#OfstedBigConversation

REGIONAL GROUPS

The London conversation will take place at 9.30 on Friday the 11th April at LEYF Head Office (121 Marsham St, SW1P 4LX).  The aim of the ‘Conversation’ is to identify how Ofsted inspection and regulation helps the sector achieve our shared goal of delivering outstanding early years education and childcare for all children and families.

As with our initial meeting this is an open meeting on a first come first served basis. However to make sure we get a fair representation please can those of you wanting to come:

  • Have a London focus
  • Apply for one place only per organisation
  • Send someone who can make decisions

It would be great to welcome colleagues from nurseries, pre-schools, childminder groups, local authorities, membership groups and policy makers.

I will Chair the meeting with my co-chair Catriona Nason, known to many of you for setting up and managing the OBC website.

To book a place please click through to this link. We are putting a limit on numbers as there is limited capacity so do hurry

The agenda reflects our initial concerns and the recent feedback from our colleagues in the South West and the North who have already met with their Regional Directors.  It will be strategic in tone and focused on the broader issues rather than addressing individual complaints.

In order to prepare and to make sure we have facts to support our requests and challenges, it is important to read some of the more up to date early years announcements from Ofsted.

The Agenda shaped as an issue and questions.

  1. Issue: Complaint initiated inspections (vexatious and /or malicious) are absorbing Ofsted resources and impacting on the inspection cycle.
    Question: How does Ofsted see its role in limiting the emergence of the public being able to make malicious or vexation complaints without robust evidence?
  2. Issue: Ofsted role with regards to improvement in the Early Years sector
    Question: Is it driven by statements or letters from their leader or a more coherent and researched approach?  How does Ofsted see the role of the sector in supporting the concept of improvement?
  3. Issue : Length of time for reports
    Question: Why is it taking up to 12 weeks to issue a report?
  4. Issue: Purchased Inspections
    Question: When can we buy an inspection?
  5. Issue:  Fair Reporting of Inspections
    Question: Why are Inspections published during an appeal period?
    Question: Why are complaints that are not upheld not deleted ?
  6. Issue: Nominated Person
    Question: Can we have more than a single nominated person?
  7. Issue: Contractors
    Question: How can we contribute to the commissioning process of future Ofsted contractors?

ofsted-300x256Last week, Sir Michael Wilshaw wrote to the early years inspectors urging them to ‘focus on evaluating whether children are being adequately prepared for the start of their statutory schooling’ and lists factors that he feels should be taken into account when considering a setting’s rating.

Wilshaw writes:
‘Inspectors should report on what makes teaching and assessment effective rather than on its style. I expect inspectors to apply common sense when observing how well children learn and how effectively adults teach children to develop skills, knowledge and understanding. I want to know how well settings help children to catch up when they enter with skills that are lower than those typical for their age. I expect reports to be clear about the extent to which a provider prepares children for school.’

Now in addition to these issues there are some bigger more philosophical shifts in Ofsted’s approach that will have implications for the sector. I added some suggested questions just to get you in the mood

  1. Question:  What does Ofsted think makes teaching and assessment effective?
  2. Question: What does Ofsted mean by teaching children and not focusing just on supervision and care?
  3. Question: What does Ofsted accept as effective means of extending children’s vocabulary? What will they judge is acceptable evidence?
  4. Question : What will Ofsted inspectors do to apply common sense when observing how well children learn and how effectively adults teach children to develop skills, knowledge and understanding?
  5. Question: How will Ofsted get consistency among inspectors to such broad statements and will there by a discussion with sector as to what this means in reality?
  6. Question:  Is Ofsted about to discount the EYFS?

Issue: London has seen a rise in the quality of its schools again this year and inspection outcomes overall were the best in the country in 2012/13. In recent years, the proportion of good or outstanding schools has increased dramatically. More than eight in every 10 children and young people benefit from education in a good or outstanding school in London. However, the picture for students post-16 is not nearly so healthy. Despite improvements this year, more than a third of the 45 colleges in the capital are less than good. and not up to scratch.

Question: How will the Ofsted’s improvement agenda address this? This is an issue for us recruiting nursery staff as from September 2014 they need an A to C to as entry level for a Level 3 qualification.

Issue:  Ofsted propose to introduce a separate graded judgement about the overall effectiveness of Nursery and Reception classes in the inspection framework for maintained schools and academies. We would also require inspectors to write a discrete paragraph evaluating this provision. We propose developing a separate set of brief evaluation criteria, which will be published in the School inspection handbook, to support inspectors reaching a judgement on this stage and to help schools’ self-evaluation. These criteria would encompass:

  • achievement
  • the quality of the teaching
  • behaviour and safety
  • leadership and management.

Inspectors would take account of this separate judgement when making their judgement on the overall effectiveness of the school.

OfstedBigConversation_Regional_Groups01

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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