Editor’s view - Making the grades

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The early years sector is gearing up for the new Education Inspection Framework as concerns remain about some aspects

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Liz Roberts

You might notice that the word 'Ofsted' appears quite a lot in this issue of Nursery World!

That isn't surprising, of course, as the new Education Inspection Framework being introduced in September is the most important and substantial change for the early years sector for some time.

A new inspection system gets hearts racing and minds whirring like nothing else. It's all very well to tell settings to be confident about what they do and not to alter practice to please 'Ofsted' but the importance of an inspection grade to nurseries, schools and childminders cannot be underestimated.

That's why our conference tomorrow (Tuesday), 'Delivering high-quality education under the new inspection framework: intent, implementation, impact', has been greeted with unprecedented demand. We've put together a programme with top experts to give advice on curriculum content, planning and delivery, and assessing outcomes for children. This switch of emphasis away from data towards 'quality of education' is the most important aspect of the EIF.

We'll also be focusing on the new framework at our Business Summit in November, a one-day conference in early December and at the Nursery World Show in February.

Although the overall approach of the EIF has been welcomed, there are of course concerns, not least about the differences between the early years handbook and the schools handbook, which some claim will lead to a two-tier system for young children. Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman dismisses this point of view in our interview on pages 12-13, which she says has been 'whipped up' by a few vocal opponents, but the lack of reference to the key person, attachment and so on in the schools handbook does jar particularly when thinking of the youngest, some just two, in schools.

There is still much to discuss.

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