Why does an Ofsted inspection take place?
Ofsted will inspect nurseries to ensure the set standards are being met. Inspections should be seen as a positive way to promote good practice. Nurseries will be inspected during every cycle unless a complaint has risen.
The inspection takes place on the premises of the setting and the inspector will want see the following areas of the nursery.
- Rooms that children use eg base rooms
- Food preparation areas
- Toilets and bathrooms
- If children have separate sleep areas
- Outside play areas and gardens
It is nurseries responsibility to ensure these areas are kept clean, safe and functional for children to use. It is down to the nursery manager to devise a system whereby these areas are checked regularly.
Due an Ofsted inspection
At the moment Ofsted will give no notice of an inspection, however this is changing from September 2015 whereby settings will be given a days notice the same as schools. The inspector is likely to turn up as the parents are arriving first thing in the morning. For good practice ensure whoever is opening the door asks to see the inspectors ID and asks them to sign the visitors log/book
When the inspectors arrive they will want to speak to the manager, staff and parents. They will also want to observe practice and look through certain documentation. A joint observation with the inspector and manager will also be carried out at some point during the day, this is an opportunity to demonstrate the managers leadership and management skills.
How can nurseries prepare for an inspection?
The best way to prepare for an Ofsted inspection is to always be prepared, it is the managers job to ensure that practitioners are made aware that an inspection can happen at any time. Parents must be made aware of an inspection taking place, signs are displayed to inform parents an inspection is taking place. Some people can get very nervous during an inspection, however the day needs to be treated as a normal day. Staff must be prepared to speak and answer any questions the inspector may ask eg questions about children’s development or safeguarding questions.
- Don’t panic, be confident and share your knowledge.
- Treat the inspection as a positive as this will give a clear message to your nervous staff.
- Make the inspector feel welcome, get them to sign in and show them where facilities are if they need them- first impressions count.
- Continue the day as you normally would
- Have paperwork available and organised for inspector to view
- Demonstrate an all inclusive nursery through displays, resources etc
- Keeps all children’s records up to date
- Have regular conversations with parents ensuring they are kept up to date with their child’s development
- Encourage staff to look at ways to further their qualifications
- Ensure policies and procedures are up to date with the relevant legislation changes.
- Have regular conversations and meetings with staff about Ofsted and maybe highlight any areas that staff need additional help with.
- Keep all areas of the nursery clean,tidy, organised and with inviting displays.
- Ensure equipment is regularly checked for damages
- Keep staff happy and motivated
During an Ofsted inspection
An Ofsted inspectors job is to observe practice and see how the nursery runs, it also makes judgements as to whether the nursery is achieving standards in certain areas.
The inspectors will
- Meet with the nursery manager/Owner
- Spend time talking to staff
- Talk to parents
- Observe practitioners practice
- Carry out a joint observation with the manager
- Check office documentation
- Look through children’s development folders and ask questions
- Look at health and safety standards and procedures
Ways to ensure high standards are being met
One of the ways to ensure your nursery is run to the highest possible standards is to regularly self assess, to help nurseries with this Ofsted have provided a self assessments document on its website Early Years Self-Evaluation Form. It is up to the nursery as to how often they keep this updated, however it is best practice to keep it regularly updated. Once the form is submitted Ofsted will be able to view the material and will be able to use this information in conjunction with their inspection.
After an Ofsted inspection
After the inspection has finished the inspector will meet with the manager to give their grading. The report will follow in the post.