Schoolchildren in Swindon are being failed at every level of their education, according to the region's chief inspector. In a damning assessment, Ofsted's Bradley Simmons says what he's uncovered gives 'cause for serious concern'.
He says rather than tackle its problems, the local authority has only tried to defend itself against any criticism. Mr Simmons has written a letter making sure all the key parties are aware of the concerns.
Our presenter Ian Axton asked Cllr David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council about the poor results.
Cllr Renard told us that the letter came out of the blue and was at odds with what Bradley Simmons had written earlier this year. He also said it was at odds with what other inspectors have said.
- Watch the interview with Cllr David Renard in full
Two nurseries have been temporarily closed after a former employee was arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children.Read the full story ›
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.
The local authority has provided some helpful training along with additional funding to enable early years settings to further develop their provision for funded two-years-olds. However, much still needs to improve.
It cannot be right that the poorest young children in Wiltshire are not able to master basic skills such as being able to hold a pencil, count to 20, listen to a story or express themselves.
Good learning and development is vital if children are to grasp the basics skills before they start primary school.
As a result we have provided a number of recommendations the local authority should consider, particularly to those childcare providers, on meeting the needs of the poorest children.
- 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
Ensuring all children in Wiltshire achieve their full potential regardless of their background is an absolute key priority for us.
We have been working closely with early years settings across the county to narrow the performance gap between children from poorer households and other children at the end of their first year in school.
Ofsted visited eight early years settings during the focused inspection event however Wiltshire has over 1,000 childminders, early years settings and out of school clubs registered to take young children.
Overall 84% of this provision, which includes providers operating in our more deprived areas, is judged by Ofsted to be good or better and we will continue to work with providers who are not yet judged to be good to increase this percentage.
Despite the relatively small sample for this inspection the recommendations are helpful as we continue to drive improvements in our early years provision. We will continue to work in partnership with providers to implement our plans in order to achieve our high aspirations for all children in Wiltshire.
Police say they will not be bringing any charges against two people after investigating alleged child abuse at a nursery in Wiltshire.
Little Angels in Calne was forced to close in August. After completing an investigation, officers say the bail of a 37-year-old woman and a 48-year-old man has been cancelled.
The owner, who was not arrested, was forced to liquidate the company that ran the nursery.
We can confirm that after completing a rigorous and complex investigation into alleged sexual abuse against children, the bail of a 37 year-old woman and 48 year-old man who were previously arrested has been cancelled. No further police action is being taken against any party regarding this case and our investigation has now concluded.
Whilst we appreciate this has caused a considerable amount of concern in the local community, due to the nature and scope of the investigation, it was imperative given the information passed to us that our enquiries were comprehensive and thorough.
We have worked closely throughout this investigation with a number of appropriate partner agencies and continue to do so in supporting all parties involved.
We would like to thank the public for their understanding and co-operation with this investigation.
"As a director of Little Angels nursery I've been served with a Notice of Suspension for 6 weeks by Ofsted.
"I've not been arrested and am unable to make any comment at this time.
"My staff and I are fully cooperating with the Police and other agencies involved in the investigation."
A notice of suspension has been placed outside Little Angels Nursery in Calne, Wiltshire.
The notice - which says the suspension runs for more than a month - is in place to allow the regulating body to investigate their 'belief that a child may be at risk of harm'.
A 37-year-old woman has been arrested in investigations at a nursery in Wiltshire.
Details about the inquiry have not been released, but police have confirmed that Little Angels Nursery in Calne has been closed.
The person arrested is understood not to be the owner.
We can confirm that police are conducting an investigation into allegations relating to Little Angels Nursery in Calne.
The nursery has been closed by Ofsted and staff from the nursery are in the process of informing all parents of the closure.
Parents who have concerns are being advised to call either Social Services on 0845 6070888 or the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0300 456010899.
OFSTED’s first-ever South West annual report says the proportion of good or outstanding schools in the region has increased.
But it says that children from poorer backgrounds are not doing well enough.
Bradley Simmons is Regional Director for the South West at OFSTED.
He's been speaking to ITV West Country's Ian Axton.
He told him that in more affluent areas, as well as in more economically deprived communities, pupils eligible for free school meals do not achieve as well as their peers.
New figures from OFSTED claims more and more children in the south west are going to schools rated as 'good' or 'outstanding' schoolsRead the full story ›
OFSTED’s first-ever South West annual report says the proportion of good or outstanding schools in the region has increased. But
But it says that children from poorer backgrounds are not doing well enough.
Bradley Simmons is Regional Director for the South West at OFSTED and says in more affluent areas, as well as in more economically deprived communities, pupils eligible for free school meals do not achieve as well as their peers.