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QA Scheme!


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OK - I thought I'd kick off this forum with two topics describing things I've had in the back of my mind for some time, which may be far too ambitious to realise in the foreseeable future - but why not? We can always move on to the practical things when we're all dreamed out...

 

So this one is a QA scheme. The jury is out on whether these things are a good thing at all, but since more and more settings seem to be coming under pressure to use them, why should we not consider trying to develop one ourselves?

 

Things in our favour:

  • There are a lot of very experienced members to help pull it together
  • We can offer real time support and resources to help applicants work towards it

What do you think?

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Haha Hali! You'd need to get rid of the word 'Quality' first...

 

I haven't thought anything through in any great detail Linda. In order to take it further we'll need to obtain the requirements for setting up such a scheme. Things like the qualifications and independence of assessors must be available.

 

It seems to me that since we have a lot of expertise within this forum placed all round the country, along with the forum itself as a source of support, it ought to be possible for us to provide mentoring to the settings.

 

But as I say - it will be necessary to find out a lot more about the way assessment schemes need to be designed and administered. That's where I'm sure Carol, Hali and others will be ideally placed to offer some good advice!

 

We're still at the thinking aloud stage... :)

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Yes Steve I would be very interested in a Q.A scheme. I am looking for a scheme at the moment.My ideal one would be one that monitors the children's level of involvement in activities not one that gives priority to paperwork i.e policies.

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Quality Assurance schemes are cropping up all over the place Leo. They are being increasingly enthusiastically recommended by LEAs and, in some instances, settings are being pressurised by being told that eventually they will no longer be eligible for nursery funding...

 

There's been quite a lot of chat in the forums over the last few months about these schemes - if they become compulsory they could be yet another overhead for smaller settings to struggle to find money for.

 

I don't know if state settings will ever be required to undergo such a requirement - somehow I doubt it...

 

But on the other hand, if they are going to become a requirement, it seems that preparing for this by developing a scheme ourselves that will have the element of practicality we, as practitioners and managers, can bring to it, is a sensible move?

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OK. here goes........ xD

I haven't done a QA scheme, and haven't seen one in action. The only manual I have seen is the CfBT one, which has since been pulled because it didn't meet the IiC criteria. But, I think we can at least think about getting one together for members, and here are my first thoughts. I'd really welcome any feedback....I'm perfectly prepared to admit I don't know what I'm talking about! :D:D

My understanding is that a scheme is based around a manual of some sort, which settings follow in order to reflect upon and improve their practice. A mentor is assigned to the setting, and may visit three times for around 5 hours in total. It's not necessarily the mound of paperwork at the end that allows for a setting to be awarded the IiC status, but the process the staff have gone through to produce it. (Am I right so far?!)

So, maybe the next thing to think about is what we should be doing to continually improve, and under what broad headings we could consider it all. Are these the ones that people think should be included, and are there any others?

The Learning Environment; the building, outside facilities, and curriculum planning, observations and recording

Staff; training and recruitment, staff appraisals, professional development

Management; of staff, setting and budget, the dreaded policies!!

Relationships and Partnerships; with parents and carers, and outside agencies.

 

My own feeling about all this is that we do all the stuff that I think is in a QA scheme anyway, and I don't think settings should be forced into doing one at vast expense, as the Ofsted inspection should be a thorough enough evaluation. I was livid to hear recently that some authorities are withdrawing the nursery grant (or threatening to) unless settings take part in one. I've resisted thus far; I see no reason that I should pay upwards of £400 to show everyone what we're like! I feel very uncomfortable with the whole thing of "promoting your business", ie fighting with "competitors" for clients. It's all pretty distasteful. EVERY setting should be the very best it can be, and this should be fully supported by the authority, not at the expense of the staff wages. Phew! Not like me to have a rant....... :o

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We are doing PLA scheme..... the manual you talk about Helen is the same sort of structure as the 14 standards from ofsted and although run partially the same have higher/or different criteria in them.

 

The MOUND of paperwork is not that bad its only evidence of the criteria set out in the 'manual' it just takes time to sort it and a lot is just photocopies from the standards file evidence folder.....

 

And yes it is not the evidence file that gives you a pass its how they see all the staff implementing it on the day of inspection (although a lot of the evidence is taken into account as they want to know how we work with parents/community/manage finances etc).

 

Helen i agree with what you say but would like to add that our pre school got the highest Ofsted report you can get...but to get through the QA scheme we have had to make quite a few changes that Ofsted do not require you to pass (but on our inspection were impressed that we had these in place), and have lots more policies on things and do expect higher ratios/standards...

 

I would like to add that we managed to do our QA with funding otherwise at the moment we would not be doing it either.... :D

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:D:D:D

I'm exhausted!!

 

 

Hali,

Thanks for that reply; the bit I was really interested in was where you said Ofsted were impressed by the additional work you have done, etc, ie beyond the standards. That got me thinking about whether or not they might just up the standards once every setting (or most of them) has reached them!

 

Do you do the work for the scheme as part of your staff meetings, or have you scheduled in extra meetings just to do the scheme?

