Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) is a government department that inspects and regulates institutions in England providing education to learners of all ages and providers of care for children and young people.
Ofsted inspect or regulate the following services:
- Childminders and Quality assured childminder
- Full and sessional daycare providers (such as day nurseries and pre school playgroups)
- Out of school care (such as breakfast clubs and after school clubs and holiday playschemes)
- Ofsted voluntary childcare (such as crèches or a home child carer)
- All state maintained schools
- Some independent schools
- The overall level of services for children in local authority areas (these are called Joint Area Reviews).
Once Ofsted have carried out their inspection they will produce an inspection report of their findings. These can give you an impartial view of a childcare provider and help provide information on how well they meet the standards set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage. However, remember that their Ofsted inspection only reflects a snapshot in time.
You can search for inspection reports on the Ofsted web page: reports.ofsted.gov.uk.
If a childcare provider's report is not available it could be because they are newly registered and their report has not been uploaded yet. However, if you contact the childcarer they may have a copy of the report which you can ask to see.
Making a complaint about childcare
If you have a complaint or concern about your childcare you can contact the Ofsted helpline on 0300 123 1231 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.