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There has been a mixed response from the early years sector to Ofsted's proposals to increase the frequency of inspections for weaker settings and replace the grade of 'satisfactory' with 'requires improvement'.

In future, early years settings will have four years to reach a good grade or face being closed down by Ofsted.

The Government is consulting on reforms which will change how free nursery places are funded and reduce the role of LAs while increasing Ofsted's power.

In the concluding part of her inspection series, Laura Henry explains how setting managers should adopt a holistic approach to ensure that staff perform to the very best of their ability.

Completing the new Self-Evaluation Form is no mean feat, say Nicola Bushell and Hayley Cannell, joint managers of Oakey Dokeys Pre-School in Essex.

An independent focus group for childminders has been launched to seek clarification from the Department for Education about what will happen to childminders who do not join agencies.

Laura Henry describes how careful preparation and a strong understanding of the Ofsted inspector's role and the procedure to be followed will 'help the inspector to help you'.

The early years sector has urged caution over plans to introduce childminding agencies, as set out in the Children and Families Bill.

Local authorities will no longer have a role to improve quality in early years settings, leaving the future of the work of early years authority advisers and their teams unclear.

Plans to introduce childminder agencies and give early years providers the right to request an Ofsted inspection are included in the Children and Families Bill published today.