Key pointers to help early years settings achieve an outstanding grade.
There are many documents readily available to help prepare for an Ofsted inspection. The Common Inspection Framework and the Early Years Inspection Handbook are highly recommended documents to read. These documents will outline key elements of what inspectors will be looking for when they inspect the provision. The Early Years Inspection Handbook gives more detail of the types of documents the inspector will request to see.
During an inspection, the Ofsted inspector will gather his/her evidence from various sources, such as observations, conversations with children, practitioners, parents and the manager. They will also look at different documents to ensure the setting is meeting the guidelines in the statutory framework.
After the inspection has been completed the early years setting will be awarded an overall grade, however the inspector will make a judgment on the following areas;
- The effectiveness of leadership and management
- The quality of teaching, learning and assessment
- Personal development, behaviour, and welfare
- Outcomes for children and learners.
Each section will be graded the following grade;
- grade 1: outstanding
- grade 2: good
- grade 3: requires improvement
- Grade 4: inadequate.
Many people strive to get the outstanding grade, this can, however, be difficult to achieve and without the dedicated team and highly motivated management team this can often not be achieved. Some settings are just as happy to receive good as it then gives then something to work towards. When achieving the outstanding grade the hard work then begins to ensure this grade is retained on the next inspection. With the introduction of the Common Inspection Framework, it has meant settings have had to work incredibly hard to achieve their goal of been awarded outstanding.
To help you gain that outstanding grade, we have put together some help pointers.
- Be confident about what you offer the children, focus on how your activities have a positive impact on children’s outcomes, Showcase your leadership skills and be passionate in what you offer is of high value.
- Ensure appraisals and supervisions are up to date and carried out regularly; Ofsted will be looking at how these have an impact on staff’s practice.
- Demonstrate how teaching is regularly monitored to show it is highly effective, e.g., peer observations.
- Explain how the pupil premium funding has been used and the impact this has had on the children’s learning and development
- Keep your self-evaluation up to date (as much as you can)
- Demonstrate examples of how you (manager) have supported the team or individuals.
- Have examples of children’s tracking documents including their starting points to show the inspector- talk confidently about how the child has progressed and if they haven’t explain the reasons why.
- The inspector will want to see that practitioners are offering challenging activities for individual children; they will ask how children’s next steps are incorporated into the planning.
- Explain how parents are involved in their child’s learning at nursery , e.g., give examples of any parent partnerships events
- Ensure all staff is aware of the British Values, and how these are promoted in everyday practice, it is the manager’s responsibility to ensure these values are actively promoted within the environment.
- Ensure your behaviour management policy and procedures are consistent throughout the setting.
- Ensure your setting promotes equality and diversity and make sure all staff has a clear understanding of radicalisation and extremism
- Ensure all employees have attended safeguarding training and are aware of whom to report a concern too. Ensure your training records are accessible to show the inspector that all staff has attended safeguarding training.
- Evaluate your provision to determine whether the environment is stimulating with challenging activities. Ask yourself the question will the inspector be able to see the children displaying characteristics of effective learning.
- Are their opportunities for children to use their imagination and creativity?
- Do your activities teach children about their feelings as well as other people’s feeling?
- How do you evidence that children’s welfare and personal development is promoted?
- Provide the inspector with evidence that all children make significant progress. Documents to show are tracking documents, progress summaries, and children’s learning journey. Ensure these show children’s starting points.
- Demonstrate that children’s progress checks at two are carried out
- How do you evidence that the quality of teaching, learning and assessment is outstanding, what systems do you have in place to monitor this?
It is important to be confident and lead the inspector around your nursery, showing them all your achievements. Some settings have a folder containing pictures and comments from parents; this folder is then shared with the inspector. If your nursery has a website the inspector will also look closely at this and take information from it, so be mindful of this and add regular content.