How to achieve that Ofsted outstanding grade during an Ofsted inspection
Since the introduction of the Common Inspection Framework, it is becoming increasing difficult to achieve the Ofsted outstanding grade during an Ofsted inspection. To achieve the outstanding grade, it is down to settings to ensure they are meeting the EYFS requirements and can demonstrate they are working above and beyond of what is expected. When inspecting the childcare provision, it is imperative that settings can demonstrate to Ofsted that children are making significant progress in their learning.
Having a dedicated and passionate childcare team can contribute to getting an outstanding grade. For managers, it is their responsibility to work closely with the team to ensure standards are kept high. It can often be the case that practitioners are left to work with the children while managers are getting on with their tasks, however for a childcare setting to be outstanding managers need to find the time to be directly in the nursery, monitoring practice, talking to practitioners and showing their support. Being a nursery manager is a difficult job, juggling many tasks, however finding the balance will contribute to a better grade.
At the centre of an outstanding setting are the children and the families. It is practitioners/key person responsibility to develop close bonds and develop strong relationships with both parents and children. Putting children into childcare can be very daunting for parent’s as they are leaving their child with a stranger, however establishing that trust can make all the difference. On inspection, Ofsted will make reference to the settings partnership with parents. Involving parents in their child’s learning is important, sharing regular discussions about what the child is doing at home can help develop a strong partnership with parents. Evidencing your partnership with parents is important, this can often be forgotten, don’t forget to use your website to do this. Before the Ofsted inspection has even taken place, the Ofsted inspector will take a look at your website if you have one, information from this will be used to help the inspector make their judgment, therefore, ensure you keep this regularly updated with ‘Ofsted evidence’.
Part of the Ofsted inspection will involve observing practice
As a high proportion of an Ofsted inspection is observing practice, it is highly important that the quality of teaching and learning is impeccable. The learning environment should be stimulating with an array of opportunities that challenge children abilities. Regular monitoring and evaluating of the provision and practitioners practice is an excellent way to show Ofsted that you are continuously looking at ways to improve the quality of care and education. There are many ways to monitor both the provisions and practice such as carrying out peer observations, conducting learning walks, regular supervisions with practitioners. All of this will contribute to identifying the quality that is being offered.
Ofsted will be observing practitioners interaction with children
Ofsted will be looking very carefully at the interaction with children and whether practitioners are using their skillful knowledge to enhance opportunities further. Simple things like using open-ended questions can help children develop ideas further, building on what they already know. Knowing when to intervene in children’s play is important as sometimes jumping in to quick can cause more harm.
High on Ofsted’s priority list is Safeguarding children
Children’s welfare if of top priority for Ofsted and this will be looked into during an inspection. Ensure all your staff members have received some form of safeguarding training and are aware of the signs and system of child abuse. It is good practice to regular review safeguarding, why not using safeguarding quizzes during staff meetings or supervisions and appraisals. During an Ofsted inspection practitioners will be asked various questions such as who would you report a concern too, tell me the signs and symptoms of child abuse, etc. Therefore, managers need to ensure that the team especially new employees are fully confident in knowing what is asked of them.
Documentation to show during an Ofsted inspection
Many settings often get downgraded due to documentation not being to a high standard. Keeping on top of documentation can be tough however it is fundamental that both practitioners and managers find ways to ensure this is done. Carrying out regular audits on documentation can help identify areas of weakness, giving managers an indication of what needs catching up on. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks, this can often mean that more gets achieved rather than it sitting in the pile waiting to be done the following day. Ofsted will inform the manager of what documentation they would like to see. However, don’t just think this is all they will be want to see be prepared for them to request further documentation.
It is not just office documents that Ofsted looks at, children’s assessments records are also looked through. Ofsted is very keen to see children’s starting points and the level of progress they have made. The key person will be asked questions about the children’s progress. Therefore, it is highly important that practitioners get to know their key children extremely well. Again all children’s assessment records should be up to date to a certain point, showing a range of observations, tracking details, summaries of children’s development. Included in children’s assessment records should be information shared from parents, this shows that home and nursery are working together to help meet the needs of the child and to achieve their outcomes.
If you haven’t already, read the early years inspection handbook as it states the types of documentation requested by Ofsted on the day of inspection. It also gives a further information on how Ofsted will carry out an inspection.