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Ofsted's View Re Quality Assurance Schemes


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I have just read with great interest a newsletter from PLA Regional office - a paragraph entitled OFSTED ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO EARLY YEARS INSPECTIONS IN ITS EARLY YEARS BULLETIN - NOVEMBER 2004. Some of this article was not news to me but this bit caught my eye:

 

' Finally we asked if we should take account of quality assurance schemes endorsed by Investors in Children (IiC) in our inspections. Ofsted has decided not to pursue this proposal as part of the new inspection framework, although we will still continue to note membership of such schemes.'

 

At our nursery we and the committee have taken the decision not to pursue a QA scheme for the time being, possibly until they become compulsory. We feel strongly that our excellent Ofsted report should be proof enough of the good job that we do. We do conduct informal self-evaluation over the year too.

 

Am I the only one who was thrilled to find out that Ofsted will not be demanding QA or have I misunderstood?

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I agree LJW that a good or better OFSTED inspection should be enough to show that settings are doing a good job. I think the reason that some of us are somewhat miffed is because we have started these schemes because that was the way matters were going. The impression was that QA was going to become something that had to be done. Now OFSTED have said that they will not take them into consideration which means that many settings have taken the trouble to undertake QA, and some of us have just started, and now they will be ignored.

The only consolation is that hopefully parents will not ignore the fact that we have gone to the trouble of taking on this extra work.

Linda

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LJW, thats great news, we're doing one but only because a previous playleader signed us up to it. It's such a lot of work that we are finding it difficult to find the time, now I can at least argue my point a bit better that it's not really necessary, it might buy us some extra time. :D

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On Ofsteds site, it says Ofsted are considering whether or not to take QA schemes into account. That was in the consultation paper in Sept 2004. The site directs you to the Surestart site which is supporting the schemes. If my considerable computing skills allow, you can find it here

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i agree with Linda...

 

In Qa defence we had a fantastic ofsted last march which of course we were proud of, we then went on to do a Qa scheme in October and we feel it just compliments everything that you do already and makes you even more proud ( i didnt do mine because i thought it wouild help with Ofsted they complement each other)...now we have that we are doing IiP (investors in people).. :D:D:D:D

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Thanks for putting your point of view Hali. I have had an outline meeting with a rep from Investors in People and am waiting to hear what it entails. I am more in tune with investing time in improving the lot of our Nursery team first and foremost (and hopefully taking morale and incentive up a notch) before embarking on a QA scheme, which as you say can complement a good Ofsted - notwithstanding the increased workload! Could you summarise what you have had to do for IIP? Would be very interested to hear a personal account, not just the official blurb I am expecting from the rep!

LJW

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To LJW ... I'm right with you on this !!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Daren't say any more on this topic or else I'll still be happily typing away this time tomorrow!

 

If we're going to anything, then it will be the IIP ........... now just how much are the Committe 'sposed to get involved in this ??? xD:(:(

 

janice :o

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well i am at very early stages..had a meeting to see what it involves and had email through today with some simple application forms to fill out about what our setting is about, opening hours etc, also about staff and thier roles. Once ive sent it back we will have an initial assessment in june to see either if we pass or to see what needs improving before another assessment. The lady i spoke to said the assessment involves just talking to staff and management really!!!!

 

Cant say anymore than that at mo...... good luck if you decide to go for it!!! :D:D

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Our school applied for IiP just after Christmas and we just heard this week that we have been awarded it :D:D:D

An external assessor came in and chatted to lots of different members of staff, including myself. Most chats were about 20 mins long but because of my managerial responsibilities mine was 45 mins! :o There are lots of aspects that are taken into account but the main thing is that individuals know the aims of the organisation, their own specific role within the organisation and are able to give a good account of how they feel they are supported professionally and personally by the organsisation. Management has to be able to show that there are appropriate systems in place and being used (equal opps, continuing professional development of staff etc). The assessor was particularly impressed with the close team-working relationships between our staff and the high level of involvement of parents (we also have a school "parent friendly award").

I have a "check list" somewhere at home of the things they look for, which I could post if anyone wants it.

Although there is no need to prepare for the visit it is a good idea to have a think about it in advance in order to let staff be clear in their minds about in what ways they receive and provide the kind of professional support expected of them. The chat was very informal and the assessor was expert at getting the information he needed out of people!

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Just finished my Accreditation and I must say it went well. The good thing that came out of it was that I now have filed everything away in a manageable format which I can now add to. I had everything already but found copying everything into a portfolio laborious but it focused me on getting all my paperwork in order rather than it lying around on floors, in files, in cupboards, on the computer, kitchen worktop and in the toilet - somehow makes for a quiet place in my house!! I understand that the portfolio may now be changing, but will keep it going. Is anyone else this disorganised - or is it just me. So I did not do anything extra for it apart from typing up an exit interview form, (thanks for the website I found on FSF) We already had an excellent Ofsted inspection so don't know what we will do with the accreditation but it's there.

