Deborah Udakis

Deborah joined Ofsted in 2001 and was Her Majesty’s Inspector between 2009 and 2017.

As HMI, Deborah routinely led teams of HMI and Additional Inspectors during the inspections of schools, nursery schools, children’s centres and private nursery provision. She provided strong and effective leadership to teams of inspectors including those that specialised in social care, early years and schools. Deborah carried out the most complex investigations and complaints about early years, childcare and childminding provision. She conducted quality assurance visits and quality assured the work of Ofsted inspectors and regulatory inspectors. Deborah provided effective and robust support, advice and guidance to senior leaders, HMI from other remits, and other professionals. She provided policy input and advice to HMCI, other senior leaders and the wider organisation on early years matters, with a special focus on regional improvement.

Deborah was appointed as link HMI to 5 local authorities. Over a period of two years, she worked closely with senior colleagues in the local authorities to address the low levels of attainment at the end of the early years foundation stage.

Deborah produced and delivered high quality training programmes to HMI, Ofsted inspectors and early years providers, practitioners and school leaders. She attended meetings with Ofsted’s Regional Director and local authority leaders to discuss the authority’s performance across a range of measures. As a result of Deborah’s involvement, local authorities made positive steps to narrow the achievement gap at the end of the foundation stage.

As a qualified early years practitioner, Deborah has extensive experience in different roles and has held leadership and management posts within the sector.

Deborah led and managed children’s day care services in inner London and also led a local authority inspection team. She has a highly developed knowledge and understanding of the application of early years inspection and regulation based on an up-to-date knowledge and understanding of relevant good practice.

Deborah established her consultancy last year and provides ongoing support to her clients as an early years specialist. Deborah inspires confidence and delivers high quality results. She has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the early years foundation stage and related regulations and how these are applied. Deborah works with leaders to support improvements and to help early years settings ‘Get to Good and Beyond’, through a range of training, advice, support and practice evaluation. She work closely with established providers and leaders and those setting up their Early Years provision. She provides mentoring and coaching to support excellence in leadership. With specialist knowledge of safeguarding and the welfare and learning and development requirements, Deborah quickly identifies and provides detailed evaluations of settings key strengths and areas for improvement.

In addition to her consultancy work, Deborah works as a volunteer at the NSPCC. She helps to deliver the Speak Out Stay Safe assemblies helping children understand about different types of abuse so that they can get help if or when they need it. This includes talking about neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and bullying. The assemblies helps children to identify a trusted adult they can speak to if they are worried about themselves or a friend. They also learn about Childline, and how the service can support them. Deborah also helps to deliver the workshops to Years 5-6, where children explore the definitions of abuse in greater depth. Deborah supports the children to take part in engaging exercises, including looking at different scenarios and deciding whether they are OK or not OK.