Deprived areas have worst childcare, says Ofsted

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The gap in quality of early years and childcare provision in deprived areas has worsened over the past year, according to Ofsted's annual report.

Ofsted said that the childcare in nurseries and pre-schools was slightly better on average than provision by childminders, but that in deprived areas the difference was more marked.

Just 52 per cent of childminders in the most deprived areas were rated good or outstanding, compared with 71 per cent of those working in the least deprived areas.

The report said, 'The crucial importance of early development in a child's chances of later success is now well understood. The comparative weakness of childminders and childcare settings in the most deprived areas regarding building children's skills for the future is therefore a concern.'

However, the report said many providers, including childminders, did provide good or outstanding childcare in very deprived areas. This provision was characterised by providers putting children and their families first, showing a deep understanding of the needs of the communities they are in and an excellent understanding of the EYFS and child development.

'These features are very important no matter where the provision is, but in areas with high levels of deprivation they take on even greater significance,' the report said.

The proportion of providers judged good or outstanding overall has risen slightly, from 65 per cent in 2009 to 68 per cent in 2010.

Overall, 10 per cent of childcare providers were rated outstanding, 58 per cent good, 29 per cent satisfactory and 3 per cent were found to be inadequate. Seventy-two per cent of group settings were judged good or outstanding, compared with 66 per cent of childminders.

Of the providers judged to be inadequate in 2008/09 who have since been re-inspected, 95 per cent are now satisfactory or better.

- See Analysis, pages 10-11

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