Bringing Ofsted inspection under our direct control

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Gill Jones, Ofsted Early Education Deputy Director explains the move to bring early years inspections in house


For as long as I have worked in education, quality has been the watchword.
Since becoming deputy director in 2013, I have spent much of my time going around the country and talking to early years managers and association leaders about the quality of early years provision.
The truth is that there is a strong logic to bringing inspections under direct Ofsted control.
Ofsted is an inspectorate and a regulator: inspection is our raison d'être. It makes sense to bring a core function under our direct control and management.
This is particularly the case when you consider that schools and skills inspections are already managed directly. And that provides a good precedent. The transition for schools and skills, since the common inspection framework took effect in September 2015, has been handled smoothly. There has been positive feedback from school and college leaders in the first five months or so.
Moreover, the early years, schools, and skills are subject to the same common inspection framework. So there is a strong rationale in extending this arrangement to the early years.
Under the new arrangements we will have direct control over the selection, training and management of early years inspectors, and of the quality of early years inspections.
It has been made clear to me that main provider representative organisations very much want inspections to be brought under Ofsted’s direct management.
I am confident that we have taken the right decision. That said, I do not want to give the impression that our decision is a panacea for all concerns. I am confident that we are taking the right decision that builds on the work of our contractors.
We are able to call upon the experience of bringing schools and skills inspection under Ofsted control.
But what matters to me now is that we think carefully about managing the transition, so that parents and providers see only a seamless process from now until summer 2017. I look forward to working with the contractors over that period of time.
I know there will be those who will say that we should have brought early years inspections under our control in 2015. But I don’t agree. We have worked with the contractors for more than five years. In that time, they have delivered well for Ofsted. Quality has risen.
I believe that the time is right for Ofsted to have direct control of early years inspections and will look forward to working closely with new colleagues to continue to focus on quality in the early years.

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