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Recommendations for Leadership and Management

Having read over one hundred ‘good’ Ofsted reports, published between January and March, it is clear to me that there are definite patterns emerging for why settings judged as ‘good’ are not yet ‘outstanding’. I’ve collated the front page statements, eg ‘It is not yet outstanding because...’ and paired them with the recommendations from the report.
By far the most recommendations regarding leadership and management from the reports for good settings were about supporting professional development of staff, and about monitoring the progress of groups of children. Other recommendations fell into three categories: monitoring of the curriculum, self-evaluation, and partnerships. Here they are:
Staff performance management and professional development
‘It is not yet outstanding because:

Opportunities for staff to reflect upon their own teaching practices and those of others are not yet embedded, to share good practice and develop staff's professional skills.
Recommendation>
Build on the existing good systems for the monitoring of staff performance to strengthen and improve the consistency of teaching practice.
 
Management occasionally misses opportunities to strengthen the monitoring of staff to help them further improve their practice and the quality of the provision.
Rec>
Strengthen methods for staff monitoring and supervision to enable staff to further improve their practice.
 
Arrangements for staff development and monitoring their performance are not successful enough to raise the quality of teaching to the highest of standards.
Rec>
Strengthen arrangements for monitoring staff and promoting their professional development and increase the potential to achieve excellent standards of teaching throughout the provision.
 
The programme of ongoing professional development is not highly effective to ensure the quality of teaching and learning is consistently improving.
Rec>
Enhance the programme of staff supervision and ongoing professional development to further improve the quality of teaching and learning across the nursery.

Leaders have not yet implemented the new procedures to focus sharply on the quality of teaching across the nursery, in order to enhance this to an outstanding level.
Rec>
Implement fully the new procedures to focus more sharply on evaluating the quality of practice to enhance the overall quality of teaching to an outstanding level.
 
The management team does not focus precisely enough on professional development opportunities to continuously raise the quality of teaching and learning.
Rec>
Enhance the provision of professional development opportunities, with a focus on further improving the quality of teaching and learning. 

Some staff are not as highly skilled as others in consistently promoting rich and varied play and learning experiences for children.
Rec>
Develop all staff's skills and attributes to further improve the quality of planning for children's next steps in their learning and development.
 
The supervision of staff practice is not yet sharply focused enough on raising the quality of teaching and learning to the highest possible level.
Rec>
Strengthen procedures for staff supervision and include a sharper focus on driving the quality of teaching to a higher level.
 
The manager does not always make full use of staff supervision to focus on performance and on raising the quality of teaching to the highest level.
Rec>
Strengthen staff supervision and further enhance the already good quality of teaching, so that all children's learning is maximised.
 
Systems for evaluating staff performance are not always incisive in identifying the impact of staff's practice, to ensure teaching is highly effective and improving rapidly.
Rec>
Strengthen systems for monitoring staff performance, using an incisive evaluation of the impact of staff's practice to ensure teaching is highly effective and improving rapidly.
 
Managers have not yet fully embedded performance management arrangements to mentor staff and to raise the standards of teaching still further.
Rec>
Strengthen performance management arrangements, ensuring that staff are thoroughly supported to achieve consistently high-quality teaching practice.
 
The provider evaluates and reflects on the practice but does not always identify and make best use of opportunities to extend the good teaching practice even further and raise the quality and consistency of children's learning experiences.
Rec>
Identify and use opportunities to extend the very good teaching across all staff, in order to strengthen the consistency of the quality of teaching and learning even further.
 
Managers and leaders do not yet provide fully continuous professional development opportunities that are specifically focussed on enhancing teaching and learning.
Rec>
Extend the highly focused continuous professional development opportunities that help staff enhance their already good knowledge of teaching and learning.
 
The manager and deputy are at an early stage of supporting room leaders and other staff to use the nursery's monitoring tools to help ensure practice is consistently of a very high standard.
Rec>
Embed the system for monitoring the quality of provision, including the recently introduced opportunities for staff to observe each other to help identify where they can improve their practice, so teaching is consistently of a very high standard.
 
