Ensuring Standards

 <1. Our Quality>     <2. But what is quality>    <3. Ofsted's role in ensuring quality>   <4. Aims of Registration>

<5. The National Standards>     <6. The 14 National Standards>    <7. Links to Standards Documents>

<8. Inspections - pre Sept 2001>     <9. Ofsted Transitional Inspections>    <10. Ofsted Educational Inspections>

<11. Links to the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage (ELG's)>

<12. Ofsted Combined Inspections>  <13. The Stepping Stones>  <14. The Foundation Stage Profile>

<15. Subjects providers hope you won't ask about>

<16. Quality Counts>              <17. Final Thoughts on Quality>

1. Our Quality

We believe that we offer the very best and highest quality of childcare and education.

We have always gained excellent reports from Ofsted (social services before them).

The parents of the children attending the nursery are all very complimentary of the what we offer.

The children show their enjoyment of being with us with their laughter.

Parents comment how well their children have developed, perhaps more than they expected.

We are the first nursery group in the whole of the Midlands to gain the prestigious quality accreditation award - Quality Counts - from the National Day Nurseries Association (a registered children's charity).


2. But what is quality?

Ok, I'm sure if you ring a few nurseries they will all say something similar to the above  (with the exception of the Quality Counts award of course). So what is quality? Well, every one gives different answers to this and we're not going to try and give a one line answer to this here. However ...


3. Ofsted's Role in Ensuring Quality

Ofsted (Office for Standard in Education) took over the role of ensuring the Quality of Childcare and Education in non maintained settings from Social Services in September 2001. (See document link below)
ofsted regulation of care stds.pdf (96k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

Ofsted is responsible for Registration, Inspection, Investigation and Enforcement of National Standards within all Non Maintained settings. Ofsted is also responsible for ensuring the standard of education provided, but only to those children who are being funded by the Government (Education Grant).


4. Aims of Registration

Protect children;
Ensure that day care providers meet the National Standards;
Ensure that children are safe, well cared for and take part in activities that contribute to their development and learning;
Promote high quality in the provision of care and learning; and
Provide reassurance for parents.

ofsteddaycareregistrationprocess.pdf (83k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)


5. The National Standards

The National Standards came into force in September 2001. There were standards before this date but they were set by each local council. However, the National Standards were based on an amalgamation of the previous local standards.

It must be noted that these standards are basic and minimum standards. They do no represent a definition of high quality.

There are different National Standards for the type of provision, these are: Full day care, Sessional day care, Crèches, Out of school care and Child minders. There are also statements included within them concerning: overnight care and facilities caring for babies.

There are also "Guidance Booklets" published by the Government in order to help Providers understand how to meet the Standards.


6. The 14 Minimum National Standards

1    Suitable Person

2    Organisation

3    Care, learning and play

4    Physical Environment

5    Equipment

6    Safety

7    Health

8    Food and Drink

 9   Equal Opportunities

10  Special needs (including special educational needs and disabilities):

11  Behaviour

12  Working in partnership with parents and carers

13  Child Protection

14  Documentation


7. Links to Standards Documents

natstds daycare.pdf (987k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

guidancetofulldaycarestds.pdf (393k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

natstds outofschool.pdf (841k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

guidancetooutofschoolstds.pdf (368k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)


8. Inspections - pre Sept 2001

Prior to September 2001 local social service units were responsible for ensuring the minimum standards of registered providers. The inspection was announced (i.e. Providers knew which day the inspector would come to inspect) and the inspector spent a whole day with the setting. They were only allowed to comment on what they saw on that day. Ofsted were carrying out "Education Inspections" of the settings but this was only for 3 and 4 year olds receiving nursery education grant and did not comment upon the other ages or 3 and 4 year olds when not receiving the nursery grant.

In September 2001 Ofsted took over the responsibility for inspecting for care standards. At the time providers were told that the inspection would be against the national standards documents. The precise day of the inspection would not be announced, but the month within which the inspector would call would be known. Some providers did not (still do not) like the idea of not knowing when the inspector would call.


9. Ofsted transitional Inspections

However, what actually occurred was that Ofsted announced that settings would have a "transitional" inspection. The rigorousness of transitional inspections has been reported to be very varied. In most cases they seem to have been reported as extremely "light touch" and would probably only result in really poor settings being de-registered.

As of December 2002 it has been reported that a significant number of settings have still not received a "transitional" inspection from Ofsted. This means it is possible that a setting may not have been inspected for well over a year. Under Social Services, settings received an inspection yearly without fail.


10. Ofsted Educational Inspections

For a provider to be eligible to receive the Government Nursery Education Grant, they have to agree to the inspection, by Ofsted, of the provision they provide. As at December 2002 the funding only covers 3&4 year olds for 3 terms of 11 weeks and 2.5 hours per session. The Education Inspection does not cover anything else.

The education inspections are extremely rigorous. Evidence has to be provided for everything. All elements of the educational curriculum, planning and practice are scrutinised in detail. The sessions are observed extremely closely. Any issues are identified and the setting is required to produce an action plan and resolve them. Settings are placed on a 1-2 or 2-4 year re-inspection cycle. The better provision will be re-inspected after 2-4 years.

