Headlines: May 17th, 2000

The first Early Excellence Centre (EEC) to have a joint Ofsted and Social Services inspection has been given top marks for its work.EECs provide integrated early education, care and family support. The Hillfields Centre in Coventry provides full-day, full year, care and education for children from 0-5. Other services include a creche, a parents group, weekly doctor’s visits, support for parents with learning difficulties and other family support.

EECs were set up to demonstrate models of good practice built on seamless services to give children the best start in life and to meet the needs of working parents.

The joint inspection will become the basis for the new integrated inspection service set out in proposals before the House of Commons for a new and distinct regulatory arm of Ofsted.

Some of Hillfield’s strengths highlighted by the inspection report include: effective delivery of integrated care, education and support, good support for children with special needs, and strong leadership provided by the management team.

Copies of the inspection report are at www.ofsted.gov.uk

A further three similar inspections of early excellence centres are planned for later this year.