Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, has backed calls from Action for Children for Ofsted to re-start its inspection of children’s centres.
The call comes after the news that over 1,000 children’s centres have not been inspected for over five years. The Government suspended Ofsted inspections ‘on a short-term basis’ in September 2015 pending a consultation on the future of children’s centres. The consultation is yet to take place and had inspections not been suspended, Action for Children believe around 969 centres would now have been inspected.
The ongoing freeze of inspections for children’s centres completely undermines the Government’s claims that these centres play a hugely important role in the ensuring children get the best possible start in life. The Government needs to act fast; it needs to push through its long overdue review and allow centres to not only have clarity on how they are to work, but also give parents and families peace of mind by ensuring that they are properly inspected.
Before the suspension, Ofsted was required to inspect children’s centres no later than five years after the previous inspection. Inspections look at everything from finance to its effectiveness in serving the needs of children and parents. Although Ofsted is still able to inspect in case of an emergency, Action for Children have obtained information that no such inspections have been carried out.