Exclusive: Ofsted chided for poor child-care judgements
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Thursday 08 August 2013
Education standards watchdog Ofsted is failing to deliver accurate judgements on the standards of care delivered by nurseries and childminders, says a report to be published later today.
Research by the Institute for Public Policy Research think-tank concludes it is weak - particularly in its judgements on settings for younger aged children.
“It is clear that in the past Ofsted has not consistently reflected which settings are best for children's development, says the report.
The report found that centres graded as ”outstanding“ by Ofsted often received the lowest scores on scales used by teachers and care staff to check on the development of children and toddlers.
It warns that the shortcomings in the inspection regime are likely to be exacerbated if a proposal to cut local authority inspections and their duty to provide training for staff is given the go ahead.
”The first few years of a child's life are hugely important,“ said Imogen Parker, IPPR's researcher. ”By the age of three, a child from a professional family background can have double the vocabulary size that a child from the lowest socio-economic family background.
“There is no statistical relationship between Ofsted grades and quality of care infants and toddlers are receiving.”
The report raises the point that - if Ofsted gives a setting an outstanding classification - there is then no need or pressure on it to improve its performance. If its children have low scores for their development and readiness for school - this may not be tackled.
“Ofsted is not always the best judge of early years quality, particularly for the youngest children, and functions primarily as an inspector rather than a supporter of improvement,” the report adds.
It recommends ensuring better training for Ofsted inspectors in how to tackle early years settings - and ensure they understand the different types of settings in which children can be placed.
In addition, the report recommends the Government should strengthen its commitment to paternal leave - offering fathers a fully paid for “daddy month” - rather than insisting that, if they take a month's paternity leave, it comes off the mother's entitlement to maternity leave.
A spokesman for Ofsted said: “We have only just had sight of IPPR's report so it is difficult to comment on its findings. It is also hard to understand how they can provide an informed report without talking to us or observing an inspection.
”Our early years inspectors are fully trained experts and - whilst there is always room for improvement - we believe the public can have confidence in our inspection judgements.“
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Power of Nepal earthquake was equivalent to 20 huge atomic bombs
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windo...
£25 - 32,500K (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Produ...
£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning independent ...
£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...