Giving evidence at the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill Committee yesterday, NDNA chief executive Purnima Tanuku argued that proposals in the Enterprise and Employment Bill to waive the requirement for schools to register as early years providers to provide two-year-old places will mean provision is not subjected to the specific early years registration inspection process.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Enterprise and Employment Bill, which includes proposals on the regulation of childcare provision, is currently going through the House of Commons.
Ms Tanuku went on to express fears that schools’ early years provision will receive a ‘light-touch’ Ofsted inspection, with just a paragraph of their inspection report referring to the care of young children.
This could create a ‘two-tier system’ and unfair disadvantage for private and voluntary providers, she said.
Ms Tanuku also argued that there was a misconception that all school-based provision was better than that provided by private, voluntary and independent (PVI) early years settings, which still needed to be addressed.
She referred to the latest Ofsted statistics, which show that 78 per cent of schools are good or outstanding, compared to 84 per cent of PVI settings.
The NDNA chief executive went on to stress that very young children have specific needs which early years staff are trained to deliver, whereas not all teachers in schools have received this training.
She also expressed concerns over Ofsted’s latest announcement to extend the timescale for post-registration inspections for new settings to within 30 months.