Herts for Learning's Early Years consultants are frequently asked what to do when you get the Ofsted call to notify you that an inspection will take place the next day. Half a day’s notice is not a long time, but enough time to panic if you are not fully prepared. Notice of inspection is a relatively new thing and something we need to get used to. Being forward thinking and having a plan of action can provide some comfort that you will be prepared and confident to manage the inspection. We need to be able to use this given time to its full advantage.
Five things to following the notification call:
- Consider the support that staff need. Which of your staff have not experienced an inspection before and may be scared of the unknown. You may wish to schedule a brief meeting prior to the inspection to reassure all staff and share any key messages. Herts for Learning early years team provide a training session to help prepare staff for the inspection process. https://booking.hertsforlearning.co.uk
- Make sure you know what you want to show case to the inspector. Know the schedule for the day and decide when will be a good time to undertake a joint observation with the inspector. Reflect upon whether there been any recent projects that have had a positive impact on chidlren’s outcomes? Are there any displays to support recent activities or any identified learning focii. Consider how you are able to demonstrate and provide evidence of self-evaluation and how your development/action plan is making a positive difference in your setting.
- Don’t forget it is a statutory requirement that you inform parents that the inspection will be taking place. You may wish to remind parents that the inpspector might want to talk to them about their experiences at the nursery.
- The required paperwork that Ofsted will want to see is listed on page 10 of the Ofsted Early Years Inspection Handbook, including evidence of DBS checks, staff qualification certificates and first aid. Try not to over load an inspector with paperwork. If you have any additional paperwork such as, evidence of projects or initiates that you may wish to share, notify the inspector of these and ensure they are easily accessible to them as part of the inspection. Remember, if you are a committee run pre-school, you must also have evidence of DBS checks for all members.
- Carry out a tour of the setting to see if anything is out of place, needs tidying or cleaning. Remember to have your safeguarding ‘hat’ on. Ensure your arrivals and departures procedures are in place and understood by all staff. How are visitors ( including Ofsted) greeted, signed in and told of the settings policies and procedures for example regarding the use of mobile phones.
You should also refer to the Early Years Inspection Handbook that outlines the inspection activities before, during and after the event. It also gives details of the grade descriptors that inspectors will refer to in making the judgements on the quality of the provision.
In preparation for your next Ofsted visit, Herts for Learning offer a range of consultancy support and training opportunities:
Contact your district Early Years consultant if you would like to discuss any particular support
or telephone the Early Years team tel: 01438845111