the the country is experiencing a long-term rise in quality.
“It matters because there is overwhelming evidence that high quality early education makes a big difference in preparing young children, particularly those from poorer families, for their first day at primary school,” the spokesperson said.
“Our new way of inspecting early years settings is now fully embedded. Teaching is now particularly important and early feedback has been positive. Our consultation events have indicated that most providers have taken the changes in their stride and are not finding the increased emphasis on certain aspects difficult.”
However, the Ofsted release Childcare providers and inspections as at 31 March 2016 also notes a continuing decline in the number of childminders in the sector. According to the statistics, the number of childminders has dropped by approximately 23,000 since August 2012.
Neil Leitch, chief executive at the Alliance, said that while he welcomes news that there are more high-quality settings in place, he is concerned that the childminder numbers are declining at such a sustained rate.
“The government has made it clear that it expects childminders to provide the solution to the problem of limited nursery and pre-school capacity when the 30-hours free entitlement offer rolls out next year – but when the number of childminder places has dropped by nearly 23,000 in less than four years, we simply cannot see how this is possible,” Neil said.
“The DfE has rightly identified childminders as a vital source of flexible early years provision, and yet has done little to tackle this continuing trend. It’s clear that childminder agencies are not the answer – with only eight registered, and none inspected, since they were introduced in 2014 – and yet the department continues to focus its efforts on this failed policy.”