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04/01/2010
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A range of images of children and adults

What inspectors look for

Effective organisation, leadership and management secure good outcomes for children.

During the period covered by Leading to excellence, and until August 2008, inspectors made judgements on how well settings were organised to promote successful outcomes for children. In assessing organisation, inspectors considered how well:

  • providers ensure adults are suitable to be responsible for or given unsupervised access to children
  • providers meet the adult-child ratios, training, qualification, space and equipment required to meet the children’s needs
  • records, policies and procedures ensure safe management of the provision to promote children’s welfare, learning and development.

Where government-funded early education was provided, inspectors' judgements on leadership and management covered how well:

  • clear directions lead to improvement in the organisation of early education
  • the provision is managed and monitored
  • equality of opportunity is promoted and discrimination is tackled so that all children make good progress.

The Early Years Foundation Stage, introduced in September 2008, sets out how children’s welfare, learning and development should be promoted; inspections focus on how effective settings are in doing this.

The Early Years Foundation Stage builds on the guidance it replaces: the National standards for under eights day care and childminding, Birth to three matters, and Curriculum guidance for the foundation stage.[13] The main aim of the Early Years Foundation Stage is to help children achieve the five Every Child Matters outcomes. The good practice in Leading to excellence exemplifies how the best settings are organised, led and managed to promote these outcomes. Inspectors continue to assess how well settings are organised, led and managed to improve outcomes for children under the Early Years Foundation Stage. They consider how well providers ensure every child’s welfare, learning and development needs are met by:

  • striving for improvement
  • monitoring provision and outcomes for children
  • safeguarding all children
  • promoting inclusive practice
  • working with parents and others
  • maintaining records, policies and procedures.[14]

[13]National standards for under 8s day care and childminding , Department for Education and Skills, 2003;Birth to three matters: a framework to support children in their earliest years, SureStart, 2003; and Curriculum guidance for the foundation stage, Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, 2000.

[14] To find out what inspectors look for under the Early Years Foundation Stage in registered settings please see Are you ready for your inspection?