The manager identifies the ongoing professional development needs of staff, although not a sharp enough focus is given to additional opportunities for staff, to help raise the quality of teaching to an outstanding level.
Rec>
Strengthen the opportunities for staff to receive further support for their professional development, in order to raise the quality of teaching to an outstanding level.
 
Arrangements put in place by the provider and manager to identify and address professional development needs are not established well enough to raise the quality of teaching to an outstanding level.
Rec>
Identify and address practitioners' development needs more precisely and increase the potential to achieve the highest possible standards of teaching.
 
Managers do not always help staff build on and strengthen their teaching practice, particularly in extending and challenging children's skills and knowledge even further.
Rec>
Help staff to challenge and extend children's learning more often, in order to secure more rapid progress.
 
The management team has not yet fully developed effective systems to enable staff to share best practice with each other.
Rec>
Extend opportunities for staff to share best practice to strengthen the quality of teaching even further.
 
The manager's monitoring of staff practice does not always result in close links between what is needed to improve individual staff teaching skills and the professional development opportunities that staff undertake.
Rec>
Focus staff professional development more precisely on where individual staff need further support to raise the quality of their teaching.
 
Leaders do not fully utilise the skills and expertise of the more experienced and skilled staff to help improve the quality of teaching where it is weaker.
Rec>
Enhance professional development opportunities to help staff to learn from one another and improve the quality of teaching where it is weaker.
 
Management does not always observe or monitor staff to strengthen their skills and awareness to further support all children's learning.
Rec>
Strengthen monitoring further to ensure that staff have a greater awareness of how to engage all children in their play.
 
The owner's evaluation of teaching is not thorough enough to identify a highly focused programme of professional development that helps to raise the quality of teaching to an even higher level.
Rec>
Strengthen the quality of teaching and use rigorous evaluation that identifies highly focused professional development opportunities.
 
The manager has not shared her secure knowledge of recent new government requirements as effectively as possible, to extend all staff's professional development.
Rec>
Improve systems to share information about new government requirements with all staff to extend their professional development.
 
Opportunities for staff to reflect upon their own teaching practices and those of others are not fully successful to share good practice and further develop staff's professional skills.
Rec>
Build on the existing good systems for the monitoring of staff performance to strengthen and improve the consistency of teaching practice.
 
Targets to improve staff performance are not sharp enough because they are not sufficiently linked to the impact of the quality of teaching and learning and the progress and development of children.
Rec>
Ensure staff targets for improvement more precisely link to the impact of teaching on learning and progress.
 
Monitoring children’s progress
The manager does not thoroughly monitor the progress between different groups of children to ensure potential gaps in learning are swiftly identified and closed.
Rec>
Extend the systems for monitoring progress made by different groups of children and use the information to increase the potential for all children to make the best possible progress.
 
The manager has not yet fully evaluated the progress made by different groups of children.
Rec>
Evaluate the progress made by different groups of children and use the information gained to ensure that any gaps in their learning are closing quickly.

Sometimes, monitoring systems do not swiftly identify any emerging gaps in children's development.
Rec>
Extend systems of monitoring to provide a regular and in-depth review of the progress made by different groups of children to ensure any emerging gaps in learning are swiftly identified.

Staff have identified how they can monitor the progress of particular groups of children more accurately, but they have yet to put this into place so that swift action can be taken if there are any gaps in learning and development.
Rec>
Implement the systems you have identified to check and compare the progress made of groups of children and make sure all groups maintain or exceed good levels of achievement.
 
Children’s individual progress is closely monitored. However, the management team has not fully developed effective procedures to assess the progress made by different groups of children.
Rec>
Make better use of information gained from assessment to check the progress made by different groups of children to identify and address any gaps in children's learning.
 
There is scope to further improve how children's progress is tracked to include more detailed analysis of groups of children, in order to help them make the most rapid progress possible.
Rec>
Enhance tracking to include more detailed analysis of the progress of groups.
 
Procedures to monitor the progress of different groups of children effectively have yet to be fully implemented.
Rec>
Enhance the monitoring procedures to clearly identify the progress of different groups of children .
 
The systems to compare patterns of learning for groups of children are still in their early stages. The information gathered has not yet been analysed to identify what packages of support are required to improve outcomes for specific groups of children even further.
Rec>
Enhance systems to monitor the educational programmes and improve outcomes for identified groups of children even further.
 
