The newest Ofsted statistics reveal that of the 89 children’s centres inspected between 1 April and 30 June 2014, just 48 per cent were found to be good or outstanding.
Of these centres, just three per cent were rated outstanding, all of which were single providers, and 45 per cent were rated good.
The latest ‘Children’s Centres Inspections and Outcomes statistics’ also show that more children’s centres were judged as ‘requires improvement’ than during the previous round of inspections.
According to the latest figures, 42 per cent of centres were found to ‘require improvement’ compared to 37 per cent between 1 November 2013 and 31 March 2014 when 112 centres were inspected. However, this was an inspection period of five months compared to three months this time.
The newest statistics also show that 10 per cent of children’s centres were found to be inadequate.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said, ‘Given the vital role that children’s centres play in supporting children and families, the fact that more than half remain less than ‘good’ is very concerning.
‘Like the rest of the early years sector, children’s centres need adequate support, both financial and practical, to be able to deliver a consistently high-quality service – but this is not something they are currently receiving. As a result, a growing number of centres are unable to offer much more than a skeleton service, meaning that many vulnerable families are finding it difficult to access the support they need.
‘This is an issue that needs to be addressed as a matter of priority, and we hope that the new Department for Education team will take swift action to ensure that the current trend does not continue.’
Ofsted began inspecting children’s centres in April 2010, and by 30 June 2014 had inspected 2,060 children’s centres.
The inspectorate has changed the way it inspected centres by bringing in a new inspections framework in April last year.
Because Ofsted says it has not yet completed a whole inspection cycle, it is not possible to make informed statements relating to change in the quality of centres.