Nurseries hold on to top Ofsted ranks

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St Helens nurseries and early years providers failed to reach the top grade but avoided the lowest ranking in the latest Ofsted inspections.

A total of 11 venues were visited by inspectors between April 1 and June 30, with seven providers being judged good and four deemed to require improvement.

The results mean the proportion of providers needing to make changes in St Helens is considerably above the regional average, but Ofsted warned against drawing too many conclusions due to the small number of premises visited.

No providers in the town managed to secure the top outstanding grade but also ensures none were given the lowest-possible ranking of inadequate during the latest round of inspections.

St Helens Council said 82 per cent of the town’s 133 providers of childcare had been judged good or outstanding at their last inspection as at June 30 and also believed it was confident those which had recently been found to require improvement were moving in the right direction.

A local authority spokesman said: “Of the four which were found to require improvement, one was a childminder at her first inspection and two were nursery settings which had previously been judged inadequate and which had therefore made significant improvements over a short time in order to be judged to require improvement.”

Council figures suggest 80 per cent of nurseries and 84 per cent of childminders in St Helens are either good or outstanding.

Ofsted visited a total of 592 early years providers in the North West between April 1 and June 30, with seven per cent judged inadequate, 17 per cent requiring improvement, 68 per cent getting good and eight per cent receiving an outstanding rating.

The organisation altered its framework for early years education in November 2013, replacing the satisfactory judgement with requires improvement.

An Ofsted spokesman said: “It is now almost a year since we raised standards for nurseries and other early years providers. So it is heartening that these statistics show that almost three quarters of our inspections found a good or outstanding service for young children.

“Parents can be assured that young children at those provisions are in an environment where they can learn and develop.

“However, there are still too many early years provisions which do not help young children be ready to learn when they start school.””