Understanding an early years and childcare inspection report
We inspect providers on the Early Years Register and the Childcare Register. For further information about the registers and to understand the difference between the two, go to the Regulating early years and childcare page on the left.
The Early Years Register inspection report
We usually inspect a newly-registered provider soon after registration - provided they have started to care for children - and definitely within seven months; after that we inspect at least once every three to four years from the date of the first inspection.
The Early Years Register inspection report will tell parents and carers all about the quality of the provision and so help them decide if they want the provider to look after their child. There is more information on the provider’s page on this website to supplement the report, such as conditions of registration.
The report will include information on:
- the quality of the provision for children and how this helps them to develop well
- how well the centre is led and managed
- what improvements have been made since the last inspection
- what still needs to be done to improve the quality of the provision
- the grades that the inspector gave at the end of the inspection
- grade 1 (outstanding)
- grade 2 (good)
- grade 3 (satisfactory)
- grade 4 (inadequate).
There are two categories for grade 4 (inadequate):
- Category 1
The provision is weak. In this case, we send the provider a letter with actions that must be taken, and by what date, to deal with the most significant weaknesses. We call this letter a notice to improve.
- Category 2
The provision is poor and needs urgent attention. In this case, we may take enforcement action. That could mean we give the provider a welfare requirements notice explaining which requirements are not being met, what must be done to improve and by when. In some rare cases where we believe children are at risk, we may suspend or cancel the provider’s registration with immediate effect; if we take this step then the provider must not provide childcare that requires registration.
The Childcare Register letter
For a provider that is only on the Childcare Register, our inspection checks that the provider is complying with the requirements of registration and any ongoing requirements, however we do not make any judgements about the quality of the provision.
There is no report following these inspections and we do not give grades; the provider gets a letter to let them know whether or not they are meeting the registration requirements. The outcome of the inspection will be:
- not met – actions
- not met – enforcement action.
When the provider does not meet the requirements, the letter will explain what the provider must do to remain registered. If we think that children are, or may be, at risk, we will suspend registration and investigate.
- For further information about inspections, go to the Inspecting early years and childcare pages on the left.