One fifth of nurseries in England do not have enough staff on duty at the start of the day to offer “good care” for children, education watchdog Ofsted has reported.
In a third of nurseries visited by inspectors, care during the first hour or more “lacked sufficient planning and organisation,” says Ofsted.
“Unacceptable” practice cited by inspectors includes staff not providing children with “engaging” activities, and poor security.
Although the majority of nurseries offer “adequate” care during the first hour of the day, it is likely to be of poorer quality than during core hours, the report concluded.
Similar problems with poor organisation are also likely at the end of long extended days, when tidying up and cleaning could take staff away from directly working with children.
Inspectors visited 45 nurseries during September 2005, arriving as the nurseries opened. The inspections were timed for the start of the day, prompted by evidence that care first thing is below par.