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1,000 children’s centres have not been inspected in more than five years

By Rachel Lawler

 
Almost 1,000 children's centres in England have not been inspected for more than five years, analysis from Action for Children has revealed.
 
Ofsted inspections at children’s centres were suspended in September 2015 on a supposed 'short-term' basis, when the government said it was planning a consultation on the future of the centres. This has yet to take place and the suspension has continued.
 
Suspended inspections
 
According to Action for Children, this means that 969 children’s centres should have been assessed since 2015 but are still yet to be checked for quality and performance. Emergency inspections have continued, but according to a Freedom of Information request sent by Action for Children, no such inspections have been carried out as none were required in this time.
 
Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive at Action for Children, said: “While it continues to drag its feet, central government is letting down tens of thousands of children and families who need support now. It urgently needs to push through its overdue review of early years services so children’s centres have clarity about how they should be working, what they should be achieving and the accountability framework they are working to.”
 
Social mobility concerns
 
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “It is completely unacceptable that so many children’s centres have been left uninspected for such a prolonged period of time as a result of government inaction.
 
“The government talks a lot about the importance of social mobility – so how can it justify all but abandoning such a vital source of help and support for vulnerable families? This has dragged on for long enough. The government must now confirm its plans for children’s centres, and ensure that those families that need it most have access to the early support services that they need.”
 
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