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Things that Settings should Consider BEFORE an Ofsted Inspection

In line with the updated EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) Statutory Framework, Ofsted has also updated some details on how they will carry out their inspections. With these changes in mind, below is a useful summary of features that Early Years providers should consider before an Ofsted inspection is carried out in their setting.

Remember that

Ofsted will:

1. “when making judgements, take a range of evidence into account, including: discussions with leaders, staff and children; the joint learning walk; observations; speaking to parents and so on

2. judge fairly providers that take different approaches to meeting the requirements of the EYFS; 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.”

Direct quotes from Early years inspection handbook for Ofsted-GOV.UK

What does that mean?

1. There is no ONE way that Ofsted will acquire evidence. They will, for example, speak to practitioners, managers and parents, make practical observations and speak with children. Managers should ensure staff are confident to speak directly to inspectors about their practice. Asking regular questions and holding trial runs during staff meetings are suggested.

2. As long as the EYFS framework is being followed and requirements are being met, Early Years settings can implement it however they see fit. Keep in mind that it needs to be executed in an effective way, so regular evaluations of its value are advised, making suitable revisions where necessary.

To do list, Planning, Document, Clipboard, Survey, Agenda, Check mark
Photo from iStock

Remember that

Ofsted will not:

1. “create unnecessary workload for staff through its recommendations

2. advocate a particular method of planning, teaching or assessment; it is up to providers to determine their practices and it is up to leaders to justify these on their own merits rather than by referring to this handbook.”

Direct quotes from Early years inspection handbook for Ofsted-GOV.UK

What does that mean?

1. Practitioners and managers will not be required to complete any additional work or paperwork for the purpose of Ofsted’s arrival. Verbal discussions are the main way practitioners can convey their knowledge and evaluations of children and their development.

2. Ofsted are not looking for any particular one way of planning, teaching or assessment. Managers should be able to explain their processes and why they work, using initiative and creativity to produce and implement suitable methods.

Image from Blogspot

Remember that

Ofsted does not require providers to:

1. “provide EYFS curriculum planning in any specific format for inspection

2. prepare any performance and children-tracking information for Ofsted

3. do additional work or to ask children to do work specifically for the inspection.”

Direct quotes from Early years inspection handbook for Ofsted-GOV.UK

What does that mean?

1. Planning can be adapted to each setting and does not have to appear in any particular format.

2. Ofsted will not need to see any tracking of children’s performance and development. Instead, they may wish to discuss it with practitioners.

3. No extra work will need to be carried out by staff for inspections. Children should not be asked to do anything different for Ofsted, such as changing behaviours or routines. Ofsted will need to see an average day within the nursery, which should be providing consistently high-quality care.

The Phone Call

Photographer: Quino Al | Source: Unsplash

Ofsted will attempt to phone each provider around midday the working day before an inspection. However, if no contact can be made, they will proceed with the inspection on the following day without any notice. Ensure phones are always answered.

If managers are unavailable, the next most senior staff members should be delegated to answer phones and take a message. In the managers absence, deputies will need to prepare for and be available during the inspection. Some settings that have previously been judged as ‘inadequate’ can also expect inspections without prior notice.

The telephone call is the first point of contact between inspectors and settings, so positive professional relationships should be established (but not forced) during this time. This is also the perfect opportunity for managers to ask any questions or ask for clarity on any aspects before the inspection begins.

Remember:

During the phone call

During the phone call, providers have a duty to:

  • confirm their registration status and define any issues relating to the registration
  • make any necessary arrangements for the inspection, such as preparing for joint observations
  • clarify the managers involvement, or speaking with the deputy in the managers absence
  • confirm the age range of children, numbers on roll and setting opening times
  • confirm any funded places and/or if they receive any early years pupil premium funding
  • explain any additional support for children with special educational provision, including any child protection plans

After the phone call

Once the phone call has been received, providers have a duty to:

  • familiarise themselves with Ofsted’s privacy notice
  • inform parents about the upcoming inspection
  • inform staff about the upcoming inspection
  • ensure relevant documents are ready for inspectors to access

Documents

Photographer: Wesley Tingey | Source: Unsplash

Inspectors should inform providers about any relevant documentation they will need access to. This includes:

  • paediatric first-aid certificates
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) records and any other documents supporting the employment arrangements of all present staff

Make sure all records are up to date for all staff. Paediatric First Aid is valid for 3 years. DBS checks are advised to be checked every 2-3 years, using the online Update DBS Service .

Other documentations that inspectors are likely to need access to are:

  • a list of current staff and their qualifications (including Level 2 and Level 3 Qualifications, SENCO, Food Hygiene Certificates and Safeguarding Leads)
  • a register showing the date of birth of all children on roll
  • routine staffing arrangements
  • a list of children in attendance during the inspection (if not already on the register-such as viewings or settling-in sessions)
  • accident books
  • exclusion reports of children taken off roll and incidents of poor behaviour
  • all records of any issues of discrimination, including racist incidents
  • complaints log including their resolutions
  • safeguarding and child protection policies
  • fire-safety arrangements and other policies relating to health and safety
  • a list of referrals made to the local authority
  • details of all children who are in children’s services

Make sure all records and policies are up to date. Regular evaluations are advised to ensure procedures are relevant and up to date.

Duration

Photographer: Oladimeji Ajegbile | Source: Unsplash

Leaders should ensure they are available for the duration of the inspection, or at least for the majority. Scheduled should be cleared where possible. The estimated length of time an inspector will be on site is:

  • for childminders: about 3 hours
  • providers with restricted daily hours: about 4 hours
  • providers open for full days: at least 6 hours

Inspections can be carried out by multiple inspectors and may last longer than one day.