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Ofsted issues clearer and simpler guidance for nurseries

Early years regulator, Ofsted, has clarified and simplified its essential guidance for childcare providers, following a review of how regulations governing the sector are enforced.

The Focus on Enforcement review asked childcare providers to comment on the effectiveness of regulatory enforcement and to specify how it might be improved to help them comply with the law.

Nick Hudson, Ofsted early years director, said: “We want to help nurseries and other early years providers focus on what matters: providing a safe environment for young children in which they can learn and develop, and preparing them well so that they are ready for school.

“That’s why we have clarified essential guidance so that early years professionals can see what really matters. I am confident that this will help early years staff get on with doing their jobs. If they have any requests for clarification then we will be happy to help.”

In response to providers’ views, Ofsted is now reducing the volume of all its website guidance relating to childcare by a quarter.

It has also clarified that the only mandatory reading for childcare providers is the ‘Guide to Registration on the Early Years Register’ and ‘Preparing for your Registration Visit’ - and shortened the total length of these from 93 to just 33 pages.

Before the review, many providers reported that they believed that they were required to read all guidance on Ofsted’s website, of which the review team found there to be 1,100 pages. The new guidance was uploaded on Ofsted’s improved website in March 2014.

The inspection body has also clarified that the guidance on the Ofsted website for inspectors is for their information, rather than mandatory reading for childminders themselves.

In addition, it has strengthened its guidance to providers on preparing for their inspection, so that they are clear about how to raise concerns and provided further training for inspectors on checking accuracy and making consistent judgements.

June 2014