The steering group for Yorkshire & Humber region
David Ball – Community matters (Yorkshire)
Ken McArthur – Polly Anna’s Nursery, York
Cath Dunne – Play@Churwell

Met with the Regional Director Nick Hudson, at Ofsted Offices in York on 28th January 2014. Unfortunately due to personal and staff illness Sue Knowles and Claire Brummer were unable to attend. The meeting was very constructive. NH agreed to holding them once a term and with a larger group of delegates to represent the different sectors in early years. We have agreed to meet in June 2014 at a date to be fixed. It is our intention therefore to hold a further open meeting probably at the end of May 2014, this will give the steering group time to meet and agree the agenda items before meeting with NH.

We took 5 priorities to discuss with NH and h8is responses are detailed below.

  1. “One size fits all” does not work in the early years sector.NH felt sure that inspectors do recognise the differences between providers in the PVI sector. He accepts the need for consistency in inspections, and is of the opinion that sampling of reports does uncover inconsistencies. NH claims that Ofsted do work hard to reduce inconsistencies in inspections.
  2. Scheduling Inspections.NH explained the rational surrounding the question of notice of inspections to different types of settings. Essentially there should be no difference, and the move by Ofsted is to shorten the notice period to all settings. But he does agree that all settings/schools/childminders should be operating on a level playing field. NH will clarify the notice periods for all. On the subject of allowing settings to inform Ofsted that the manager was on annual leave he agreed to consider the matter and would respond in due course.After a discussion around triggered inspections NH will issue there guidelines to triggered inspections to clarify their position. But did say that the number of triggered inspections had fallen to a much lower level in the past months and gave the impression that the peak reached in early 2013 would not be repeated.
  3. Appeals procedure.
  4. Flawed InspectionsWe discussed the question of disputed inspections and there publication. Again NH felt there was a need to clarify the time scales and the process whereby settings could raise objections and request that publication of the report be deferred pending a review. However he was very concerned there must be safeguards against rogue settings deferring publication indefinitely.
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