We are delighted to publish this Guest Blog from EYFS Trainer and Consultant, Alison Featherbe, on her experience and thoughts of the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework 2019 Launch Event, held in London earlier today
I was fortunate to attend this meeting today in my capacity as Chair of Trustees and as an Independent Early Years Consultant and Trainer.
Lots of information has been shared today for changes to the NEW Education Inspection Framework (EIF). Make sure you refer to the Ofsted website where you will find a Press release with all the information – just click on the links.
The consultation on the EIF is open now and we have until the 4th April to respond.
It is clear that Ofsted have spent a great deal of time researching, listening and consulting, which is good. It is not just Early Years where there will be changes but schools and colleges too. Never before has Ofsted sought to engage with all the different remits through consulting and reviewing their new documentation, this of course is very much appreciated.
So we must respond! Childminders, small providers and large groups, you do have a voice and the sector needs you!
The following are my own personal thoughts and I’ll leave you to interpret the information for yourself.
Ofsted are clear that the curriculum will be at the heart of the new framework, with a greater emphasis on the holistic quality of education and care of children that you provide. No mention of babies in any of the slides or discussions, apart from a reference to 0-5 years.
A big and welcome change that’s coming is the aim to reduce workload!
Whilst we know that accountability is important, we must recognise when this diverts senior teams and individuals from interacting with children, coaching staff and listening to parents. We all agree that for too long children have come second to an unnecessary workload. Paper based work and an industry that has arisen to save on paperwork – online journals, have, in fact, all taken staff teams away from babies and children. A reduced focus on internal progression and data is very welcomed.
My own concern for a long time has been Early Years practitioners being ‘deskilled’ in reflecting on observations, identifying interests and deciding on next steps. We need to get accountability back into the room and not on a spreadsheet.
Bring back the here and now, scaffold learning through teachable moments and build on your skills in sustained shared thinking and interacting with children.
The evidence that Ofsted will see is in the wellbeing and involvement of the children, in their conversations with peers and adults and in their ability to learn and develop using the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning.
Gathering data and assessment through far too many summative observations will take time to ‘unlearn’, providers need to be confident in their practitioners and their ability to deepen learning in all areas of the curriculum.
Maybe we should shift the focus on observing children to observing staff, for it is them that are key to ensuring they make a difference to children’s experiences and ultimately outcomes?
It is good to see that the curriculum and how it is taught will be central to the care and education of children.
The Ofsted definition of teaching will stay, along with an overall effectiveness judgment, the 4 point grading system (outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate) and of course inspection will stay in line with the principles and statutory requirements of the EYFS. With a move away from ‘outcomes’ and a move towards the ‘intent’, ‘implementation’ and ‘impact’ through a new ‘quality of education’ judgment.
Leadership and Management is of course key to any setting. Developing an ethos, focusing on staff development, considering staff workloads and wellbeing and continuing the emphasis on safeguarding all given priority.
The Pre School Learning Alliance’s report ‘Minds Matter’ clearly given more than a thought, if you haven’t read this I certainly suggest you do. A focus on the ‘integrity’ of ensuring children with SEND have access to their full entitlement was discussed.
Personally I think there are many factors to consider here … local information and support, knowledge and experience and staffing are contentious issues. The balance and the difference between safeguarding children and providing opportunities for children to experience and manage risk and challenge was welcomed.
No written plans for the curriculum are required and there is no Ofsted curriculum.
Amanda Spielman is clear in her speech today that no consultant should be paid a penny to help you, we have been named and shamed as ‘Mystic Meg’s’ (maybe Mystic Mikes are ok?) and purveyors of ‘snake oil’ in a recent Ofsted blog.
It was said today that actually it is up to providers if they wish to invest in outside support.
The providers that I come across appreciate my knowledge and experience and I am sure that EY Consultants do have a place in developing teams and practice through continued professional development.
Look out for ‘Curriculum Roadshows’ across the country. I do think that in putting out lots of new information and seeking constructive feedback will help the sector. Whether it will provide ‘certainty, reassurance and transparency’ only time will tell.
Please see below the current schedule of the EIF Launches and also the link to book your place
BA (HONS) Professional Studies in Learning Development / Safeguarding Trainer – NSPCC Trained / SSTEW (Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Wellbeing) Trainer
Alison has a wealth of experience in the Early Years sector. As a Nanny, Childminder, Special School Teaching Assistant, Nursery Practitioner, Pre-School SEN Advisor, Ofsted inspector training, Early Years Professional, EYP leader, Early Years Development Officer and a Governor.
Alison is currently working as an associate trainer for a safeguarding charity, mentoring Early Years Initial Teacher Training students and focuses the rest of her time on the development of Orange Caterpillar. Alison is also Chair and ‘nominated person’ on a board of Trustees for a Nursery.
She is committed to enthusing and inspiring the Early Years workforce to provide a quality learning environment for babies and children.
Alison enjoys training, supporting settings to overcome challenges (no matter how big or small!) Alison is able to quickly identify ways forward and uses the skills already in place to do this.