No more inspections for 'outstanding' school nurseries

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Early years provision managed by schools that are graded outstanding may no longer be subject to routine inspections under Ofsted's new inspection framework for schools, which takes effect in January 2012.

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The streamlined framework will focus on four key areas: the achievement of pupils, the quality of teaching, the quality of leadership and management, and the behaviour and safety of pupils.

Subject to the passage of the Education Bill, 'outstanding' schools will no longer have routine inspections unless there are concerns about their performance. 'Good' schools will continue to be inspected in a five-year cycle and 'satisfactory' schools inspected every three years, unless particular concerns emerge. 'Inadequate' schools will be more closely monitored, with a re-inspection likely within a year.

Where the provision is managed by the school, the early years will be inspected as part of the overall school inspection and be included in a single inspection report, rather than separately.Where registered provision on a school's site is managed by a private, voluntary and/or independent provider, it will continue to be inspected separately.

While a separate report will be provided for PVI provision, there is a likelihood the inspection will coincide with that of the school.

Laura Henry, managing director of Childcare Consultancy, said, 'This can give a PVI nursery on a school site the heads-up on an inspection happening, which may be perceived as a negative or a positive, depending on how confident they feel.'

The new framework introduces an online questionnaire for parents to air concerns about their child's school, which could trigger an inspection. Concerns have already been raised about the potential for abusing this system, as comments can be posted anonymously.

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