How Ofsted nursery inspections work and what do the grades mean?

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills and the government organisation inspects and regulates services that care for children and young people including nurseries and schools.

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 1:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 6:36 pm
What Ofsted looks for when it inspects nurseries
What Ofsted looks for when it inspects nurseries

As part of this remit Ofsted regularly carries out inspections in nurseries and childcare organisations.

Usually Ofsted will give notice to the nursery or pre-school on or after midday on the working day before the start of the inspection.

Ofsted say that during the inspection the inspector will:

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- observe the children at play

- talk to staff and the children

- observe how staff and the children interact

- check the children’s levels of understanding and if they take part in learning

- talk to staff about the children’s knowledge, skills and abilities

- observe care routines and how they’re used to support children’s personal development

- evaluate staff's knowledge of the early years foundation stage

The inspector will give you feedback and explain what needs to be done to improve, if necessary.

After the inspection the nursery will be told how to do better, if there’s anything that can be improved and be graded as one of the following:

Grade 1 - Outstanding

The quality of teaching, learning and assessment is outstanding.

All other key judgements are likely to be outstanding. In exceptional circumstances, one of the key judgements may be good as long as there is convincing evidence that this area is improving rapidly and securely towards outstanding.

Safeguarding is effective.

There are no breaches of statutory requirements.

Grade 2 - Good

The quality of teaching, learning and assessment is at least good.

All other key judgements are likely to be good or outstanding.

In exceptional circumstances, one of the key judgement areas may require improvement as long as there is convincing evidence that it is improving rapidly and securely towards good.

Safeguarding is effective.

Grade 3 - Requires improvement

Where one or more aspects of the setting’s work requires improvement, the setting’s overall effectiveness is likely to require improvement.

Safeguarding is effective.

Where there are any breaches of the safeguarding and welfare and/or the learning and development requirements, they do not have a significant impact on children’s safety, well-being or learning and development.

Grade 4 - Inadequate

The setting’s overall effectiveness is likely to be inadequate if one or more of the following applies;

Any one of the key judgements is inadequate and/or safeguarding is ineffective.

There are breaches of statutory requirements have a significant impact on the safety and well-being and/or the learning and development of children.

It is a nursery or pre-school that has been judged as requires improvement at two consecutive inspections and is still not judged to be good at its third inspection.