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I have had to simmer down a little before posting this but would really appreciate your views on the following as I am still seething...

 

We had a visit from Ofsted earlier this week with the final grading being pronounced "good" in all areas. Now, whilst good is still "good" I have to say this came as a surprise to us as our ELP has expected us to reach an outstanding and I certainly felt that all areas had improved enormously since the last inspection when we had "v. good" in all areas!

 

What is concerning me more than anything is that the inspector has asked me to extend our " New entrant Finding out" form for 2 year olds so that parents can respond to questions such as

 

How many can your child count up to?

What is their shape knowledge?

what is their their letter and phonic knowledge?

 

Now, this might just be me but surely this is madness! Firstly there will be parents who will feel under pressure to give a glowing account of their recently potty trained offspring so that they come across as "super bright" but more importantly these children are just 2 years old and assuming they can recite numbers 1 - 10 this is a rather meaningless excercise. I would far rather undertake observations after they have settled in and start to enjoy relaxed play.

 

 

Does anyone have experience in tackling the almighty "O" as I really feel this judgement was quite barking! ( or maybe I :o have missed something?)

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But they do bark exceedingly well dont you think :o

 

There has been an on going battle over the years with some parents who want their child writing and counting and achieving in all areas, and we are all constantly having to exlain why we shouldnt push, why play is important and why all children develop differently. This will, like you say, have parents comparing, pushing and boasting, making others feel inadequate and causing un-necessary pressure all round. It will also add to your work load as you try to go through the forms weedling out the over zealous parent comments!

 

Remember though, this is your setting and you must do whats right for your parents and children. You could always put a comment next to your action plan stating why the request wasnt carried out. Or change the wording, instead of 'How many can your child count up to', ask, 'does your child show interest in number ryhmes and games?' What is their shape knowledge?' 'Does your chiild enjoy using a range of equipment?' 'what is their their letter and phonic knowledge?' 'Does your child enjoy using crayons?'

You could try phoning them. Ask why they felt your provision hadnt met the previous standard. (baring in mind the change to the grades over recent years) What areas did they feel had been poorer than last time? What improvements would need to be undertaken to achieve an outstanding?

 

My friend was recently told by an inspector, 'Dont expect a good', and this was before the visit!!!

So you be very grateful xD

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Thanks for the reply - I think you can probably guess that I am still smarting from the visit but your suggestions are very welcome and I can see that they are workable.

 

I would very much like to hear what other forum users feel , as the whole thing seems to have made me a somewhat blinkered!

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I, like you goose. had very good in all areas and the word excellent was in the report quite a few times, last time. We had our latest inspection in the week before half term and were given 'good'.

 

Whilst 'good' now means the provision is strong, I wish the judgements were -----Outstanding - Very Good - Good - Satisfactory - Inadequate.

'Good' to me sounds just good. Although I know the judgement, as do other settings, means strong - parents or prospective parents might just see 'good and not the word strong ... oh, I'm waffling - but do you know what I mean? :o

 

I think Reas suggestion about changing the wording is a good idea. If you justify why you have changed the wording, then O should accept it. If you have any queries about your report or inspection judgements, you have to contact them on their helpline 08456 404040, within 30 days of receiving your report. So why not phone them?

 

Sue J

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Thanks Sue, I think I might explain to parents about the strong/good judgement in detail as they too were surpised at the overall outcome. Some even suggested a petition of complaint! And lots bought in choccies - so someone loves us!

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They never cease to amaze do they? We had a childminder contact us last week saying that her inspector had asked her to contact us so that she could have an ACPC procedure folder.... we have been under the 'safeguarding' banner for how long??

 

Back to your issue, goose, I'd do what is right for your children and parents. The danger in asking these questions to the parents reinforces that you will have an educational focus to your setting where numbers, shapes and phonics are the priority when, I should imagine, these are covered through play opportunities?

 

As Rea wisely suggested, you could still find out the same kind of information in a more subtle way by asking about favourite nursery rhymes, favourite books, favourite activities any other interests - cars, messy play, dolls etc... at least that way you would be able to see if they had experience of letters/sounds, numbers, shapes.

