Improving the quality of childcare

Quality assurance

A quality assured childcare setting, including schools, childrenʼs centres and childminders, is one that has achieved accreditation from a national body. Quality assurance accreditation focuses on standards of:

  • management
  • staffing
  • resources and equipment
  • equal opportunities
  • safety and child protection
  • relationships with parents

Assessment is carried out by an external assessor. To get their accreditation a setting has to go beyond the minimum requirements that Ofsted expects all settings to meet.

A quality assured setting has to show that they are continually developing their provision, ensuring that their premises and resources are kept in excellent condition, and that their staff are qualified and keep their qualifications up to date.

Quality improvement processes

A quality improvement process (QIP) is a commitment to raise quality and outcomes for the children attending childcare settings. For example, Barnsley's Healthy Early Years Award, run by Barnsley Early Childhood Services in partnership with NHS Barnsley, is a scheme available for all childcare settings to ensure that nutritious meals and snacks are offered.

Other examples of QIPs include Quality Assurances Schemes, Healthy School Scheme, Investors in People (IiP) Quality Mark, Arts Mark and Breastfeeding Awards.

We implement bespoke quality improvement programmes that support private, voluntary and independent childcare settings who are committed to continually improve the quality of their provision. The programme continually implements, monitors and evaluates key themes in line with the government agenda, recognises good practice and allows settings to identify those areas that need to be further developed.