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Children: Day Care

Volume 473: debated on Wednesday 12 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the quality of childcare and early years education in (a) deprived areas and (b) affluent areas; and if he will make a statement. (187146)

The 2006-07 Ofsted Schools Inspection1 Annual Report presents information on the quality of childcare and nursery education settings. Of the 27,236 settings inspected, overall childcare quality was outstanding in 3 per cent. of settings, good in 54 per cent., satisfactory in 39 per cent. and inadequate in 4 per cent. The standard of early education in 6,343 settings was rated as outstanding (5 per cent.), good (55 per cent.), satisfactory (37 per cent.) and inadequate (2 per cent.). The report also found that of 16,512 childminders overall childcare quality was of an outstanding quality for 3 per cent. of providers, 54 per cent. were of good quality, 39 per cent. were of satisfactory quality and 3 per cent. were of inadequate quality.

These findings are supported by this Department’s evaluation of the Neighbourhood Nurseries Initiative (NNI), published in March 2007, which provides information on the quality of childcare and early years education in disadvantaged areas. The study found that 93 per cent. of settings were rated as at least of adequate quality and 70 per cent. were providing provision quality that was of an adequate but just below a good standard of care, 23 per cent. were offering a good to excellent standard of provision. Settings were most successful at providing children with pleasant and appropriate staff-child interactions that were warm and respectful. Although there is no comparable data on settings in more affluent areas, the study found that families from very different backgrounds and with different needs were being offered comparable quality of provision. Nurseries providing for high proportions of disadvantaged families offered comparable quality services to settings serving less disadvantaged families.

1 For inspection purposes, provision quality in UK childcare and early years settings is explored through professional judgements captured through the recently developed Ofsted Inspection Framework. The framework is used to assess whether settings meet the minimum standards of providing quality provision. The framework measures quality based on the effective delivery of the Every Child Matters Outcomes, for children: being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving and making a positive contribution. Settings are rated on a four point grading scale, where 1 = outstanding, 2 = good, 3 = satisfactory, 4 = inadequate.