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Ofsted praises ‘good start’ for Early Years Foundation Stage

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Children’s services watchdog Ofsted has praised the capacity of Early Years providers across England, but called on councils to considerways to drive improvement.

New report the impact of the Early Years Foundation Stage: A good start, out today, was conducted at the request of children’s minister Sarah Teather and designed to inform  Dame Clare Tickell’s review of under-5s education and care.

Ofsted chief inspector Christine Gilbert said the report showed childcare had improved since the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage in 2008.

However the report still recommended councils to investigate how poorer-performing providers could be helped to improve.

Ms Gilbert said evidence showed all kinds of provider from schools to childminders could deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage well and that children were enjoying their time, whatever type of provision they attend.

“In the best provision, childcare providers have established routines, high expectations of children’s behaviour and a good understanding of learning needs,” she said.

“They are also committed to their own development and make the most of the external support available.

“It is important that others learn from what is working well in order to improve their practice and help ensure the children in their care have a good start in life.”

Among the report’s recommendations were:

  • Councils should consider how training, support and challenge can be targeted to address the existing differences in capacity and quality of provision between the different types of provider.
  • Any changes to the Early Years foundation stage should recognise the currently slow rate of improvement in outcomes for some groups of children, including Traveller children and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities
  • Future arrangements should approach ways to promote more effective partnership working and especially the exchange of information between the different providers that a child may encounter in the course of a day or a week.
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