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Just had our Ofsted inspection today - inspector wanted to track one particular child - and asked the manager to watch me in adult focused activity - I had to know the next steps for each child who joined the activity - show enhancements - and then after the manager was asked to say whether my activity hit unsatisfactory, satisfactory, good or outstanding - with teaching as the key theme - OMG - she had observed the target child and then looked at whether my next steps for learning in each of the areas was right as per her observation of the child - still need to go to sleep in a dark room after this morning.

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We are a pre-school who just keep to the funding - no extra charges - we did very well but never had an inspection like this so different than any other focus was was on teaching - I always thought we were facilitators - level 3 was not enough - lucky I have just got BA Honours but OMG - spoken to a few friends of mine who are in reception and they could not believe - anyone else had this experience under new inspection?

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was the inspector a nursery orientated inspector - we have had some who have obviously had no contact with a pre-school and only worked within a nursery which i feel is totally different - she wanted letter formation, letter recognition etc which is against what we do unless child led x

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heck, think I would need more than a lie down after that. sounds horrendous, not sure how my staff would handle that kind of indepth observation, may have to try a few 'practice' ones with them. Why would they expect you to know the next steps of all the other children? your own key children I can understand but not all the others

 

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heck, think I would need more than a lie down after that. sounds horrendous, not sure how my staff would handle that kind of indepth observation, may have to try a few 'practice' ones with them. Why would they expect you to know the next steps of all the other children? your own key children I can understand but not all the others

I have been hearing about inspectors expecting senior management to know where all the setting children are in terms of their learning and development and a having a good grasp of how all the children are being 'moved on' in terms of their development, so not specifics but a robust understanding and awareness/ general overview of .... anyone else finding this?

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We had our inspection in feb and had exactly the same experience. Several members of staff were asked about next steps for all the children, asked about differentation and extending actvities. As the manager i undertook a joint observation of one member of staff undertaking an adult focus activity and was asked to discuss how i felt the actvity had gone, what the next steps were, how the member of staff has ensured she was including all children, what the children had learnt including any unexpected outcomes. the insepctor then spoke to the member of staff to ask similar questions . she was a junior member of staff so that was really nerve racking for her and then the inspector talked about her observations. we all had similar lines of thoughtsand the outcome was good.

 

my deputy and i have worked with children for 13 years and have never had such an intense inspection .

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To add to my last post, i have just remmbered that the inspector even questionned two work experince students - aged 15 on the settings procedures regrding safeguarding, fire evacuation and first aid on their second day of theri placement . and she spoke to every parent she could get hold of as well- even those who tried to run out of the door- lol

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firstly dot well done for getting through this ...does sound a bit OTT, am wondering whether you and skinnybird had the same inspector??

The problem i have with things like this is why inspections are not all run on the same footing....how can we be judges on the same criteria (which seems to be different for each inspector) if we do not know what inspectors are looking for and the levels they want us to meet? How can they say setting are outstanding if we don't know what outstanding is?

It's like a sort of game where we don't know the rules ...no wonder we all get so wound up about inspections!

There has to be more clarity on this ...it drives me a bit bonkers! :blink:

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Similar experiences with staff obs, then feeding back, and 3 of us being asked asked about the same child, ours also spent a good hour questioning the chair ( which became our not outstanding because statement felt committee needed to be more aware of their roles and responsibilities under new eyfs ) yet another setting I know was only asked to check their list of committee members and didn't even ask to speak to any members.....so inconsistent still :/

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firstly dot well done for getting through this ...does sound a bit OTT, am wondering whether you and skinnybird had the same inspector??

The problem i have with things like this is why inspections are not all run on the same footing....how can we be judges on the same criteria (which seems to be different for each inspector) if we do not know what inspectors are looking for and the levels they want us to meet? How can they say setting are outstanding if we don't know what outstanding is?

It's like a sort of game where we don't know the rules ...no wonder we all get so wound up about inspections!

There has to be more clarity on this ...it drives me a bit bonkers! :blink:

 

But all the Ofsted documentation is on the website - all of it! Inspectors must use the inspection schedule so all the gradings are clearly spelled out for anyone to see. As is the document on conducting inspections...ie it tells them they must track at least 3 children and look at how well children are taught and do joint observations if possible. Don't settings/managers routinely use these kinds of things with staff to see what Good or Outstanding look like and what inspection will focus on? - this is very established practice in my world of school inspections.

 

They may have different lines of inquiry if they see or hear things, and from their pre inspection planning based on previous inspection outcomes/SEF if available etc which will vary but the general process is the same. They may choose to do a particular thing like talk to committee if they have concerns on something picked up elsewhere during the day..in another setting there may not be concerns so no need to do so for example. It's not to catch you out, it might be to confirm an outstanding judgement forming though their other activity!!!

 

By the way, they can often ask the newest staff member about safeguarding because this will check the robustness of your induction processes.

 

Cx

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but they clearly dont do exactly the same to gain that evidence listed on the schedules....if you read what is added to reports saying what was undertaken during inspection it isnt always the same, and talking to other managers we clearly dont experience the same levels of observations and intensity.

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I printed off this thread as it stood at 7am this morning and took it into work with me - this prompted some lively discussion and some research - docs as uploaded by catma - I have these in my setting at all times and have passed copies to staff - my staff are absolutely fabulous and very skilled - but they do need a little extra nudge at times to read 'stuff'......

