Self-evaluation and development planning

    Published: 28 April 2021

    Research shows that high quality experiences have a significant impact on a child’s development and as they move on through school and into adulthood (EPPSE).

    Regular reviewing of practice enables managers to be confident that they are offering a high quality provision. Having a development plan in place allows the whole team to be involved in the journey and it encourages a whole setting ethos of reflective professional practice. As a result, the setting will get to know themselves and their children well, will be clear on what actions need to be put into place and why, will know who is responsible for each action, and finally, will establish when these need to be completed.

    Regular reviews of progress as a team will ensure your setting is continually adapting and improving to ensure you are offering the best provision for the children in your care.


    Teacher with class


    Below are ten top tips for embedding an effective self-evaluation system for practice in your setting:

    The current children in the cohort are at the heart of the provision

    Knowing your current cohort and adapting your provision to meet their uniqueness will ensure that you offer the best for every child. 

    Use your setting’s visions and values

    These should describe the purpose of your organisation alongside its beliefs, values and vision for the future. It may also include your pedagogy. When you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, these can be a useful reminder of reasons for doing things and should underpin your reflections and areas for development.  

    Have high expectations

    Having high expectations will drive your provision forward, improve outcomes and establish a culture of growth mindset where anything is possible for all.

    Staff continual professional development

    Keeping up to date with different thoughts and extending our knowledge in early years will provide you with inspiration and ideas of how you can develop your provision. 

    Using what you know

    As part of your leadership and management tasks, you will be observing practice, completing supervisions and appraisals and developing knowledge of your cohort. All this information is key to identifying areas for improvement.

    Seeking others’ views from stakeholders

    Evaluating the children’s experience of attending your setting allows you to gain a valuable insight into the quality and effectiveness of your practice. The voice of parents, children, staff and external agency visitors can all help add a critical eye on the provision.

    Seeking support or using information from external agencies

    Ofsted inspection feedback and reports, Inclusion Development Officer’s advice, Herts for Learning Early Years Consultants or other early years expert visits and advice are invaluable for informing your development plan.

    Involving the team

    Once you have gathered all your evidence, sharing this with the team will make them feel involved in decision-making and help in managing the changes identified. We all know that some people can struggle with change, so being clear on reasons why and involving them along the journey will help in alleviating any fears.

    Regularly reviewing your plan

    Having regular opportunities to review your plans will ensure that it remains at the forefront of your practice. Using supervisions and having a regular agenda item to review at your team meetings will ensure actions are not forgotten, and will help to remind everyone of their roles and responsibilities.

    Celebrate your achievements

    Take time in your meetings and throughout the year to celebrate positive feedback and impactful changes that each and everyone makes on the children in your setting. 

    If you would like individual support in putting together a development plan, a package of support can be tailored to meet your setting’s needs.

    Find out more information with the Early Years PVI services.

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