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The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) has today published guidance for inspectors of private, voluntary an...
The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) has today published guidance for inspectors of private, voluntary and independent nursery settings.

The purpose of inspection is to identify strengths and weaknesses to enable the providers of nursery education to improve the quality of the education that they offer.

The inspection report provides information to parents and the local community about quality and standards of the nursery.

The inspection of nurseries publicly funded through the voucher scheme is governed by the Nursery Education and Grant Maintained Schools Act 1996.

The Act requires Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools (HMCI) to keep the Secretary of State for Education & Employment informed about: the quality and standards of funded nursery education; and the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of children for whom funded nursery education is provided.

The principles for inspection are that they should:

-- concentrate on the quality and standards of the education provision

-- be rigorous, but with the minimum of bureaucracy and disruption

-- fit in with existing inspection arrangements as far as possible

The inspection report must include:

-- inspection judgements on the extent to which the educational provision will promote the desirable outcomes in the six areas of children's learning: personal & social development; language & literacy; mathematics; knowledge & understanding of the world; physical development; and, creative development;

-- an overall statement as to whether the education provision is acceptable;

-- a statement concerning the appropriate fostering of children's spiritual, moral, social and cultural development;

-- a recommendation on the timing of the next inspection (either 1 - 2 years or 2 - 4 years later).

-- Guidance on the Inspection of Nursery Education Provision in the Private, Voluntary & Independent Sectors, ISBN 0-11- 350088-2, priced£6.95, is available from TSO (formerly HMSO).

Telephone sales: 0171 873 9090.

This is the fourth in the series of OFSTED Handbooks covering inspection. It should not be confused with the Guidance on the Inspection of Nursery & Primary Schools which deals with the inspection of maintained schools.

The Nursery Inspection Resource Pack is designed to be photocopied by registered nursery education inspectors (RgNIs) for their use during inspection. These packs are only available from the OFSTED publications distribution centre Tel. 0171 510 0180 and are free.Current statistics: Nearly 4,000 nursery settings have been inspected. Nearly 6,000 have been allocated for inspection to be completed by the end of August 1997. A further 4,500 are due to have their inspections scheduled for the autumn term.

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