Guidance

Early years and childcare providers judged inadequate or not complying with requirements at inspection

An explanation of what happens to those judged inadequate on the Early Years Register and those not meeting registration requirements on the Childcare Register.

Early Years Register

When an inspector judges the overall effectiveness of provision to be inadequate, the inspection report will set out the steps that you must take. It will give the date by which you must comply with the requirements in the ‘Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage’ that you failed to meet.

In addition, we may decide to take enforcement action against you and issue a welfare requirements notice because of the poor quality of your provision. It will be an offence not to take the steps that we require of you in a welfare requirements notice. We also have a range of other enforcement action that we can take, including cancelling your registration.

The inspector will have explained the weaknesses that have led to the judgement of inadequate. They will also have discussed with you what you need to do to improve. If the inspector judges that enforcement action is needed, they will have explained the range of options that are open to us. You will need to be able to provide evidence that you are meeting requirements the next time that we visit.

Visit to check compliance – regulatory visit or a reinspection

If we decide to take enforcement action and we allow the provision to continue to operate, we will monitor your progress in meeting the welfare requirements notice. We may also carry out a regulatory visit to check what actions you have taken. Alternatively, we may decide to proceed straight to the reinspection. This will depend on the dates of the actions and the seriousness of the matters covered in the welfare requirements notice.

We will always re-inspect you within 6 months of the inspection at which you were judged inadequate. This will happen regardless of whether we carry out a separate regulatory visit following a welfare requirements notice.

If we decide to check compliance through a regulatory visit, we will ask you to tell us what you have done to put things right. We will check that the improvements you have made are fully embedded in practice and that you can sustain these improvements. If we agree that the action you have taken is sufficient, the next step will be another inspection within 6 months of the original inspection date. You should read our published guidance as set out in part 2 of our early years compliance handbook.

At the regulatory visit, the inspector will make a judgement about whether you have met the welfare requirement(s) notice. Failure to meet a welfare requirement notice is an offence according to Regulation 12 of The Early Years Foundation Stage (Welfare Requirements) Regulations 2012. This may lead to the cancellation of your registration. If we find that you have addressed the matters set out in the welfare requirements notice but are breaching other requirements, we may take further enforcement action. Following the compliance visit, we will publish a summary of the outcome on our website alongside your inspection reports. This is so that parents and others can see the progress that you have made.

The next inspection

In most cases, the next inspection will take place no later than 6 months following the inadequate judgement.

Where you can go for help to improve your practice

We will tell your local authority about your inspection judgement. We advise you to contact your local authority adviser/development worker. They will provide support or training to help you make the necessary improvement.

What you should tell parents

You should keep parents fully informed at all stages. Once you receive the inspection report, you must provide a copy to all parents of children who attend the setting.

Claiming government funding for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds during this period

You remain eligible to claim funding until your local authority removes you from its directory of providers that are eligible to claim funding for free early education places. Your local authority will advise you if they are likely to do this and on the next steps if they do so.

Childcare Register

If an inspector judges that you are not meeting the requirements of either the compulsory or the voluntary part of the Childcare Register, or both parts, we may:

  • issue you with a notice that sets out what the steps you must take are and by what date you should complete these – these relate to any of the requirements of the Childcare Register that you failed to meet
  • decide to take enforcement action against you, including prosecuting you or cancelling your registration

What should I tell parents?

You should keep parents fully informed at all stages. Once you receive the inspection report, you must provide a copy to all parents of children who attend the setting.

More information from Ofsted

The law that sets out our duty is the Childcare Act 2006 and associated regulations. You can read about our guidance and policy on inspecting registered early years and childcare providers under the education inspection framework.

There is also more information available on Ofsted’s website.

Other sources of information

You can contact your local authority, which has a duty to give you help and support. You can find the telephone number in your local directory or by visiting the find your local council website.

Published 6 March 2020