Course length: 2 hours
Available from: November 2016
I delivered my first ‘Preparing for inspection’ training tonight to a room full of Stockport childminders. It’s a new training course and I was keen to cover as much as possible… the course is suitable for all early years providers including childminders, nurseries and pre-schools.
To write the training I have read hundreds of Ofsted inspection reports for childminders and nurseries. I wanted to find a balance in the training between ‘telling it like it is’ – and being positive because Ofsted inspections really have improved recently – and encouraging everyone to ‘up their game’ when they are preparing for that inevitable knock on the door from an inspector.
The thing is, when you think about it, Ofsted only actually come out to see most of us once in each inspection cycle unless something happens to prompt a return visit. If you worked anywhere else you would be continuously assessed and graded and checked and you would feel much more under the spotlight – yet for some reason I can’t fathom a lot of childminders work themselves up into such a frenzy about their inspections!
Ofsted are not the enemy – they have a job to do like everyone else. They are very welcome here – we have had some brilliant inspectors over the years who have really ‘got’ what we are trying to do. Yes inspectors get it wrong sometimes – and these, sadly, tend to be the stories we hear about because providers come onto social media to protest at their lost grades and unfair inspection actions. Yet Ofsted figures show that only 3% of inspections end up with complaints… that’s pretty good when you think about the amount of providers out here and the amount of inspections Ofsted (along with Prospect and Tribal) carry out every week across the country.
So what are my top tips for preparing for Ofsted inspection? Stay calm … make sure your paperwork is up-to-date – there is much less focus on paperwork but if it’s wrong and your inspector spots it s/he will raise questions … lead the inspection, taking the inspector round the house and garden and pointing things out that you want them to see … showcase your amazing relationships with parents and children … know every child really well and talk confidently about what they are learning at the moment and how you are supporting them … know your safeguarding procedures including Prevent and the importance of British values … did I mention staying calm?
Self-evaluation (whether you do the Ofsted SEF or not) is very important – as is action planning for the future and planning your continuous professional development. Training courses are a big part of this – not just the statutory courses like first aid and safeguarding, but attending training such as ‘Learning Journeys’, ‘Writing your SEF’ and ‘The Common Inspection Framework’ as well. It’s important to keep an eye on changes and training can help you connect with local childminders, working together to share ideas and good practice.
To anyone due an inspection in this cycle … good luck!
To anyone who has had their inspection since the Common Inspection Framework was introduced in September 2015, please let me know your stories so I can add them to my training … real life stories bring the training evenings alive.
‘Preparing for Inspection’ training is available NOW. I will deliver it to groups of up to 20 providers including childminders, nurseries or pre-schools in a hall or room of their choice - or to smaller groups (minimum 6 providers) at someone’s house.
Please email me for more details. Thank you.