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A range of images of children and adults

Key findings

A mother and her baby smiling
  • Almost all settings (97%) inspected provide satisfactory or better childcare; 60% are good or outstanding.
  • Childcare is inadequate in 3% of settings inspected.
  • Almost all settings judged inadequate (95%) improved.
  • Almost all early education settings (98%) are satisfactory or better, including 65% that are good or outstanding.
  • The quality of childcare and early education in day-care settings inspected has risen year on year. Providers have made a wide range of improvements for children in response to issues raised at their previous inspection.
  • Of the outcomes assessed, providers are best at helping children to enjoy and achieve; 73% are good or outstanding.[3]
  • The quality of childcare varies across the sector. The proportion of good or outstanding settings ranges from 47% of out-of-school schemes to 65% of full day-care settings. Well-established provision is generally of higher quality than provision that is recently registered.
  • The quality of childcare also varies across the country. Children living in deprived areas have access to fewer good childcare settings.
  • We received 24,000 complaints about provision over the three year period. This represents a very small proportion of the childcare places available: the equivalent of five complaints each year per 1,000 places on average.

[3] Ofsted inspections up to September 2008 included judgements on the four of the Every Child Matters outcomes: be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve and make a positive contribution. They also included a judgement on how well settings are organised to promote outcomes effectively for children.