Children's Centres: Inspections

Department for Education written question – answered on 9th January 2017.

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Photo of Tulip Siddiq Tulip Siddiq Shadow Minister (Education) (Early Years)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Education's letter to HM Chief Inspector of Education of 25 September 2015, on Ofsted Inspection of Sure Start Children's Centres, what steps she is taking to reinstate the inspection framework for Sure Start children's centres.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Prime Minister has been clear that tackling poverty and disadvantage, and delivering real social reform, is a priority for this Government. We are considering the future direction for children’s centres and will provide further detail in due course, including how stakeholders and members of the public can contribute.

The requirement for Ofsted to undertake the inspections of Sure Start children’s centres is currently suspended pending consideration of their future direction as mentioned above.

As indicated in the letter of 25 September 2015 to HM Chief Inspector of Education[1], the Secretary of State retains the ability to require Ofsted to undertake inspections under section 98A (1)(b) of the Childcare Act 2006, and that Ofsted itself retains the ability to inspect children’s centres under section 98A (2). We do not want this to affect the normal activity of children’s centres and expect them to continue their work to improve the outcomes for children and families in local areas, including their work on self-evaluation, monitoring and the collection of data. Those children’s centres that also deliver early years provision will continue to be inspected for that provision as part of the Common Inspection Framework.

[1] This letter can be viewed at: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/466149/Sam_Gyimah_letter_Ofsted_Inspection_of_Sure_Start_Children_s_Centres.pdf

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