Are you ready for Ofsted?
An Ofsted inspection can be daunting and place a big strain on the setting. However it is important to make sure you have everything prepared and in order ready for Ofsted’s arrival. Ofsted will focus on four main areas during an inspection;
- Effectiveness of Leadership and Management
- Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment
- Personal development, Behaviour and Welfare
- Outcomes for Children and other learners
These areas will be graded Outstanding, Good, Requires improvement or Inadequate. For each area it is vital you have the correct, up to date documentation available for Ofsted to see and all practitioners are aware of all policies and procedures within the setting. Changes to Ofsted guidelines now allow notice to be given one day before the inspection. This gives providers some time to ensure everything is ready and the staff team is well prepared; however no notice is required if Ofsted are to investigate a complaint made so it is vital that the setting is always well prepared for an unannounced visit. The Common Inspection Handbook outlines the inspection process and offers a list of things to consider in order to meet the requirements.
There are many different types of documentation that you will need available for an Ofsted inspection. This will include staff details, DBS numbers and qualifications, in the form of a single central record. This must be up to date and include all staff working within the setting. Ofsted will also require a list of children on roll for that particular day, including details of those who are under social services or have additional needs. The inspector may also want to look at the policies and procedures used within the setting, complaint logs and accident and medicine forms. Documents such as Ofsted registration certificates and insurance policies should be displayed in a common area allowing all parents, staff and visitors to have access to the details on each. Many settings have this information available electronically; however it is a good idea to have a paper copy to hand too.
Ofsted will want to speak to the practitioners during the inspection, as well as the manager. It is important the staff are aware of Ofsted requirements prior to the inspection to help them feel confident interacting with the inspector. Part of the inspection process will include carrying out peer to peer observations; this gives Ofsted the opportunity to assess the quality of the setting’s monitoring and evaluation of staff practice. This is usually done by a manager observing a practitioner, in order to check the provider’s view of staff interactions with children. This is important in showing Ofsted how the setting continuously reflects on their practice to provide the best outcomes for children. Staff interaction with the children are an important part of the Ofsted inspection, staff should be deployed within the room well, interacting fully with the children and offering a range of activities.
Ofsted will take into account the environment when inspecting a setting. This will involve looking to see if there are clear areas of learning, adequate space for the number of children attending, age and stage appropriate activities and resources and that all areas are safe to use. The maintenance of the setting should be in a good state, with no dangers or hazards to children, staff, parents or visitors. The inspector will also want to see that particular areas such as medicine storage, toilets and changing areas are promoting a high standard of safeguarding. It is a good idea to complete a ‘learning walk‘ regularly throughout the setting to ensure all areas are meeting Ofsted requirement and highlighting areas for improvement.
The safeguarding of the children should be at the highest standard. It is important that the setting has a clear safeguarding procedure in place to fully protect the welfare of all children. A safeguarding board flowchart with the relevant contact numbers, contact details of the Designated Safeguarding Lead and access to green concern forms should be readily available for parents, staff and visitors. Ofsted will look into the provision for children in regards to safeguarding and will be looking to ensure the setting has covered themselves. A mobile phone and/or camera policy should be in place to protect children and toilets and changing areas should be regularly monitored and accessible at all times. The setting should also implement a ‘whistleblowing’ policy, to ensure all staff are aware of one another and feel able to report any concerns with regards to the safety of children.