The current processes for monitoring progress, particularly for children with additional needs, are still developing to enable staff to obtain a clearer overview of ways to move children on more rapidly in their learning.
Rec>
Explore ways to make better use of assessments, particularly to sharply monitor the different rates of progress made by children with varying abilities, so all children continue to flourish and learn.
 
Although assessment of individual children's attainment is good, the manager has not yet established a highly successful system to monitor and review the progress of different groups of children.
Rec>
Monitor the progress of groups of children and use this information to assess whether the provision for different groups can be enhanced further.
 
The management team does not yet robustly monitor and track different groups of children. Consequently, the team cannot always be sure that all children who require additional support make as much progress as possible.
Rec>
Make better use of information gained from assessment to more accurately monitor the progress made by different groups of children, so that those who need additional support are helped to make as much progress as possible.
 
The tracking of groups of children is not sufficiently well developed to support the manager’s plans for improvement precisely enough.
Rec>
Ensure outcomes for different groups and cohorts of children are tracked more closely so leaders know where to targets plans for improvement more precisely
 
Monitoring the curriculum and learning programmes
Although managers use good monitoring systems, these are not fully developed to ensure that all activities consistently reflect every child’s interests and learning needs.
Rec>
Strengthen the monitoring of activities to ensure they respond to all children’s interests and next steps consistently.

Staff have not fully developed the range of activities available to children to support those who learn best outside.
Rec>
Build on the range of outdoor activities to extend children's learning experiences further, in particular for those children who learn better outside.
 
The manager does not ensure that children have a good mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities to enhance their all-round learning and development.
Rec>
Create a good balance of activities led by children and activities led or guided by adults to enhance their development and prepare them for more formal learning.


The manager has not fully developed her strategies for maintaining an accurate overview of the educational programmes. The impact of teaching in some areas of
learning is less well monitored than in others.
Rec>
Develop further the arrangements for monitoring the educational programmes and maintain an accurate overview of the impact of teaching in each area of learning.
        
Self-evaluation
The manager gathers the views of parents and children through questionnaires, but does not always use their contributions as effectively as possible to inform the self-evaluation process.
Rec>
Further develop ways in which parents and children contribute to self-evaluations and support continuous improvements.


The nursery's self-evaluation process does not include the views and opinions of parents to help the management team identify further areas to develop.
Rec>
Include parents' views and opinions in the self-evaluation process to help identify areas to improve.


Self-evaluation is not strong enough to drive further improvements and help raise quality to the highest level.
Rec>
Strengthen the self-evaluation process to help identify clear targets that continually improve the quality of provision and outcomes for children.


The manager does not consistently seek feedback from parents about their views, to help contribute to the monitoring and evaluationprocess.
Rec>
Include the views of parents more frequently to help identify areas to improve.


Although staff regularly engage and share information with parents, they do not always use their views, or those of the children when evaluating the provision.
Rec>
Seek and include the views of parents and children so they consistently contribute to the self-evaluation process.
 
Partnerships
Partnerships with the local school are not yet robust enough to consistently support all children with their move to full-time education, when the time comes.
Rec>
Develop the partnership working with the local schools that older children will attend, supporting their move on to full-time education
 
Partnerships with parents and other settings are not fully effective to enable staff to build on children's learning elsewhere.
Rec>
Strengthen partnerships with parents and other settings to enable staff to build on what children learn elsewhere more effectively.


Partnerships with early years providers that children also attend are not yet as robust as links with other professionals. This means that information detailing children's learning needs is not always shared to help everyone to be fully aware of children's emerging skills.
Rec>
Strengthen the links with other early years providers that children attend, so that information sharing helps everyone to have a better knowledge of children's abilities.

 

The next article in this series will examine the recommendations for the quality of teaching and learning.


 
Helen Edwards
Helen was a primary school teacher before setting up and running her own nursery for ten years. She worked as a Foundation Stage advisor for East Sussex local authority before achieving EYPS with the first cohort of candidates at the University of Brighton. She was an EYPS assessor for two providers in the South East, a reflective practice tutor at the University of Brighton and an Ofsted inspector. She is a Director of the Foundation Stage Forum and a member of the Tapestry Education Group.



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