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What a topic this is going to be & am following it with great interest!!!!!!!!

 

Like others, I too, have just had an Ofsted and got the highest possible gradings without having done or even looked at the QA scheme. I am not in any way 'boasting' but feel that it is a valid point that needs to be mentioned. If settings are achieving this result without doing the scheme (and I know that there are MANY) then I feel it is their interpretation of the Standards and the FSG that achieves this result (and maybe a little bit of luck on the day!) If the QA schemes guide you through very much the same pattern as the standards, where did they get the idea for the 14 areas in the first place? And if the idea is that all the staff work together then I know of too many settings where it falls on the Leaders shoulders - I personally would not like to load any more work onto my staff, as I feel they already contribute enough of their time - unpaid.

 

Our LEA was required to have 40% of settings doing the scheme - this may well now have increased depending on where you are. Likewise the funding given depends on where you are - I would need to contribute about £400 (maybe more) for something that I would have hoped would have helped to achieve the same Ofsted result. And where would I rather spend my £400 ...... well I think you know the answer!!!!!!!!

 

I am beginning to feel that by not doing the Accreditation, my Ofsted result is being devalued, and that it is not enough. At some point I would actually like myself and the staff to enjoy & feel confident with what we have achieved, to enjoy our work, to spend time with the children at pre-school and with our own families - without this constant feeling of always having to do more.

 

If you've managed to stick with this reply ..... thanks for reading !!!!!! (but it's one area that I feel very strongly about!) xD

 

Janice :o

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With you on that Janice. Death By Assessment seems to be the objective sometimes.

 

I really don't understand why the scope of an Ofsted inspection can't be extended to give a grading based on whether or not you've just 'met' all the requirements, or whether you've exceeded them and exhibited areas of outstanding practice.

 

The report from an Ofsted inspection is always an anticlimax because although the inspectors are often very enthusiastic in the flesh, they are very restricted in terms of what they are allowed to write down...

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Whilst I agree with everyone Else's points of view e.g extra workload,have already met Ofsted requirement I still feel all groups may have to do a Q.A. eventually to access funding. I personally would rather take part in one that we can discuss on here.I found that once a new venture is started half the battle is being able to talk things through with others.

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Hi

 

To be honest Helen myself and the chair have done the extra work for the QA scheme.

I agree with what everyone else is saying but also have the gut feeling that eventually everyone will have to do it..so with the funding given would rather get it out the way now.

 

I feel its going to be a bit like star ratings for hotels...... but at the same time i know in my heart that my nursery is of a very high standard and feel that accreditation has helped us get there.... :o

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Yes Hali I feel that all extra training benefits us and helps us enhance the service that we provide and this benefits the children. I just wonder how many parents are interested in kite marks for pre-schools. Are they going to be like league tables. As a childminder I have had many enquiries.If I was unable to take a child I always offered to send them a list of registered childminders but many parents made the point to me that they couldn't possibly choose from a list but could I recommend a person.

When children come for an induction session I always show parents my Ofsted report together with my policies. No parents are ever interested in looking at them.Thankfully they want to know how I am going to care for their child and make them feel happy in pre-school. What will I do if they cry,wet themself or need their favourite cuddly toy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

I've had experience of 2 Accred. schemes, the PLA one and another one my setting is working on at the moment - I can't for the life of me remember what it's called, but will post it when I go back.(Tuesday). Would be very interested in being involved in anything you choose to do! Keep me posted....

 

Sue :D

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Hi

Very interesting topic!!

I thought that i would never "ever ever ever" been seen accessing dare i say the word "Accredtitation" i have looked at many...............but the one that iam soooooo grateful to be on is the EEL Project ~ Effective Early Learing Project founders of the EEL is Chris Pascal and Tony Bertram.

 

The reason for us to be accessing is that it is done in 3 parts with training, not ticking boxes to say "we have this that and the other", meetings are regularly to review progress, identify issues, resolve problems and provide practical and moral support, we are not handed a "lever arch folder" with all information and told to get on with it!!!, we are taken through step by step so we have good understanding and gain knowledge of how to reflect, evaluate, implement or change, and for me as a manager its supports and advises you to think of how you can actually implement your ethos of the group, how you communicate as a team, encourage critical reflection.

 

Yes it is more paper work, but this is on going documentation ....................and too be honest its an Operational File that is working, so when OFSTED visit they can see where the group has been and where it is going...........and we will never come away without paperwork in this line of Professionalism in the Early Years sector!!!!!!! we just need to be able to downsize it!!!?? :(xD:o:D:(:D

 

julia

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Doris you are really lucky to be able to do the EEL.accreditation. I attended a meeting that explained all the different schemes and this one really caught my eye. A few years ago I attended a course and the main speakers were Tony Bertram and Christine Pascall and they impressed me because their thinking was based on good common sense i.e children can learn anything if they are interested and have high levels of involvement.

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:D Thanks Bubblejack, yes we were really pleased to be approached to be accessing this scheme fits in really well with the journey we are following down the path of the Reggio Emilia Experience.

 

julia

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