Quality Counts

<1. Background>     <2. Aims of Quality Counts>    <3. Why do settings undertake "Quality Counts"?>

<4. What is involved>       <5. The 16 areas of quality>

1. Background

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 statements in the portfolio match what is really happening.

We were the first nursery group in the whole of the Midlands to gain the award. In January 2002 Baroness Ashton presented us with the award.

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2. Aims of Quality Counts

To promote quality daycare and education for all children.

To develop, encourage and maintain high standards in care and education for the benefit of children, their family units and their local communities.

To develop and provide support services to organisations delivering education and care.

To celebrate good practice and inform parental choice

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3. Why do settings undertake "Quality Counts"?

It demonstrates a commitment to quality and a pride in the service provided.

It encourages continual review of good practice.

Builds the staff team developing a people focused approach.

It is a nationally recognised scheme.

It identifies to parents that the care and education offered is of a very high standard.

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4. What is involved?

A setting first requests the "Quality Counts" pack and pays the fee. 

The first stage is to review how the setting currently meets the very stringent standards with over 230 specific criteria. A portfolio is produced containing evidence of how the setting meets the criteria. 

Where current practice does not meet the required criteria then the setting not only needs to revise its policies and/or procedures but actually ensure that staff follow them every day. Evidence of the new practice is gathered and added to the portfolio. The portfolio is then sent off to an independent assessor. 

An independent assessor visits the setting and inspects actual practice and compares it with what was included within the portfolio. The inspections are very rigorous and thorough. Should the setting be judged to meet all 230 criteria then the Quality Counts award is made to the setting. 

Where a group of nurseries is involved, each setting within the group is assessed separately with separate portfolios being produced. This recognises that even nursery groups have differences in local settings.

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5. The 16 Areas of Quality

1   Management and Staff

2   Staff Recruitment & Selection

3   Staff Portfolios

4   Student Portfolios

5   Administration Records

6   Partnership with Parents

7   Environment

8   Health & Safety

9   Nutrition & Serving of Food

10  Meeting of the Developmental Needs of Children

11  Provision of Integration of Children with Additional Needs

12  Child Protection

13  Trips and Outings

14  School Escort Service (O)

15  Community

16  Out of School Care (O)

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