Analysis of Ofsted Annual Report 2018-19

Ofsted published its Annual Report 2018/19 today which showed that 97% of nurseries and pre-schools were judged good or outstanding, up from 96% the previous year.

However, although the quality is improving overall, the gap between nurseries in the least deprived and most deprived areas of England has increased.

The number of nurseries and pre-schools has decreased again from 24,400 in 2016/17 to 24,200 last year and down to 24,100 this year. More nurseries are classed as being in a group rather than standalone.

Here’s a summary of the key points:
24,100 nurseries and pre-schools (reduced by 100 since last year)
97% judged as good or outstanding – 73 good, 23 outstanding – increase of 1 percentage point good since last year
95% good or outstanding in the most deprived areas compared with 98% in the least deprived  - the gap has increased in nurseries and pre schools by 1% (2017/18 94 – 96%)
Total number of providers has fallen overall 
42% of nurseries operate as part of a group compared with 40% the previous year
370,000 children aged three and under receive their early years education in schools
Total number of providers has fallen to 76,200 from 87,900 the previous year, a drop of 13% since 2015, mostly due to a decline in childminder numbers

Purnima Tanuku, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said: “Nursery owners and managers should be proud that 97% of settings are judged as good or outstanding by Ofsted. This shows the hard work and dedication of the sector in the face of the financial and staffing challenges across the country. 

“This is the last year of inspections under the old framework and we have worked hard with the sector to ensure nurseries are prepared for the new one. It will be interesting to see any impact of this framework on how early years settings are graded.

“It is concerning to see the fall in the number of providers, our closure research suggested that the number of nurseries having to close is increasing and this is shown in the small drop in Ofsted registrations. Our work also showed that underfunding was having a greater impact on nurseries in areas of deprivation and today’s report seems to bear that out with the quality gap is widening between nurseries in the most and least deprived areas of the country.

“The report highlights that the most likely cause of an inadequate judgement is a weakness in leadership and management. The drop in staff with higher level qualifications and experience, uncovered in NDNA’s workforce survey 2019, will undoubtedly make it more difficult for nurseries to address this. This recruitment and retention crisis must be addressed by Government as a priority.”

Read the full report here