OFSTED Inspections: The Latest Guidance and Myth-busting
“Inspectors will assess any provider’s curriculum favourably when leaders have built or adopted a curriculum with appropriate coverage, content, structure and sequencing and implemented it effectively.” Early years inspection handbook for Ofsted-registered provision for September 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
OFSTED have just released a new ‘Early Years Inspection Handbook’ for all registered providers to access. It comprehensively outlines adaptations that have been made to tie in with changes to the EYFS and how inspections have changed due to Covid19. There is also an additional section regarding common myths around OFSTED inspections, clearing up misconceptions that many practitioners and managers may have previously had.
Here is everything settings need to know about these OFSTED myths:
What OFSTED WILL do:
Inspect Every 6 Years
Registered Early Years providers will normally be inspected at least once every 6 years. Newly registered providers are prioritised, as well as any settings requiring improvement or displaying concerning practice.
Look for Evidence
Judgements are made using a wide variety of evidence. These can take the format of discussions (with leaders, staff and children), going on a “joint learning walk”, observe the children and staff, as well as speaking to parents. These activities are a means for inspectors to find out “what it is like for a child at that setting”.
Consider disadvantaged children
While evaluating how practitioners effectively teach the curriculum, they will also consider how the most disadvantaged children are impacted. This includes children with SEND and children who receive Early Years Pupil Premium funding (EYPP). They will judge the quality of support for children with SEND as well as how early years pupil premium (EYPP) funding might affect the children’s development.
Inspect the quality of care, teaching and learning by:
- observing the children at play.
- talking to the children and practitioners about the activities provided.
- talking to parents to gain their views on the quality of care and education provided.
- observing the interactions between practitioners and children.
- gauging children’s levels of understanding and their engagement in learning.
- talking to practitioners about their assessment of what children know and can do, and how they are building on it.
- observing care routines and how they are used to support children’s personal development, including the setting’s approach to toilet training.
- evaluating the practitioners’ knowledge of the EYFS curriculum.
(The above listed information is directly sourced from Early years inspection handbook for Ofsted-registered provision for September 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Talk to Practitioners
They need to understand practitioners’ levels of knowledge for their children. Discussions are held with each child’s key person to see how they determine what to teach and how to teach it. Practitioners should confidently display ample knowledge about their key children; where their development is in each area, their interests and any areas for support. They will want to see that children are developing appropriately in all areas of learning and that they are being adequately prepared for school.
What OFSTED will NOT do:
Need to see mountains of paperwork
Additional paperwork for the sake of OFSTED is unnecessary. Settings should follow the recommendations put forward by Government guidance to better understand what is expected of them. The new EYFS framework acknowledges the goal of reducing paperwork in settings - this refers to assessments which should not require prolonged time away from interacting with children, nor require excessive paperwork. Instead, practitioners should now apply their knowledge of how children are developing by explaining their insights and are not required to prove this through collection of physical evidence.
Want to see ‘By the Book’ practices in Place
They will not expect to see a particular method of planning, teaching or assessments being done. Settings may determine the best practices to use and managers must be able to justify why these methods are used and how they impact and benefit the children. Practitioners are expected to display the ability to make their own professional judgements about how to assist with children’s development. Rather than strictly sticking to handbook guidance, adaptability and initiative should be present.
- Expect an inspection at least once every 6 years.
- Ensure staff are adequately trained and understand the EYFS.
- Make sure staff are confident in explaining their knowledge and best practices.
- Planning does not need to be in any particular format.
- Check that children with SEND and EYPP are fully supported.
- Inform parents that OFSTED may wish to speak with them.
- Excessive paperwork is not necessary - verbally communicating methods and physical observations with inspectors is more important.
- Do not create or prepare additional paperwork for OFSTED.
- Display initiative and adaptability in regard to children’s development.
- Make sure methods and practices can be justified.
- Don’t change any practices for the sake of an OFSTED inspections - settings should provide an honest and genuine insight into their setting, with no particular activities being created or false interactions given.
For full details on updated information regarding OFSTED inspections go to: Early years inspection handbook for Ofsted-registered provision for September 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)