Nursery inspectors won't be kind

6th September 1996 at 01:00
Matthew Beard ends his piece on Group 4 and nursery inspections (TES, August 16) by saying that critics believe inspectors will be "lenient on nurseries and playgroups".

Many critics of the nursery vouchers are becoming involved with the inspection process because they feel that it is the best way to try to ensure a good standard of education for the children in voucher-redeeming settings.

The British Association for Early Childhood Education is committed to high quality in the early years. Our members, many of whom are expert and experienced practitioners, are being encouraged to become inspectors and trainers of inspectors. We feel that, as the voucher scheme has now become law, we must make sure that it works to the advantage of our young children by doing as much as we can to ensure high-quality provision.

I talked to a number of people at one of the training courses for nursery inspectors. They were concerned to use their expertise to help raise standards, not to assist in implementing the voucher scheme. I do not believe that any of these professionals will be "lenient" when they carry out inspections; they will work within the guidelines laid down by OFSTED and will hope to enable settings to recognise and build on good practice.

ELIZABETH PEARSON Field officer BAECE 53 Lyonsdown Avenue Barnet Hertfordshire

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