Nurseries face tougher Ofsted requirements

New tougher standards mean fewer nurseries and preschools will be rated outstanding.

A new Ofsted education inspection framework is now in place for early years settings, which was described as “tougher” to Brighton and Hove City Councillors.

To achieve an outstanding rating, a nursery or preschool should meet all the standards set for “good” and do so “securely and consistently”.

It is not enough for an early years setting to be strong against some aspects of Ofsted judgements and not against others.

Ofsted’s revised inspection framework aid: “Provision should only be judged ‘outstanding’ in a particular area if it is performing exceptionally and this exceptional performance in that area is consistent and secure across the whole provision.”

Members of the Children, Young People and Skills Committee heard since the changes came into place, the Torah Montessori Nursery and Oak Cottage Nursery had both changed from outstanding to good following inspections in September.

Also Gingerbread Day Nursery and Wise Owls Nursery kept their good ratings in August and September respectively.

Green councillor Hannah Clare asked what implications these changes would have on schools.

Head of education standards and achievements, Mark Storey explained schools have faced a much tougher challenge since Ofsted changed its criteria a year ago.

He said: “Nationally the percentage of outstanding schools is likely to go down. The path is much more difficult.

“A lot of schools will have to go through two inspections. It’s not as easy to do it.

“It is a tougher challenge today because part of the framework is much broader across the curriculum.

“To get outstanding it has got to be across all the curriculum and across all subjects.”

Conservative councillor Dee Simson checked whether schools would still have their outstanding elements highlighted in reports and was told they would.

No Ofsted school inspections have taken place so far this school year.

Currently 90.4 per cent of primary schools and all secondary schools, colleges and pupil referral units in Brighton and Hove are rated either good or outstanding.

Assistant director for children, families and learning Jo Lyons said: “In Brighton and Hove we are in a fortunate position that our schools are very well placed and we’ve focused on that for a long time.

“They are placed to do well in inspections coming up. Although it is a challenge to achieve outstanding we are in a good position going forward to make sure we continue to do well.”

Committee chair, Labour councillor John Allcock said: “The goal posts are changing. We perform extremely well.

“It is a really good news story we have got for everyone in the community, how our schools are performing.”

Schools are offered support by the council in an effort to boost their Ofsted rankings.

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