Today Ofsted outlined a series of measures which will take effect next month, in conjunction with the new common inspection framework. The measures were set out in a letter sent to all registered early years providers in England from Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector.
From September 2015, Ofsted will provide half a day’s notice of their inspection to most early years providers on non-domestic premises. Settings that have been judged inadequate or those being inspected due to a concern will not receive notification of inspection. The arrangements for the inspection of childminders will not change.
As previously announced, school inspections will no longer be outsourced from 1 September 2015. In the letter, Sir Michael Wilshaw states that he "hope[s] to make a decision soon" about whether Ofsted will bring early years inspections in-house. PACEY has repeatedly called on Ofsted to bring all early years inspections in-house at the earliest opportunity.
In order to make Ofsted’s complaints mechanisms more transparent, each of Ofsted’s eight regions will have its own high-level scrutiny committee whose decisions are binding on Ofsted. The committees will be made up of Senior Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMIs) and sector leaders and membership details will be published shortly.
Ofsted will also be seeking to publicly identify ‘exceptional leaders’ who have ‘played a key role in turning around other institutions’. The criteria for early years will be discussed with the sector in due course.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, said: “We welcome the changes to the complaints process. Our recent sector-wide survey, ‘Building Blocks', showed that there is a low level of confidence with the complaints procedure, leading to many providers believing it pointless to complain. So we look forward to seeing whether this measure will improve the experience for practitioners. Our survey also showed that more than one in seven registered childcare providers believe their last inspection was inconsistent with that of other settings.
Given these ongoing concerns, and the fact that now school and FE inspections have been brought in-house, the need for Ofsted to do the same for the inspection of childcare settings is clear to PACEY. We urge Ofsted to restore confidence in the inspection process by bring early years inspection in-house as soon as possible.
We have been pleased to see the efforts of early years practitioners commended so highly in the recent Ofsted Early Years Report. We look forward to sharing our ideas with Ofsted for how early years practitioners can be recognised as 'exceptional leaders' as well as their peers working in other areas of education."