In its annual Early Years report the Government’s education watchdog Ofsted judged 86 per cent of child care in the Borough as either ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.
Child care provision is delivered through child minding, pre-schools, nurseries and nursery classes within mainstream schools.
The Ofsted report examined the quality of 26 day nurseries, 39 pre-schools and 164 Registered Child Minders across Southend.
It rated 86 per cent of child care providers ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ for meeting the needs of children at the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) against a national average of 74 per cent.
And 88 per cent of providers were judged to have achieved outcomes for children in the EYFS category that were ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ against a national average of 77 per cent.
In their report inspectors highlighted the strong link between the level of staff qualification and the quality of child care provision in Southend.
They said this demonstrated children were getting the very best start in their learning and development from highly qualified and experienced professionals.
Seventy per cent of the town’s Early Years work force is qualified at Level 3 (equivalent to A-levels) or above and 60 per cent of managers are qualified at Level 4 (degree level).
Executive Councillor for Children and Learning, James Courtenay, said: “I am delighted that Southend has been rated as one of the top ten child care providers in England.
“Ofsted’s report recognises the excellent achievements of our Early Years workforce and the work they do to provide high quality child care and early education for families in the town.
“The Council works in partnership with the Pre-school Learning Alliance, the National Childminding Association, Southend Adult Community College and the Public Health sector to provide support, advice and guidance to all child care providers.”
The other local authorities in Ofsted’s top ten were Bracknell Forest, Brighton and Hove, Bromley, Cornwall, Dudley, Kingston upon Thames, Richmond upon Thames, Sutton and Torbay.
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