Ofsted Insight - Nurseries vs Children's Centers


The 2 pictures above show the latest 100 Ofsted results for Childcare services (left) and Nurseries (right). As you can see the childcare services have got a lot more lower rated sites, but why is this?


The large majority of these childcare services offer support services to families with children under 5 with in the local community, and these are the services whose Ofsted rating has been in the decline since 2010. In 2010 the government funding for this provision was pooled with other early intervention funding streams. The result, Early Intervention Grant was worth about £3bn in 2010, according to the Children's Society. In 2015, the value of the grant shared between local authorities will have been halved to about £1.5bn. With this reduction in available money to childcare services it has been harder to meet Ofsteds outstanding guidelines.

Ofsted results from November 2013 to March 2014, from 190 centres, showed that only 3% were outstanding and 46% rated good. Compare this to 2010s results where they inspected 164 sites, and found 12 per cent to be outstanding and 63 per cent good with just 1%being inadequate.

Linda Uren, director of children's services at Gloucestershire County Council, said,

"This isn't a criticism of Ofsted, but the framework has a number of criteria in it that are very tough for children's centres to achieve, especially when you have declining budgets. There's an expectation children's centres will reach high numbers of families in the local area. Judgements are also made, for example, on the percentage of women who are breastfeeding."

"All those things are attributed to the children's centre, and the problem is, as budgets get tighter and lots of local authorities ask children's centres to focus on vulnerable families, they are going to find achieving some of those benchmarks tough."

This problem was apparent recently in South Somerset, where a new group of five children's centres was graded inadequate by Ofsted in October 2014. The report highlighted that 'not enough families attend centres in the group' and 'only a minority of some priority groups use its services'.

Pictures are from watchsted.com - have a look at the numbers yourself!

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