More than 300 pre-schoolers ‘looked after by substandard childcare providers’ in the East Riding

More than 300 pre-schoolers are cared for by substandard childminders and nurseries in East Riding, figures show.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 7:25 pm

Experts say “woeful” underfunding and a recruitment and retention crisis have contributed to too many children receiving inappropriate levels of care and education at a crucial development stage.

At the end of March, at least 360 three and four-year-olds were being looked after by childcare providers in the East Riding rated “inadequate” or “requiring improvement”, figures from the education watchdog show.

They include 109 children attending early years settings that received the lowest possible Ofsted grading of “inadequate”.

It means 4% of the three and four-year-olds who have places at Government-funded facilities in the area were cared for by negatively-rated institutions or childminders.

The largest proportion of children their age (69%) attend settings inspectors rated “good” while 19% enjoy “outstanding” care in the area.

In addition to those, there are other youngsters attending settings that do not currently have an Ofsted rating.

The figures cover all providers that receive funding giving children of that age 15 free hours of care and early education for up to 38 weeks a year.

Ofsted’s Gill Jones said the majority of nurseries and childminders were doing a brilliant job, but added: “There are still too many children attending provision that isn’t good enough.

“The early years are absolutely crucial to children’s learning, development and care, and we want to see every child get the best start in life.”

Deborah Lawson from early years union Voice said the quality of care and education children receive can impact their outcomes in life.

A Department for Education spokesperson said there had been unprecedented investment into childcare over the past decade.

She added: “Standards remain high, with 96% of childcare providers rated good or outstanding by Ofsted.

“It’s testament to the dedication and hard work of early years professionals, which we have seen during this period of uncertainty.”