Childcare quality assurance and inspections

Child doing jigsaw

All childcare settings, who care for children under 8 years old, are legally required to be registered with Ofsted. This means they are regularly inspected to ensure children are cared for by suitable people on safe premises.

In addition to this, Calderdale Council support childcare settings to undertake one of two specific quality assurance (QA) schemes:

  • Steps to Quality QA scheme: for all providers;
  • Quality in Childminding (QiC) : for childminders.

Why should I choose an Early Years provider who is a member of a QA scheme?

There is clear evidence that children who experience high quality care and education in their early years, achieve better in both their education and wellbeing in school and beyond, visit:  Effective pre-school, primary and secondary education project .

When choosing childcare, it is important you think about the quality of childcare provision you want. For help with choosing a childcare provider who is a member of one of Calderdale Council's two QA schemes, see:  Find a childcare provider

Steps to Quality

Steps to Quality logo

Steps to Quality is a QA scheme available to all childcare providers and schools with an Early years provision. It aims to bring together all the different settings which work with children into a common vision of quality.

The scheme promotes the natural development of an approach towards quality, helping:

  • to ensure that all practitioners understand the meaning of quality childcare and education and what is needed to make it happen;
  • providers look at how their practice respects and supports each child as an individual;
  • develop strategies to sustain quality;
  • improve developmental outcomes for children; and
  • improve services to families.

Steps to Quality covers many areas including: play, care and inclusion, environment, management, training and development and relationships. There are three levels, or 'Steps':

  • Step One

    The basic standard, which builds on the registration process. It ensures that the main policies and procedures are in place, and links very closely with the requirements of Ofsted standards.
  • Step Two

    This builds on Step one, looking at the way these policies and procedures support good practice and encourage regular consultation with children and carers.
  • Step Three

    This builds on the previous two steps. It covers how the setting evaluates, reviews, and plans the service to promote and maintain quality.

For more information, contact:

If you are a parent looking for either an Early years provider who is a member of a QA scheme, or have any other questions regarding QA and inspections, contact:

  • Username Early Years Learning and Childcare Team
  • Email
  • Address
    Town Hall
    HX1 1TP

If you are an Early years or Childcare provider and would like further information, contact:


Ofsted inspections

  • Registration

    Childcare settings should be registered with Ofsted or a childminder agency (who is registered with Ofsted) if looking after children aged under eight for more than two hours a day. There are two registers:

    • Early years register: for children under 5 years;
    • Childcare register: for children aged 5 to 7 years.

    There is also a voluntary part of the Childcare register for children aged 8 and over, and for any childcare setting that does not need to be registered.

    For full details on how to register with Ofsted, visit: Register as a childminder or childcare provider .

  • Inspection

    Ofsted regularly inspect each registered childcare setting, at least once every three years and usually unannounced. They produce a report on the quality of the setting. This details, what it does well and what needs to improve. For all reports, visit: Find an inspection report , at the Ofsted website.

  • Investigations and enforcement

    Ofsted investigates any concerns raised by parents or professionals which are covered by national standards or the Childcare register requirements. If needed, they can issue a legal notice setting out what action a provider should take to correct the issue(s), or if the setting should have it's registration cancelled if the quality of care is seriously inadequate.

    Ofsted will not investigate regional issues, such as complaints about fees or other contractual arrangements with your provider.

  • I have concerns that I cannot share with my childcare provider

    It is important to develop a good relationship with your childcare provider to help your child's well-being, development and progress. You can resolve most concerns by talking to your childcare provider. However, if you have any concerns about your childcare provider that you cannot discuss with them, contact Ofsted, by phone: 08456 404040.

  • Further information

    For more information, visit: Ofsted .

Always open first panel: 

Quality improvement and support team

See also