How we inspect children's centres

How we inspect children's centres

We inspect children’s centres in two ways.

  • Children’s centre group
    Two or more centres which share leadership and management, and which offer integrated services across an area in one local authority; a children’s centre group will have one inspection and one inspection report.
  • Single centre
    A centre which may work with other centres; it may share management but won’t offer integrated services; each single centre will have one inspection and one inspection report.

Inspectors consider how each centre:

  • helps families with young children access services, including those families who find it difficult or are unwilling to do so
  • improves the well-being of young children and their families

Inspectors make three key judgements:

  • effectiveness of leadership, governance and management
  • access to services by young children and their families
  • quality and impact of the children’s centre’s work and services.

The inspection report also contains a judgement on the overall effectiveness of the centre:

  • grade 1 – outstanding
  • grade 2 – good
  • grade 3 – requires improvement
  • grade 4 – inadequate

Inspections can take place at any time.

We may inspect children’s centres simultaneously because this helps the local authority demonstrate the impact of centres’ work across an area. This is particularly important where centres work together.

We do not seek to influence the way in which local authorities choose to organise their children’s centres. 

Annual Report 2012/13

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