Too many early years settings inspected as part of a focused inspection in Wiltshire are not yet good according the education watchdog.
Ofsted has published its findings after it found only half of eight early years settings it inspected in March were judged good or better.
As well as the visits to eight providers, inspectors conducted telephone surveys with a further 11 providers and held a focus group discussion with the local authority and its partners.
The inspection was prompted by the wide gap in learning and development outcomes for the poorest young children compared to their more affluent peers.
Only 36% of children eligible for free school meals achieved a good level of development in 2014, making Wiltshire the third worst local authority in the South West region. However, inspectors did find signs of improvement.
- targeting high quality information, advice and training to weaker providers to ensure that young children in the most disadvantaged areas access the best provision
- continuing to provide information, training and advice as required to help practitioners further their early years knowledge, skills and experience
- using Ofsted’s inspection evidence, to encourage providers to strengthen their monitoring of teaching and progress made by groups of children so that settings have clear evidence of what they do well and what they need to improve
The cost of raising a child to the age of 21 has reached £222,000 as parents pay 58% more than a decade ago, with parents in the South West seeing the biggest hike in costs, according to an annual study. Families here now pay £100,077 more per child than ten years ago.
Education and childcare remain the biggest costs, with 76% of parents reporting that they have been forced to make cuts to meet the financial demands of raising their offspring, the survey for insurer LV found.
The overall figure is more than £4,000 up on last year and £82,000 more than ten years ago, when the first annual Cost of a Child Report was published.
Vulnerable children have been put at risk by inadequate child services in Wiltshire, according to Ofsted. The inspection in March found serious shortcomings in child protection. Of 92 cases selected at random, 17 had to be sent back for review.
Wiltshire Council admits the findings were "not good enough" and has put in an extra 500 thousand pounds to address the failings. You can read the full inspection report here