Let’s talk Ofsted – Improving the system

being-ofsted-readyOfsted seem to be about to undertake their own u-turn in relation to a recent inspection of a nursery in Market Rasen (although I’m not holding my breath!).  It’s not the first time this town has been subject to criticism about their ability to evidence diversity to children. It’s really all about the interpretation of the EYFS legislation. Now far be it for Government to actually dictate what we should be doing and of course Ofsted have ‘no one way’  but if inspectors are expecting to see lots of tokenistic posters on the walls of our nurseries then why not tell us this directly and include it in the legislation? Surely teaching children about their own place in their own community comes way before teaching them about concepts that are meaningless to their own life experiences? I appreciate we need children to understand our country is a diverse place but just how far are we expecting our 3 year olds to be able to reach with their imagination I wonder?

And despite the fact that there is ‘no-one way’ Ofsted still seem very keen to inform us what we should be doing in teaching reading in the early years with this recent video from Mark Lindfield, Senior HMI, published  on March 29th. Is it only me that thinks reading targets for 4 years olds is wrong? Well apparently not as shown by this article in the Independent and movements such as Keep Early Years Unique. They, alongside other organisations such as Save our Childhood, are very much fighting the cause to allow children to be children. With  a National Childrens Day on 15th May planned to celebrate this.  What a pleasure to see all this sensibility being brought more and more to the forefront – and once we’ve dispensed with our fighting for funding (if that ever happens) I for one will be able to join these voices more strongly!

Anyway back to Ofsted – remember all that fuss we had over the validity of the Registration details emails back in November? It was all the fault of that still little known legislation called the Small Business, Enterprise & Employment Act 2015.  This brought in the Single Registration Process amongst other impacts on our industry.  Ofsted now seem ready to put everything onto their system and so the Ofsted Online Portal for Application is going to be closed for a week from 9th -15th May. Now is definitely NOT the time to be starting a new childcare business!  But I wonder if with these changes they are going to be improving the system at all or even increasing the amount of things we can do online? I’m in a rather peculiar situation myself with this at the moment – being one of those caught up in the ‘Registered Person, not Nominated Person’ scenarios. Well I’m still waiting to see how this all pans out, but as Registered Person I’ve never needed to have access to Ofsted Online – however if I ever actually get back to become Nominated Person (which I don’t want to be but apparently have to be) then perhaps I will be able to find out. The thought of the pain I will have to go through to get everything into the right place fills me with about as much joy as hearing they are coming to Inspect though!

I know many other people have frustrating times trying to communicate with Ofsted and I definitely think this is an ‘area of improvement’ for them but what else would YOU want to improve about Ofsted? Here in the Midlands we’re getting ready for our West Midlands Ofsted Big Conversation meeting and preparing for an Open Meeting with providers –  so if you were sat in a room with Ofsted what would YOU want to talk to them about? Let me have your thoughts below or via email.

About the author: Tricia Wellings

Tricia Wellings EYNFF Early Years National Funding Formula Analysis
Tricia qualified as an NNEB and achieved a BA (Hons) in Early Education Studies and Early Years Teacher Status. She obtained her PTLLS and CTTLS in order to teach adults and most recently her A1 assessors award. She has run a group of day nurseries for 18 years and trains her own teams.

Her passion for and knowledge of owning and running a nursery group and the issues within the sector that affect them is second to none. She continues to keep herself updated through regular meetings with PVI groups, Local Authorities, Ofsted Big Conversation and Conferences.

You can find our more about Tricia on her website www.triciawellings.co.uk

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