The inspections are to determine how likely it is that children attending will achieve the Early Learning Goals (ELG's) stated in the "Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage" document published by the QCA and DFee. The ELG's are the successor of the DLO's (Desirable Learning Outcomes).


11. Links to the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage (ELG's)

Foundation elgs 00 wholedoc.pdf    (974k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

Foundation elgs 01 intro.pdf    (92k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

Foundation elgs 02 principles.pdf    (280k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

Foundation elgs 03 pse.pdf    (137k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

Foundation elgs 04 cll.pdf    (233k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above) 

Foundation elgs 05 maths.pdf    (139k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

Foundation elgs 06 physical.pdf    (217k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

Foundation elgs 07 creative.pdf    (244k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

Foundation elgs 08 kuw.pdf    (209k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above) 


12. Ofsted Combined Inspections

As of December 2002, these are new. A draft sample document which was produced for consultation can be seen following the link below. The basic idea is to combine the Education and Basic Care Standards Inspections into one. We are not clear whether this will completely replace the other 2 types of inspection or whether the combined inspection will only be used when an Education Inspection would have fallen due. As of December 2002, different settings are reporting having been inspected in different ways. Inspections of all three types seem to be currently carried out. Some settings have even been reported to have been told what day the inspector will call.

Ofsted combined inspection notebook 01.pdf (633k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)


13. The Stepping Stones

The stepping stones are covered within the QCA publication - Curriculum guidance for the foundation stage. It was first issued in May 2000. The stepping stones do not supercede or make redundant the ELG's (Early Learning Goals), rather they work together to form a framework of learning for children 3 to 5 years old.

The document sets out what might reasonably be expected for a child to achieve at different stages. It gives a more detailed guidance to practitioners helping children work towards the Early Learning Goals.

Full Document

QCA_foundation_Stage_Guidance (FSG)_00_Full_Doc.pdf (974k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

Individual Sections Of the Document

QCA FSG_01_intro_acknowledgements.pdf (92k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

QCA_FSG_02_principles.pdf (280k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

QCA_FSG_03_pse.pdf (137k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

QCA_FSG_04_cll.pdf (233k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

QCA_FSG_05_maths.pdf (139k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

QCA_FSG_06_physical.pdf (217k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

QCA_FSG_07_creative.pdf (244k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

QCA_FSG_08_kuw.pdf (209k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)


14. The Foundation Stage Profile

The Foundation Stage applies to all types of settings offering Education for 3 to 5 year olds. This includes schools, nursery schools, playgroups etc. The Foundation Stage ends when children leave the reception class at primary/infant school.

The Government have identified that a standard method of recording children's progress should be introduced. This is the Foundation Stage Profile. As of December 2002 it is being trialled in schools and is only intended for implementation at the end of the Foundation Stage - namely in the reception class. It is included here as the government may try to implement this across the whole of the Foundation Stage. It also gives parents an indication of what is being done within the Reception Classes at this time.

The actual Foundation Stage Profile Record Booklet

QCA_Foundation_stage_profiles.pdf (102k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)

The Guidance to teachers completing the Record Booklet

QCA_foundation_stage_handbook.pdf (667k - Adobe Acrobat V4 or above)


15. Subjects Providers Hope You Won't Ask About

As a provider of childcare and education one hears things from various sources which as a quality provider one really worries about. Some things are more worrying than others, but the most worrying thing is that parents aren't aware of the issues so that they can check on them.

Click on the link below to see the subjects that providers hope you won't ask about. We hope you will find them useful.


The above should not be taken to be statements made about any particular setting and it must not be assumed that the statements refer to any setting within the same locality as our nursery. Any similarity to any person, setting or place is purely coincidental.


16. Quality Counts

In 2001 the Government set a national target that 40% of all providers would have gained a recognised National Quality Accreditation award. The purpose of such awards is to provide parents with a means of identifying providers of high quality childcare and education. The National Day Nurseries Association (a registered charity) introduced the "Quality Counts" national quality accreditation award. All Quality Accreditation Schemes involve producing a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate adherence to a set of criteria. The Quality Counts scheme also involves an independent inspection of actual practice and discussions with staff to ensure that portfolio statements match with what is really happening.

More details of the scheme are provided on the "Quality Counts" page. However, we were the first nursery group in the whole of the Midlands to gain the award.


17. Final Thoughts on Quality

 Ofsted Inspections only ensure that on the day of inspection that the setting meets the national minimum standards. Settings which have gained a national quality assurance accreditation have voluntarily gone the extra mile and demonstrated their commitment to quality.

We have gone one step further and follow an international concept:

Total Quality Management


By following the TQM approach we are constantly reviewing what we do, looking for even the smallest of ways in which we can improve. This is not just within one aspect of the nursery, but throughout - from how children are encouraged to be creative, through to the level of service we offer parents to the support given to our staff. When it all comes together we approach total quality.

What drives us?

"Striving for excellence in childcare and education."