 

I must say I thought that Ofsted would use the accreditation scheme as a way of not having to inspect so often or in such detail but I suppose that with the recent publicity regarding nurseries etc. they have to be seen to be ensuring the standards are upheld and I am all for spot checks. I think if you are operating in accordance with the National Standards then I cannot see anyone having a problem with this.

 

Nikki

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im a big fan of quality assurance schemes, nearly finished the one in my setting, hard work but worth it.

 

i am a bit bias, used to mentor for the kitemark!

 

i always told my settings that quality assurance was above and beyond ofsted, and therefore worth having.

 

it looks like it will become compulsory, and here they are already taking about having to do it to except funding.

 

we had a good ofsted last sept, although in norfolk, we've now had to complete a self review this jan, as ofsted isn't again for 2-4 years, think we have to do it yearly. its a bit like a short (8 page) quality scheme/action plan/ review etc. don't know if any other areas have to do this, i know norfolk is often used to guinea pig new and bright ideas!

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Dear Ruthie,

Surrey also operate a self Evaluation scheme too and an individual development programme, which is designed around the outcomes (satisfactory, good etc) of your Ofsted report.

Not too sure what this "development" entails as yet as I have not received my development programme yet. Hope it does not involve too much work/paperwork otherwise I will never get around to organising the daily routines of the group.

Nikki

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In Scotland we have to use something called 'The Child at the Centre' for self evaluation. If anyone is remotely interested it can be found here! Once up and running it doesn't really take too long and doesn't involve masses of paperwork. :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

Our nursery is progressing through the quality assurance scheme and i think it is well worth doing if you all take part with the eight modules. We have just completed module three which has been all about "working as a team"

 

I think it helps your setting develop new ideas and will show the OFSTED inspectors that your setting works really hard to maintain quality childcare.

 

I must admit there is alot of work that comes with it but if you keep on top of it there should be no problems. I'm all for it. :)

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I have just started a "Kitemark" quality assurance scheme ( free in my area) and I am also a big fan of quality assurance schemes, previously being an assessor.

 

One reason why Ofsted has not decided to have regard to these schemes is on the issue of eaquality of opportunity, the schemes have developed at different rates around the country but is not fully accessable to everyone yet ( including cost implications). With this in mind it would not be fair to settings unable to access any scheme at this time.

 

I have just started module 5, which in my scheme is for the manager to complete, ( 4 other modules are a true team effort), staff will have input to it because it is about ethos, aims and objectives, systems, finance etc. From what some of you have said it looks like it will be a valuable process toward an "Investor in People" award.

 

Quality assurance "schemes" have Investor in Children status. So in a few years we will have "Invested in everybody" :o:DxD

 

Ofsted have taken on board some of the ethos of Quality assurance by developing a more focused viewpoint on "self evaluation, review and development" of settings. This acknowledges the "diversity" of providers.

At the end of the day we all strife to "be the best that we can be". I see any scheme that enables us to value what we already do and develop from this point is worthwhile.

 

Although at the beginning of my scheme I can already see that it will benefit my work through organising systems that enable me to "Prove and measure" quality.

 

We are very lucky in this professional field that we do not have to pay £1,000's of pounds for business consultants etc and have "Mentors" -(professional developers) to support and guide us in our aim for quality. Lots of other businesses / service providers don't have free or low cost access to this.

 

I feel really positve about the whole thing, :D:D and I believe it will raise my confidence in my own abilities which was taken away from me by a negative Ofsted experience.

 

Peggy

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We too have just started our QA scheme. I am finding we already have a lot of things in place and now need to go through filling in the gaps. Our first section is play and learning and we had our assessor in on Tuesday for about 2 hours. She found so much and we have been able to tick lots of the evidence boxes already.

I am very confident that this will only enhance the provision we make and quite frankly we are doing it for ourselves and the parents and children rather than OFSTED anyway.

Linda

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Just wondered if you have alll seen the supplement "nursery business" that came with this weeks nursery world??

 

An interesting article on inspections - a sort of question and answer session!

 

One question relates to QAS and the answer says:

 

"Ofsted will make reference in its inspection report to membership of any quality assurance system endorsed by Investors in Children. Where providers are members of usch a scheme, this will usually reflect in their practice and is likely to improve the grade they receieve from the inspections"

 

Overall an interesting two page article worth reading!

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Thanks for that Geraldine-I wondered when it would be available. For all interested people you can find it here.

I have to say there is not much to it-I thought it would be a bit more comprehensive than just 2 pages.

Linda

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