 

Stick to what your instinct tells you!

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we were the same very good in all areas then 18months later(due to having to have an intergrated one with school)got a GOOD and GOOD but outstanding in enjoying and achieving we were alos told this was the new very good doesnt seem right does it?

As for asking parents what their childcan count up to at 2yrs old absolutly ridiculus and i would put it on your action plan why you decided after discussion with staff and parents (committee possibly)not to do it. i think the advise about re-wording it is a good one

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We had our inspection in Sept and like you we received 'good'.

 

One parent although very happy for us, said it was a bit of a 'dull' word and didn't really tell you anything.

 

I think there should be a better grading system. Do we know if we are at the top end of good or did we only just scrap through!

 

With regards to finding out info on incoming children - THIS MUST BE THE LASTEST 'THING' FOR OFSTED, because we also got pulled up on it and were told we need to produce a booklet of some sort for parents to complete.

 

I think you need to word the questions exceptionally well. I know that if I was given a booklet asking if my 2 yr old could count, recognise colours etc I would go into panic mode and wonder why they couldn't. It can cause a lot of upset and unnecessary worry.

 

We've put ours in our 'to do' pile for next term. Not going to rush over it. :o

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you know the more i think about it it has got my blood boiling!! :o

Just what expereince has she got to advise that?

i would put a formal complaint in or at least a query try and get your ey advisor on board.

a freind of mine has just had her inspection void from incompetence from an inspector.

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I'm with you on that Andreamay.

I've thought a lot about it this morning. I thought Ofsteds job was to inspect against the standards and at our education set up. Not tell us how to interview prospective customers. The most I ever needed to know about a child was related to their social skills, do they have siblings, do they have the opportunity to play with other children, do they drink from a cup or beaker, do they need a comforter of some sort. At 2 years old I didnt expect to need to ask about phonics of all things.

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I agree with other comments and think that you should consider challenging this inspectors suggestions, and thus the outcome. Do you have any new entrant profile questionairre? If you have and it is appropriatte then this 'criteria' towards outstanding is covered and thus if this was the only reason they did not award outstanding then they should re consider your outcome grade.

 

If you are like me I have new entrants who's ages range from 2 yrs to 4 yrs, so such specific developmental related questions are not appropriatte. In my pre start questionairre I ask more broader questions to determine childrens interests and developmental levels.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide to do, and let us know how you get on.

 

 

Peggy

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Oh, Goose, I know how angry you feel. Why do the Ofsted inspectors put us all through it so?

 

Your posting brought back the anger I felt 18 months ago as a Year R teacher. Our school got an overall good, whereas Foundation Stage was satisfactory. This was because we did not carry out a Baseline Assessment on our four year olds. Kent did not require Baseline and had I profile evidence galore but this was not good enough - even our Senco said when we went to a meeting some months after that I had more evidence than most. However as Year R teacher the criticism all came back on me.

 

Although now retired, I can still remember the feeling!

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I'm just doing some work on our observation trackers so I have my document to hand (wouldn't want anyone to think I have memorised the whole of the EYFS pack).

 

Looking at the stepping stones for 16 - 26 months for Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy (numbers as labels and for counting) it says things like 'say some counting words randomly' and 'distinguish between quantities, recognising that a group of objects is more than one' and 'gain awareness of one-to-one correspondence through categorising belongings, starting with "mine" or "mummy" '.

 

Under PSRN (shape, space and measure) it says 'attempts, sometimes correctly, to fit shapes into spaces on inset boards or jigsaw puzzles' and 'uses blocks to create their own simple structures and arrangements' and 'enjoys filling and emptying containers'

 

Under CLL (linking sounds and letters) it says lisen to and enjoy rhythmic patterns in rhymes and stories'. Under reading it says 'show interest in stories, songs and rhymes'

 

Firstly, I'd be interested to know how Ofsted (and in particular that individual inspector) can justify asking those particular questions about a two year old's stage of development in the light of what the stepping stones or BTTM says.

 

In terms of asking parents to fill in a profile about what their child's interests are and what they can already do, I'd be inclined to think about what the EYFS or BTTM suggests as appropriate expectations for children of that age and choose your questions for your initial child profile accordingly My guess is that your document already does this because you have thought about what children of this age/stage can do in the light of what you know about child development and how children learn.

