Improving the quality of childcare

Quality assurance

A quality assured childcare setting is one that's achieved accreditation. This only comes from a national body. It includes schools, children's centres and childminders. 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 expected by Ofsted.

A quality assured setting has to show that they're growing their provision. They'll also make sure that their premises and resources are kept in superb condition. As well as this, their staff need to be qualified and keep their qualifications up to date.

Quality improvement processes

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

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

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