Children's Centres: Inspections

Department for Education written question – answered on 6th March 2017.

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Photo of Lord Storey Lord Storey Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect The framework for children's centres inspection from April 2013 to be updated; and whether children's centres are still being inspected under the existing framework.

Photo of Lord Nash Lord Nash 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 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 suspension 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] A copy of the letter is attached. The letter can also be viewed at: https://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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