From September 2012, Ofsted inspection of early years providers will be more focused on children’s education and their personal and emotional development. Inspectors will give greater attention to the progress children make in their learning.

Ofsted believes these changes will give providers more freedom in managing their own service, while continuing to keep children safe by strengthening registration and maintaining rigorous enforcement for those who are not complying with requirements.

The increased emphasis on children's personal and emotional development is great for childminders in particular, whose work with small groups of children offers them close one to one care and support. Partnership working with parents also helps childminders get to know the specific needs of the children they care for.

Early years providers will be given a judgement on their overall effectiveness that will take into account:

  • how well their provision meets the needs of the range of children who attend
  • how well they identify any particular needs children may have and arrange appropriate help
  • the contribution practitioners make to the well-being of children and the effectiveness of leadership and management.

In particular, inspection will consider the extent to which all children are supported to acquire the skills and capacity to develop and learn effectively and be ready for the next stages in their learning, especially school.

Support from NCMA

NCMA has developed three webinar training courses, each covering one of the key judgements, above. The webinars will include information from the revised EYFS and support you to feel prepared for your next inspection under the revised framework.

Available this Autumn. To register your interest, visit or call 0845 880 0044.

Improvements for parents

In order to improve the information provided to parents, Ofsted will be making inspection reports more user-friendly. The new reports will include a front page summary, recommendations for good practice and any actions the provider is required to take.

Ofsted is also changing the way it investigates concerns.

Flexibility in ratios

To allow providers more flexibility in managing their own service, Ofsted will no longer routinely issue restrictions or conditions on registrations, such as the number of children childminders may care for.

Instead Ofsted will draw parents’ and providers’ attention to the relevant legal requirements set out in the EYFS. This means that when providers want to do something such as change the number of children they can look after, they simply need to check if the EYFS framework allows them to do this.

Registering as a childminder

Ofsted has also introduced changes to the way it registers people wishing to provide childcare. Childminder applicants should apply for registration only when they are confident that they know and understand everything they need to do to meet requirements. This includes completing all of their training before registration.

You can find out more about pre-registration childminder training and the courses and support NCMA offers in our Training section.


Page last updated: 3/6/2013