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Annual Inspection


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

Our local Early Years Team who are responsible for Registering our Playgroup in NI have embarked on a Pilot Thematic Approach to the Annual Inspection Process. We had to attend a meeting on Monday past and were given an 18 page document to complete within one week. There were notes of guidance on how to fill it in and I basically have been working flat out for the past 4 nights at home writing up responses to each section. The Annual Inspection will focus on the Physical Environment and Safeguarding hence the idea of Thematic approach. When the Early Years Team of social workers receive our Self Evaluation Form on Monday they will then assign a specific social worker to conduct the Inspection who will ring us up and say that the actual Inspection will take place within 3 days from their phonecall - no date or time just expect us when you see us! They have to have all the local playgroups inspected by the end of March.

 

Now my question is this - when the Social Worker comes to visit what will actually happen?? We have a separate playroom, separate office, separate kitchen, separate storage room and separate toilets. We accompany our children to the toilet for handwashing after painting, before snack etc or to use the toilet with 1 volunteer walking back and forth between the bathroom and the playroom thus complying with the Safeguarding approach required under the Registration of our premises. All the administrative files - policies, risk assessments, children's observation and personal records are kept in locked cabinets in the office and I retain the key throughout the 2 1/2 hour session.

 

As the focus will be on the physical environment the Social Worker will obviously have to see our premises thoroughly both inside and outside including all the rooms mentioned above. Do I just let them wander about? If I accompany them and answer questions while doing so I am actually going against what our Safeguarding policy requires - ie we must remain with the children at all times. If the Social Worker remains in the room and starts firing questions at me how can I honestly keep my attention on answering these while at the same time trying to maintain order and attention to the children in the Playroom? Do I pull out all my files from the cabinet, leave them in my office and say to the Social Worker I will unlock the door and you can go through them as you like? Will this not go against all that I have written ie files are kept secure and locked and only accessible with the Playgroup Leader being present???

 

We are only open a year and I have never been through this before - there are 12 children present every day and 2 paid members of staff with 1 volunteer - we have 2 volunteers who do a rota system. Our Registration states our current ratio of staff to children is 1:8 with not less than 2 staff in any group.

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as our inspections are so very different to ours I doubt if many have had experience of what you are asking..

 

I would suggest having all you need up to date and at hand.. and go with the way they want to check everything on the day...

 

Our inspections are less often but no notice at all, not even a phone call they turn up any time, so the issues of ratios arise but they all know how to work with us ensuring they are kept.. most times longer conversations are help after sessions but possibly they may ask during session , while you have 3 of you and 12 children one of you having a chat with someone will still leave the others in the 1:8 ratio, as they are regular volunteers they can usually be included in ratio. and if you spot something while chatting say sorry but I have to... and deal with it returning once done..

 

as to the paperwork.. we used to leave it with the person checking and let them get on with it.. saying we were there to explain anything if they needed it..

 

Just ensure you check their ID on arrival and don't treat it as something they are trying to catch you out on.. they are there to ensure you are giving the best provision possible and I always looked on it as a way to improve my practice..

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When my Setting Improvement Partner our name for a Early Years Advisory Teacher) calls in for her termly visit, I have to make sure I am supernumerary that morning - why not see if both of your volunteers can work that morning, and as Inge suggests if you have to attend to an incident, do so, and return to your inspector, you will then be with the Inspector to go through any of the confidential files.

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