 

I agree that asking questions such as 'how many can your child count up to' will put parents (and therefore children) under pressure to achieve and then before we know where we are we'll be looking more at what children can't do than what they can - which of course goes against everything we believe in!

 

I'm off now to look at my child profile form and see how it matches up!

 

Maz

 

PS I keep hearing anecdotally that Inspectors seem to arrive with an idea of what the outcome will be and then fit the evidence around their decision - but then I am an overly cynical person sometimes..

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I'm just speaking from a personal view, but when my children first joined the pre-school (which I now run), we had a questionnaire like this asking how many your child could count to, whether they showed a preference for fight/left hand (now totally redundant question), if they could get clothes/shoes on by themselves etc, etc.

 

As a PARENT, I felt totally lost, useless and hurt by these questions. I had never considered whether my child could do some of these things and felt that I had been ignoring some of my children's abilities. On speaking to another parent at the time, we both put each other at rest by comparing our feelings and realising that we were not alone in our thoughts. It put a little distance between myself and the pre-school as I felt I could be seen as an uncaring mother!

 

As a practitioner, I ask open, non directive questions which feed on from the conversation with the parents.

 

Please feel free to use this as part of your argument - as you can see I have had experience of this and I don't think it works in the child/parent or staff's favour!

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And another thing...

 

I've been in lots of different settings who all ask different initial questions to parents on entry. If your inspector is right does that mean the places I've seen are wrong? In which case, how did they achieve a 'good'?

I really wish someone would decide once and for all what we are suposed to do so we can either all get it right or all get it wrong, instead of this random result problem.

 

I'm off to ask Ofsted for guidance on what I should include in my (fictitious) entry questionaire.

I'll post any answer as soon as I get it xD

 

On a personal front, I was asked by a HV if my then 2 and half year son could pedal a bike. He hadnt got one, but we rushed straight out to remedy that little problem, I felt like a really bad mom :o

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On a personal front, I was asked by a HV if my then 2 and half year son could pedal a bike. He hadnt got one, but we rushed straight out to remedy that little problem, I felt like a really bad mom :o

Depends on the number of little black dresses and accessories you have in your wardrobe, surely? xD

 

Maz

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Thanks so much everyone - this has made me feel "all is not lost" your comments and ideas have helped hugely.

 

I think my lovely team and I will have a bit of a chin wag next week in an effort to put something together. x

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Marion Dowling told us on a course last week that Ofsted Inspectors are being expected to attend just one day's training on the new EYFS framework and will then be deemed fit to inspect it....... :oxD:(

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Marion Dowling told us on a course last week that Ofsted Inspectors are being expected to attend just one day's training on the new EYFS framework and will then be deemed fit to inspect it....... :oxD:(

And I'm sure she was forthright in her views about it, too!

 

What a woman.

 

Maz

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Yes, she's not someone who feels the need to hold back her views is she?! I've been inspired by her every time I've heard her talk.....the early years profession needs people like her! :o

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She's an early years "bigwig"! Now, I think she calls herself an independent consultant - lectures all over the country about lots of different issues to do with early years, but she's also written books - "Education 3-5" is one, regularly writes articles for all the early years magazines and sits on various government advisory committees. She says Beverley Hughes knows very little!! She's also just stepped down as president of Early Education. The nice thing is that she'll always say her most important role is as a Mum and Granny! If you ever get the chance to hear her, go! She's so down to earth and easy to listen to.

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Thanks Wolfie,

 

If you ever hear that she's coming to any midlands area would you let me know? my big sis is up there and it will double up as an excuse to see her - she's unwell at the moment so any excuse is a good one. Two birds, one stone!

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Depends on the number of little black dresses and accessories you have in your wardrobe, surely? :o

 

Maz

 

 

Thats right, just remind me of my guilt :(:(

 

 

Glad you're feeling more positive goose xD

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Thanks again everyone. I feel the need to catch up with the highly accalimed Marion D. Does anyone know where I can find her (s. London area) please.

 

goose

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