Almost half of England’s estimated 105,000 childcare providers are providing a good service, the watchdog Ofsted has revealed.
A new report based on evidence from inspections carried out between April 2003 and March 2005 finds that only 1% of providers were unsatisfactory, with 51% being classed as satisfactory.
However, a third of providers were ordered to improve certain aspects of their performance because they did not meet one or more of the 14 standards.
The biggest problem facing providers appears to be ensuring that adults working with children or having unsupervised access to them are suitable to do so, with 7% of providers failing to make satisfactory checks. This problem is likely to be compounded in October when some providers will be expected to take over responsibility from Ofsted for meeting the cost of Criminal Record Bureau checks, for staff and volunteers.
Issues also persist around compliance with local child protection procedures and action to meet the needs of children with special needs, with only around a third of providers being judged as good in these areas.
Ofsted chief inspector David Bell said: “There is of course still work to be done, but I am impressed by the results in his report. I would like to see good practice become common practice in all child care settings.”