Demonstrating your early years setting’s commitment to continually improving standards of high quality education and care for young children.

Tribal's Quality Mark Early Years programme takes account of recent studies in early childhood education and a global understanding of best practice for our youngest children.  
The award recognises improving standards in the provision of communication and language, and mathematics. It provides evidence of high-quality education and care, and can support inspection preparation.

Why early years settings choose Quality Mark to continuously improve the quality of their provision for children

Accreditation and validation

A widely recognised accreditation covering UK maintained and independent sectors and global education markets.

Inspection preparation

Evidence your setting's quality improvement, ready for inspection.

Celebrate excellence

Celebrate your setting’s exceptional achievement in English and mathematics provision and recognise the commitment of your staff.

A whole-school framework

Available across all phases to help embed a consistent approach to quality improvement across the whole school.

External assessment and challenge

Get an external evaluation of the quality of practice and provision in your setting and challenge approaches to continuous improvement.

Align with national agendas and international views of best practice

Benefit from the framework founded on educational research and internationally shared views of effective teaching and learning.

Completing the Quality Mark


Quality Mark activity can stand alone or complement and integrate with other local and/or national initiatives to improve young children’s achievements. You control the timescale for the external assessment of the award; the length of time taken to achieve accreditation will vary according to your setting’s starting point and your ability to demonstrate progress and sustained good practice. All practitioners, and others involved with the setting should be involved in the journey. Involvement in the process contributes to the development of leadership and management skills such as communication, action planning, monitoring and evaluating, in a practical context and with a tangible outcome.

Proprietors, management committees and governing bodies (or their equivalent) will find that work undertaken offers a meaningful context in which to monitor and evaluate the quality of provision, practice and outcomes. It will also demonstrate how they are actively carrying out their role to drive continuous improvement.


The 10 Quality Mark elements for early years settings

Your early years setting will achieve the award when you demonstrate that the criteria for all 10 elements are met and can provide evidence that participation in the award has had a positive impact on your provision and practice. If your setting is in an inspection category of improvement, you will follow an improvement pathway prior to gaining the award.

1. A whole setting strategy to improve children’s abilities and achievements
2. An analysis of the assessment of young children’s abilities and achievements
3. Setting appropriately high expectations for young children’s development
4. Planning ‘next steps’ in learning for young children’s development
5. Regular review of progress made by all children
6. A commitment to improving the skills of all practitioners
7. A balanced use of child-initiated and adult-guided play-based activities
8. The use of appropriate environments and resources
9. Partnership working between families, carers, practitioners and professionals in supporting young children’s learning and development
10. An effective procedure for monitoring planning and assessing improvement in practice and provision



Stannington First School

"I feel that the benefits are many, the greatest being another pair of eyes, not working in the school, who can challenge, question and offer advice as to how we can improve further." 

Helen Stokoe, Headteacher

Lea Nursery School

Discussion with our Assessor gave me support to move towards a more child-centred play-based approach to the teaching of literacy and numeracy. It has affirmed the need for us to continue to focus on shared sustained thinking between adults and children. This will support me in discussions with the Governing Body and parents who sometimes favour a more formal approach.

– Nikki Elsmore-Cary, Headteacher

Oakdene Primary and Infant School

"It’s very much current. The Quality Mark agenda reflects national policy and absolutely dovetails with pedagogy but also has the flexibility other accreditations or processes are unable to offer."

– Liz Bramley, Executive Head Teacher

St Cecilia's Catholic Infant and nursery School

The Quality Mark has helped us focus on specific points for further development eg. Communication with parents. It has also 'upskilled' all staff in dyslexia-friendly practices. 

– Shelagh Macgregor, Deputy Head Teacher

Have a query or wish to start your Quality Mark journey?