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Quality Improvement Award in early years

What is a quality improvement award?

Surrey County Council Early Years Quality Improvement Award (Surrey QIA) is a type of quality assurance scheme. A quality assurance scheme helps you to look at what you do, identify areas that need to be improved and work out how to make those improvements. And by completing a quality assurance scheme you will be able to prove that you have made progress against a set of agreed standards and raised the quality of your setting.

Surrey QIA is a free scheme that has been specifically designed for early years settings in Surrey. You must have an Ofsted inspection outcome of good or outstanding to join this scheme.

We also have a childminding version; if you are a registered childminder you may still be able to join the scheme if you have an Ofsted inspection outcome of satisfactory or requires improvement. You will need to email:, so we can discuss further.

What does the Surrey QIA offer?

Our award:

  • gives an accreditation on finishing
  • offers free support from Surrey Early Years and Childcare Service mentors
  • it has two parts: part one - covers leadership, management and business; part two - covers practice and provision
  • it offers you a range of self-assessment tools to give you an idea of how well you are currently working and what you could do to improve
  • encourages self-reflection by asking brief, open-ended questions matched against standards
  • meets the current Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Ofsted requirement for all settings to be improving continuously
  • links to ECERS and ITERS
  • encourages all staff to take part
  • aims to encourage the highest quality provision for the benefit of children, parents and staff.

Part one - Building quality in your organisation. This part includes information on:

  • business - the financial and legal aspects of operation
  • leadership - the visionary aspect of driving the improvement and functions forward
  • management - the operational day-to-day skills of utilising staff and resources
  • safeguarding and Welfare Requirement Audit
  • recruitment and retention
  • policies and procedures
  • self assessment tools - see file attachments below

 Part two - Building quality in your practice and provision. This part includes information on:

  • covers 4 of the Every Child Matters aspects of the practice and provision in an early years setting
  • safeguarding and Welfare Requirement Audit
  • policies and procedures
  • planning
  • self assessment tools - see file attachments below

Why take part?

Ofsted "expect every provider to be working towards making their provision outstanding." So if you want to improve your standard of care and education then Surrey QIA can help. But do not just take our word for it, here are two quotes from settings taking part in the QIA:

Lesley Friend, Friends Forest Nursery: "The QIA process has now started to work its magic; it was a slow and painful start, but now the team have common long and short term goals, their teaching has been enriched, discussions are pro-active and everyone has their part to play and success is breeding success. They are so proud of themselves and have now created their own culture that our other setting are eager to learn from. Please pass on how grateful we are that you had the talent and foresight to introduce this in Surrey. It really is a fabulous tool that you and your team should be proud of and we are chuffed you invited us to play!"

Debbie Matthews, Epsom Downs Pre-school Playgroup: "Our setting commenced the QIA in March 2013. Our main reasons for doing the award are to improve the quality of the provision and service that we provide for our children and families, by looking at all aspects of our business and to hopefully obtain an outstanding rating from Ofsted at our next inspection, which is due at any time. Participating in the QIA has been a very positive experience for all concerned; staff, parents and children. The staff team are all committed and have worked well together throughout, with all benefiting and gaining experiences from taking part, particularly from being given ownership of a task to complete. Our parents are on board and actively contribute ideas, increasing their involvement in the setting. The children have benefited by having pro-active adults around them, providing the best possible environment and activities for them to play and learn. What the QIA has shown us all is that we already have a lot of good strong practices in place, which is encouraging for us all. I would highly recommend any setting taking part in this award. By identifying areas of improvement, we have a strong focus going forward of what we want to achieve."

How do I apply?

Fill in an online expression of interest form. For more information contact the Quality Improvement Advisory Team through your early years improvement advisor, home-based childcare advisor or email: