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Ofsted Next Week - Maybe?


diane
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We might be "Ofstedded" next week!

 

The leader and her deputy are going round in ever-decreasing circles, chasing their own tails. They are trying to move mountains and maybe they are failing.

 

I think it is best for OFSTED to see us as we are - nothing false.

 

We are not so good at self-appraisal, so we do need an outside influence! I think that settings such as ours should be able to accept inspection, and take any appropriate advice that is offered.

 

I would dearly love to be involved. And I would like to hear what the inspector has to say. But only the leader, her deputy and some of the management committee will be party to the appraisal..

 

In a few weeks' time we will have a staff meeting ..... all will be divulged!

 

I will keep you posted!

 

 

Diane

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Hi Diane

 

I am sure you will be fine, I agree with on the spot insepections as they see how groups really run.

 

If you change too many things just before an Ofsted inspection then the children/adults in the group may get confused. you should concentrate on the things you do well like liseten to the children and put thier health and safety first at all times.

 

Good luck

Carol

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The question is - will it actually make them improve their practice or will they just do it for the OFSTED and then go back to their old ways? Look forward to hearing what they have to say diane. :D

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Thanks for support!

 

No, the setting's practice will not change.

 

Mine practice has - and does - continually. Thanks to continuing education!

 

Since the setting has started doing plans based on the FSC (for what they are worth) I keep these with me, write on them, use them to progress the children (3) I am told to observe. I use them in the same way for any children who "gravitate" to me, whether they are aged 2, 3 or 4...... We don't include the 2-yr-olds!

 

I must add - these plans are just 3-4 stepping stones per learning area per half-term, and are intended to apply to all 3/4-yr-olds in the setting.

 

I go through their plans, and identify "next steps" for my 3 that I observe, plus for a selected few of the younger ones. Previously, I kept this "in my head". This time, I have added it to "their" plans. I have always kept a copy of the plans with me (they are not on display, except on the entrance hall notice board). Now the plans I carry are more comprehensive. I have offered to do this sort of thing in the past, formally, but the offers have been declined.

 

This isn't really anything to do with OFSTED. It's more about me, about me getting up the courage to move on from being an unqualified worker to one who now has a level 4 qualification (which I now have, yipee), and now needs to look for somewhere else to work.

 

I think it's important for me to experience a "modern OFSTED" - a combined inspection (my last OFSTED was in 1999).

 

I would dearly like the inspector to pick-up on the setting's good and bad points that I see. This, of course, may not happen.

 

Whatever.

 

I intend to work in a setting with "key workers", where planning for individual children is in place. Somewhere that the practitioners have input. And the satisfaction of knowing that they are making a difference.

 

Diane

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Well done Andrea!

 

You must feel happy. I hope so.

 

Ours didn't materialise this week. Stress levels in the leader and deputy are visibly rising! They had put on a false week and it all went to waste! They've got to go through it all again next week. And maybe the week after ....

 

I've now admitted that I'm qualified. On reflection, I decided that it wasn't fair to keep it to myself any longer!

 

Have a relaxing time, Andrea, you must deserve it!

 

Diane.

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Good luck dianne and well done Andrea I know just how you are feeling.We had our Ofsted last week. The anticipation is worse than the inspection. I received my report today. He was only actually in the building for a few hours and we only saw him speak to one child!!!!! Nevertheless the report was good (but I have to correct a lot of factual information.) My next inspection will be in 4 years time.

Today I received a circular from Ofsted saying that inspections to settings will be totally unannounced but childminders will have a few days notice.

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That happened to us Diane she had given me the impression it would be the week before we were all ready knew exactly what we were going to do and say but also tired and stressed and very tense then she didnt turn up and we all relaxed and then this week she turned up on tues and the north west was covered in snow so we had to abandon our well thought out plans and investigate the snow and she loved it! We were much more chilled out then the week before and I am sure we benefitted from that so dont worry to much!

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Guess what, Sue? No, she didn't show!

 

I really don't mind at all. It's just that the "managers" are getting into a worse and worse panic about it. I just wish that they had really addressed the points from the last inspection (nearly 4 years ago). That, at least, would give us some professional credence.

 

Occasionally, over the last couple of weeks, I've mused that I'm the inspector. OK. I know I'm loopy! No, seriously, I've tried to be a bit detached, and look at what's going on (rudimentary self-inspection, I suppose). I have surprised myself, somewhat. I can see so many things being done well (at unexpected times, mostly). Most disheartening to me is that I can see all sorts of excellent skills and abilities in some of our newer (unqualified) staff and the resultant benefits to the children. The disheartening bit is that these aren't being capitalised upon! I just wish someone would look each worker's practice in this way and use the results in staff resourcing! Anyway, I have made a point of mentioning (if only in the car park when we are leaving) things such as "I saw you doing so-and-so today, and I thought it was wonderful how you helped child x and child y to do what they wanted in that activity". It's not my place to say things like this - but so what? I wish someone would do it for me! Ooops .... that's the purpose of regular staff appraisals!

 

Anyway, OFSTED might be next week (tomorrow?). Unfortunately, my name badge has been through the washing machine! My name is still, damply, visible. But the pre-school logo and name has turned into a nasty brown smudge. As clear as mud! :o

 

Diane.

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Well,

 

The OFSTED inspector came yesterday, returned today, and is coming back tomorrow. And then? Who knows?

 

Apparently, she has some "major areas of concern", and her rationale for being with us tomorrow is that "there are some aspects of the provision" which she still has not observed! Fat chance she will see it all be the end of tomorrow - there is no sand or water play scheduled for this week, and the only "messy play" so far has been an hour of painting at easels on Monday (maximum of 3 colours!).

 

So far, I have only connected with her briefly twice.

 

Once was when she pointed out to me that the main entrance door was not bolted. I immediately checked the car park area, found nothing, bolted the door, and straightaway reported this to the leader. Did she do a head-count? No! Since I am a mere minion, I did not dare suggest it. I did one instead (just to satisfy myself that all was OK). No-one asked me if all were accounted for!

 

The other occasion was when she asked me the age of one of our 35+ children on the roll. All I could say was: certainly not four, probably three, but check with the supervisor.

 

I did hear her ask the supervisor (deputy leader) about the ELGs being targeted in a particular activity. The supervisor's response was "none in particular - just PD in general".

 

I'm not surprised the inspector has areas of concern!

 

Obviously the worst-case scenario would be withdrawal of government funding for 3- and 4-year-olds. Just how bad does a setting have to be to end up with this sort of judgement? I have trawled through many recent OFSTED reports, and I can't find any with really major criticisms, except for, perhaps, "unsatisfactory" in one of the six curriculum areas (with all others "good"/"generally good").

 

Half of my head keeps resounding with "I told you so"; the other half is saying "even though I do my bits well, we are failing the children as a group".

 

Oh, well, tomorrow is another day.

 

Diane.

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Diane, in answer to your question "How bad does a setting have to be?" it depends how many places are available in your area for funded children.

 

Long story short.. in Nov 2003 I had a combined inspection, I received an "Unsatisfactory" across all education areas and care standards.

 

At feedback, when asked by the inspectors "How do you feel" or words to that effect.. I said, If I am so bad, please close me now...My deputy said the same.. ( We have both worked in the field for 20 yrs and felt the outcome was biased due to previous dealings with Ofsted.. as I said long story)

 

anyway, they said, no we won't close you, we will give you 6 mths to improve, and we will do a spot check in January 2004.

DEC 03....I wrote our action plan ( within 28 days) which had to be agreed by the DFES and Ofsted, they said if it was not agreed as achievable that funding could be stopped.

JAN 04....No inspectors came in January.

APRIL 04 2004...... I phoned DFES and asked about their decision on my action plans as I had not heard from them. They said "Oh yes, Ofsted have agreed them, I asked for this in writing, she said ok, but I must just check with your EYDCP to see if there are enough funded places in your area, oh no I don't have to do that your plans have been agreed.

I said ( to clarify) Do you mean that if you (DFES) and Ofsted do not agree with my action plans ( ie: practice still deemed unsatisfactory) then you will only stop funding if other places are available in the area?

She said yes, this is the case.

JUNE 04....Care Standards Inspection" after I chased up on the phone ..Satisfactory across the board

NOV 04. Received letter from DFES stating action plan ( I wrote in Dec 03) was good and they will re-inspect within 6 mths.

 

TODAY, FEB 05 I AM STILL WAITING FOR AN EDUCATION INSPECTION

 

So, in my case even if you ask them to close you because you have been told you are no good, they won't and furthermore they then ignore you....AAAHHHHH

 

Peggy

p.s. bet you wished you hadn't asked now. still got a load off my chest.

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Goodness gracious, Peggy - what a nightmare!

 

What were the problems? It doesn't sound like they were that bad. If they had been, surely they would have come back to you first!

 

Well, you're still, living, breathing, working! Hope for us all!

 

Diane.

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Good luck tomorrow. It's still not too late to show Ofsted things that may have been overlooked. Could you take some fruit in of your own for tomorrow as a donation.Would your supervisor get out some messy play. It needn't be on a big scale, maybe water in bowls or mixing paint on plastic plates. It will be well worth it to get Ofsted off your backs. You are lucky to have an inspector for 3 days mine only stayed for 2 hours so I had to get it right first time.I wish you the very best of luck tomorrow just think of it as an extra chance to show what your group can do

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Diane,

You may not read this until wednesday and all will be done and dusted.

 

I get the feeling that you feel quite frustrated in your employers ways of dealing with ofsted panicking) and how they even manage the group.

 

As a registered person, the responsibility, to the point of losing your business, is extremely stressful when left to an unknown quantity - an Inspector - who makes judgement on you.

 

How long have you been at your setting? and why did you not tell them before that you were qualified?

 

I hope your experience will be / has been a positive one and that any areas requiring development will be pointed out to your manager constructively by the inspectors. Coming out of a bad inspection experience is quite hard to handle and it takes a lot of energy to motivate a staff team who have been knocked down through the process of inspection.

 

You appear to have the knowledge and disposition of a person who places the children at the heart of your work and this should carry you through with your current setting or if you move elsewhere, good luck.

 

Peggy

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  • 1 month later...

Just had a real grilling from OFSTED. They were in for two days.

Outcome was pretty good but I keep thinking of what we could have done or I could have shown to do better. I don't feel some members of staff did themselves any justice on the day. Hee hoo! We had origianlly expected them before Christmas, then January and then March (so it felt like a long drawn out process for us).

 

My advice for curriculum leaders is show them how you meet every cluster for each area of learning. I wish I had set up a file with cluster headings and then recent evidence of how we meet these, through photographs etc, particularly things like linking letters to sounds and calculating and problem solving.

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