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Ofsted calls for "stronger oversight" of early years chains

By Rachel Lawlerchildren playing Ofsted inspections multiple providers early years

Ofsted has called for "stronger oversight" of early years multiple providers in a new research report

The report argues that "current legislation does not reflect the level of influence that early years multiple providers[...] can have on individual nurseries".

Influence of groups
Currently, Ofsted can only inspect individual nurseries and pre-schools but this latest report calls for greater oversight of their work due to the influence multiple providers have on their settings.

Ofsted has also published a report on inspections of social care groups which own more than one children's home.

Stronger oversight needed
Yvette Stanley, national director for regulation and social care at Ofsted, commented: “Stronger oversight of large providers is vital if we are to make sure children are getting the best deal. Current legislation is outdated and doesn’t reflect the early years and social care sectors as they operate today. The upcoming review into children’s social care could be a real opportunity to reform this legislation.

“Our research shows that these large providers have a significant impact on their individual nurseries and children’s homes, and ultimately the education and care that children receive. As Ofsted can only inspect individual settings, we are missing an important part of the picture.”

Joined up oversight
The medium term, Ofsted has said it will ensure that it has "consistent and joined up" oversight of multiple providers, across inspections and regions. This includes taking steps such as improved engagement with multiple providers, bringing together intelliegence across all regions and working with inspectors to consider the influence of multiple providers on individual settings.

In the longer term, Ofsted says it will "continue to have disucssions with government" about whether multiple providers should be inspected directly.

Find out more
Read the report in full