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Watchsted now collects inspections for a wider range of early years providers such as childminders, childcare on domestic premises and childcare on non-domestic premises.

The facility to be able to pay for re-inspection of early years settings was lobbied for by substantial parts of the sector, and Ofsted duly agreed to move forward on this.

Nursery owners have stressed that paid-for inspections, while welcome, must not divert Ofsted from inspecting settings within the set timescales.

The early years sector has been praised for the level of good and outstanding Ofsted grades achieved, but latest inspections are running at a lower level

Inspection reports are going to be ‘punchier’ from January, Ofsted’s early years chief has said.

Childcare settings in Ireland will be subject to education-focused inspections from next year.

A new online tracking tool called Watchsted provides a snapshot of the latest early years inspections across the country.

The National Day Nurseries Association has raised concerns that schools providing two-year-old provision will not be scrutinised against early years quality assurance by Ofsted.

Leading early years organisations have given a positive response to plans for a single inspection framework, but urged Ofsted to ensure that inspections are designed for the early education sector.

Early years settings will be inspected under a new common inspection framework alongside schools and further education colleges, in plans put out for consultation by Ofsted today.