Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. Ofsted independent and impartial and report directly to Parliament. Ofsted inspect and regulate services which care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.

Ofsted have two registers: the Early Years Register (EYR) and the Ofsted Childcare Register (OCR). Since September 2008, providers of childcare for children up to the age of five are required to register on the EYR, unless exempt, and providers for childcare for children aged between five and seven are required to register on the compulsory part of OCR, unless exempt

Inspection Reports

One of the key functions of Ofsted is to inspect settings to ensure that they comply with their statutory requirements as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (“EYFS”). Ofsted are required to prepare an inspection report that includes:

  • A description of the provider

  • The overall quality and standards of the provision

  • How well the provider meets the needs of the children

  • How the provider contributes to the children’s well-being

  • How the leadership and management are able to comprehend and implement the requirements of the EYFS.

Inspectors grade providers in one of the four categories below: 

  • Grade 1 – outstanding

  • Grade 2 – good

  • Grade 3 – requires improvement

  • Grade 4 – inadequate

All inspection reports are available on the Ofsted website.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The EYFS sets the statutory standards that all early years providers (caring for children 0-5 years) must meet. This includes all schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.

The Early Years Foundation Stage – Supporting children to learn through Play

The Early Years Foundation Stage is a play based framework that childcare providers use as a tool to ensure that children from birth to five years are developing and learning to their full potential. Providers plan and provide a range of play activities, which help children to make progress in each of the following areas of the EYFS learning and development.

The EYFS prime areas of learning are:

  • Personal, social and emotional development

  • Communication and language

  • Physical development

The specific areas of learning are:

  • Understanding the world
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Expressive arts and design

Reviewing Children’s Progress

Childcare providers will observe children to assess how they are learning and developing. They will use this information, along with evidence from photographs, videos and work samples, to document their progress and where this might be leading them. 

Childcare providers are required to update parents regularly on a childs development, this is often done informally when children are being collected along with more formal updates. The 2 main reviews completed are the progress check when children are aged 2 years and the Early Years Profile. These reviews are completed in order to decide how best to support children to move onto the next stage of progress:

  • Progress check at age two – completed when a child is aged between two and three years. The key practitioner for the family works with the parents to prepare a summary of their development in the prime areas of learning.
  • Early Years Foundation Stage Profile - as your child prepares to start school at age five, an Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) is completed to providing a review of your child’s progress as they come to the end of the EYFS. The profile describes each child’s attainment against 17 early learning goals, together with a short description about their learning characteristics. Information from these assessments is used for parents, practitioners and teachers to support children’s learning and developments.

Ofsted Registered Nannies

Although childcare provided in the child’s own home, such as nannies and babysitter, are not required to register with Ofsted, there are some nannies who are Ofsted registered. If parents need to use childcare vouchers (to receive some financial assistance towards childcare costs) they will need to ensure their nanny is registered on the voluntary part of the childcare register. 

For more information regarding how to register a nanny with Ofsted please click here.