Ofsted’s Action Takes 10,000 Children Out Of Inadequate Care

Ten thousand previously inadequate childcare places for children are now satisfactory or better as a result of Ofsted inspection and intervention, according to a new report published by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted). Making a difference: how Ofsted inspections improved inadequate care for children, reveals that the large majority of providers judged to be inadequate between April 2005 and June 2006 had improved by the time of their reinspections. Over those 15 months, 1,100 of the 32,000 providers inspected by Ofsted were judged to be inadequate (3%).

This judgement means that they are scheduled for reinspection within a year, or more promptly depending on the seriousness of the shortcomings. By the end of June 2006, we had reinspected 490 previously inadequate providers.

The large majority (87%) had successfully carried out the actions set by Ofsted and this time were judged to be satisfactory or better. Ofsted’s intervention means that an estimated 10,000 children in these previously inadequate settings now get at least satisfactory care.

The remaining 13% (61) of providers reinspected by June 2006 remained inadequate and Ofsted took immediate action to secure improvement. We issued compliance notices to 17 providers and in addition set actions for improvement for all the remaining ones. Of those issued with compliance notices, 16 now comply with the standards and one has resigned.

One hundred and eighty inadequate providers resigned their registration ahead of reinspection. Ofsted also cancelled the registration of 11 inadequate providers. Although this resulted in a loss of childcare places, these places were poor quality ones. Ofsted’s actions ensured that children in these settings were removed from the risk of harm. The remaining providers judged to be inadequate will be re-inspected – on schedule – by the end of June 2007.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, Maurice Smith, said: “Ofsted’s vigilance has ‘Made A Difference’ for 10,000 children. They now have a better quality of care because we picked up on providers’ evident weaknesses and insisted that improvements were made quickly. Today’s report proves the value of inspection in improving the quality of childcare in England.”

When Ofsted identifies childcare as inadequate, we set actions, monitor to ensure the outcomes are achieved within a set timetable, and where necessary take further steps to ensure improvement. Local authorities are told when care is judged to be inadequate so that they can provide training programmes and individual support for the providers.

For the minority of childcare judged to be so poor that a child is at risk, or where the provider is unwilling or unable to change, our inspections led some of these inadequate providers to resign. On the rare occasions where it is necessary, Ofsted will take more serious action such as cancelling a provider’s registration.

We report today that the level of improved childcare following re-inspection between April 2005 and June 2006 was higher among childminders (91%) than day-care providers (85%). But our quest for high standards doesn’t stop there. Ofsted continues to set recommendations for the childcare providers who are now satisfactory or good as we believe there is always room for improvement.

The report features examples of inadequate care relating to the four Every Child Matters outcomes that early years providers are judged against: being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving and making a positive contribution. It provides examples of actions set by inspectors and describes the results achieved by the time the setting was reinspected.

Maurice Smith added: “The vast majority of childcarers offer a satisfactory or better standard of care but Ofsted will always take robust action against the small proportion of childcarers who provide inadequate care for children”.