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NEWS: Ofsted launches Annual Report 2021/22

Today (13 December 2022) HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman has presented Ofsted’s Annual Report 2021/2022, setting out the ‘state of the nation’ view of education and social care in England, including early years and childcare.

While the main focus of media coverage is around the delays to children with SEND being given an EHC plan and the support they need, the report also outlines:

  • The impacts of the pandemic continue to affect young children, particularly with speech and language delay as well as personal, social and emotional development (as evidenced in Ofsted’s own research in education recovery)
  • Ofsted is concerned by the decline in the number of registered providers – driven mainly by a drop in childminders but a growing number of other types of settings closing too.
  • Staff recruitment challenges are having an impact on providers’ ability to deliver services as practitioners seek higher paid and more flexible work elsewhere, in some cases resulting in provider closures
  • The proportion of Ofsted-registered early years providers judged ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ has reduced from 89% in 2019 to 83% in 2022 (possibly due to a prioritisation of the re-inspection of ‘requires improvement’ providers and revisiting of long-judged ‘outstanding’ settings)
  • Ofsted remains keen to ensure providers focus on the curriculum and are clear when they plan activities that they know how these activities will support children’s learning

Read the report in full 

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:

“We are a year into Ofsted’s latest strategy and its dedicated focus on early years and a “best start for life” is never more needed. Quality early education and care is dependent on the workforce and as today’s Annual Report highlights, practitioners go above and beyond in supporting children whose learning and development is affected by the lasting impact of COVID-19. That said, the report also adds the growing mountain of evidence of the tremendous strain that early years and childcare providers continue to face. They continue to battle with chronic underfunding, soaring costs and record inflation alongside ever-growing recruitment and retention issues with many practitioners leaving the profession for higher paid, more flexible jobs in retail and other sectors.

"We must see the Government take action now to stop the flood of people leaving the sector, taking their knowledge and experience with them. Government must urgently improve funding levels for entitlements and set a long-term strategy for the early years workforce; one that reflects the value everyone  working in the sector brings and embraces them as a key part of the wider education sector. PACEY will continue to work with Ofsted, the Department for Education, local authorities and others until this is achieved.”