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A range of images of children and adults

Definitions

Judgements

Judgements on outcomes

During the period covered by this report, judgements on outcomes for children were made against a four point scale:

Outstanding: exceptional settings that have excellent outcomes for children.

Good: strong settings that are effective for children.

Satisfactory: settings that have acceptable outcomes for children but which have scope for improvement.

Inadequate: weak settings that have unacceptable outcomes for children.

Judgements on childcare

During the period covered by this report judgements on the overall quality of childcare were made against a four point scale:

Outstanding: exceptional settings that have excellent outcomes for children. They are outstanding in supporting children to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, and make a positive contribution. They are outstanding in the way they are organised to promote positive outcomes for children. Childcare practice is exemplary – so good that it is worth disseminating beyond the setting. Capacity to improve is strong. A likely feature is that adults always strive for further improvement through evaluative and reflective practice.

Good: childcare practice is very effective, worth reinforcing and developing. Capacity to improve is strong.

Satisfactory: provision is steady, childcare practice is generally effective, with scope for improvement. Capacity to improve is sound.

Inadequate

category 1: weak settings where childcare practice is not good enough and one or more of the national standards is not being met. Childcare practice gives cause for concern. It needs attention but the setting has capacity to improve without external help and support.

category 2: highly ineffective settings where childcare practice is poor and one or more of the national standards is not being met. Childcare practice gives cause for concern. It needs urgent attention and the setting has insufficient capacity to improve. Enforcement action is required.

Judgements on early education

During the period covered by this report judgements on the quality of early education, funded by the Government for three- and four-year-olds, were made against a four point scale:[17]

Outstanding: exceptional settings of such high quality that three- and four-year-olds are making very rapid progress towards the early learning goals.

Good: strong settings where three- and four-year-olds are making good progress towards the early learning goals.

Satisfactory: effective settings where three- and four-year-olds are making sound progress towards the early learning goals but there is scope for improvement.

Inadequate

category 1: weak settings where early education is of an unacceptable standard and three- and four-year-olds are making limited progress towards the early learning goals. Practice gives cause for concern. It needs attention but the setting has capacity to improve without external help and support.

category 2: weak settings where early education is of an unacceptable standard and three- and four-year-olds are making little or no progress towards the early learning goals. Practice gives cause for concern. It needs urgent attention and the setting has insufficient capacity to improve: external help or support is needed.

Outcomes

In 2003 the Green Paper Every child matters identified five outcomes to which all children are entitled. The outcomes are for every child to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being. The outcomes were enshrined in the Children Act 2004. From April 2005 to August 2008 Ofsted inspections included judgements on the first four outcomes, plus a judgement on how well settings are organised to promote outcomes effectively for children.

Quality assurance schemes

Quality assurance schemes help providers to work towards specific principles or standards of quality and improvement. Accreditation on the scheme is awarded to providers who demostrate their achievements to and independent assessor.

Types of care

During the period covered by this report the types of care registered by Ofsted under the national standards were:[18]

Childminding

Adults looking after children to whom they are not related on domestic premises for reward and for a total of more than two hours a day, except where the care is only provided between 6pm and 2am.

Day care

Childcare groups on non-domestic premises in one of the following categories:

Full day care, including nurseries and children’s centres, providing care for a continuous period of four hours or more.

Sessional day care for children attending part time for no more than five sessions a week, each session being less than a continuous period of four hours in any day.

Out of school care providing care before or after school or during the school holidays for children aged three and over.

Crèches providing occasional care on particular premises for more than two hours a day.

Multiple day care where there is more than one type of day care provided on non-domestic premises.

[17] Until August 2008, providers had to deliver the Curriculum guidance for the foundation stage only if they were providing government-funded nursery education. From September 2008, all providers caring for children from birth to 31 August after their fifth birthday have to ensure that their provision meets the learning and development requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

[18] From September 2008 all provision must meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage and / or the Childcare Register.