Ofsted to put up fees

The DfE is consulting on an increase to the Ofsted fee which has remained unchanged for almost ten years.Department for Education logo

The consultation details were announced this morning. The DfE is seeking views on a proposed increase to the application fee and annual fee paid to Ofsted by early years providers. 

Currently the application fee and annual fees are £35 for sessional day care and £220 for full day care. The proposals include increasing these fees by £8 to £43 for sessional providers and by £49 to £269 for full day care providers.

Maintained nursery schools and schools with early years provision do not pay any Ofsted fees unless they take children under the age of two, so any rise will widen the divide between public and private providers which are already operating on an unlevel playing field.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, NDNA’s Chief Executive said: “Although we can understand the reason why the DfE needs to increase Ofsted’s fee after ten years, we could well apply the same logic to childcare funding.
“The Minister must also put up funding rates to keep track of inflation and delivery costs.

“Any increase in fees is just one too many for childcare providers who are already staggering under the heavy burdens of staffing salary and pension cost increases, stagnating funding rates over the past few years for funded places and business rates. If nurseries are to continue to remain sustainable they need positive news about funding rates.

“We will be urging all our members to respond to this consultation.”

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “We want every child to have the best start in life and know our dedicated early years workforce play an important role in their early education. That’s why we are improving their skills and development, so quality continues to rise, and investing more in childcare than ever before, including £3.5 billion this year alone in our free offers.

“Ofsted’s registration fees for early years providers have not increased since 2010. We recognise the sector may need time to adjust to any proposed increase next year, which is why we are engaging with them now, as well as seeking views on what a new fee model should look like from April 2021.”

The consultation which runs until 9 October can be found here.