 

So thanks again dot :1b

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I went to a 'how to get an outstanding ofsted result' conference on Tuesday and the inspector said - its all about baslines and tracking childrens progress, talking to all staff about their key children and doing a jointt observation on quality of teaching that they see.Also if they see staff hiding they will be questioned so ensure that all staff are confident to speak to inspectors and used to being observed (peer obs) She also said DO your online SEF as it gives the inspector a head start before she comes in :P

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We had our inspection last week. Was very intense, spent the whole morning observing children and the setting, watched us all have lunch together then spoke to me as manager for 1 hour. Did a quick joint ob of staff doing activity, which went rather wrong!! Bad time of day. She left at 3.15, half an hour after the children!! It was a bit of a rush to get packed away before the village hall was needed for the next person.

 

We have been working very hard to improve the setting as we took over from another one in september. but were surprised to find out at the inspection that as a new setting we would not be Outstanding as they can no longer give new settings this grading as there is no former assesment to mark it against! so have to wait for 3 years now to hopefully get that grading next time.

 

lardylady

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That;s interesting Lardylady,as One of the settings I support just got outstanding at its first inspection since opening in October. So it is possible, I wonder if that is down to personal feeling of the specific inspector?

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Catma, they obviously dont follow the same criteria at all, you just have to read the difference that peeps on here are saying to see that or talk to other setting managers. The posts above me bare that out dont they, how can one inspector say that a new group cannot get outstanding and another give an outstanding?

Although my group is yet to be inspected under the revised EYFS I have been through five Ofsted inspections all with different inspectors all with different view points. There are most definitely those that are pro playgroup/community groups and those that really dont understand at all how they work and what limitations they may work under.

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That;s interesting Lardylady,as One of the settings I support just got outstanding at its first inspection since opening in October. So it is possible, I wonder if that is down to personal feeling of the specific inspector?

 

Well to be honest I was quite surprised to hear this, but she was very specific and said they were "not allowed" to give an outstanding to a new setting. I'm not saying that we would have got that anyway, but I have read some ofsted reports where they have had " excellent" and "outstanding" in the text but were given a good. It's all very confusing and I wish they would make up their minds!!!

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Well to be honest I was quite surprised to hear this, but she was very specific and said they were "not allowed" to give an outstanding to a new setting. I'm not saying that we would have got that anyway, but I have read some ofsted reports where they have had " excellent" and "outstanding" in the text but were given a good. It's all very confusing and I wish they would make up their minds!!!

 

I think this needs to be clarified by Ofsted....surely the gradings of inspection are designed to be indicators of quality, ie relative to all settings, not just relevant to individual settings in isolation. I think this inspector has got the wrong end of the stick and should be reported to Ofsted so the misunderstanding can be redressed.

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Although my group is yet to be inspected under the revised EYFS I have been through five Ofsted inspections all with different inspectors all with different view points. There are most definitely those that are pro playgroup/community groups and those that really dont understand at all how they work and what limitations they may work under.

This is what worries me too, being pack away with quite a strict group of landlords how can they judge us the same as a purpose built nursery down the road? We cant free flow properly, have displays up, have sand, water, painting out every session, dig in the garden, just because of our constraints - we work around problems as best we can, but the environment is nowhere near like purpose built.

The inspector may wish to talk at the end of the session but if we arent packed away and gone within the 30 mins we are allocated they would be sharing the hall with the WI ladies, who would not be impressed, they wouldn't give 'a stuff' about an Ofsted inspector - where would that leave us?!!

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This is what worries me too, being pack away with quite a strict group of landlords how can they judge us the same as a purpose built nursery down the road? We cant free flow properly, have displays up, have sand, water, painting out every session, dig in the garden, just because of our constraints - we work around problems as best we can, but the environment is nowhere near like purpose built.

The inspector may wish to talk at the end of the session but if we arent packed away and gone within the 30 mins we are allocated they would be sharing the hall with the WI ladies, who would not be impressed, they wouldn't give 'a stuff' about an Ofsted inspector - where would that leave us?!!

 

Thumper - try not to worry - I know that's easier said than done :blink: but honestly any inspector should ask about time for feedback and should also understand that in a shared use building you won't be able to stay for any extra time.......

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its very unfair and i did say this to inspector on Tuesday - still so subjective ...... a setting gets an inad whilst a home setting gets a gd (i could tell you which had best paperwork in place - it wasnt the good grade) :ph34r:

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But all the Ofsted documentation is on the website - all of it! Inspectors must use the inspection schedule so all the gradings are clearly spelled out for anyone to see. As is the document on conducting inspections...ie it tells them they must track at least 3 children and look at how well children are taught and do joint observations if possible. Don't settings/managers routinely use these kinds of things with staff to see what Good or Outstanding look like and what inspection will focus on? - this is very established practice in my world of school inspections.

 

They may have different lines of inquiry if they see or hear things, and from their pre inspection planning based on previous inspection outcomes/SEF if available etc which will vary but the general process is the same. They may choose to do a particular thing like talk to committee if they have concerns on something picked up elsewhere during the day..in another setting there may not be concerns so no need to do so for example. It's not to catch you out, it might be to confirm an outstanding judgement forming though their other activity!!!

 

By the way, they can often ask the newest staff member about safeguarding because this will check the robustness of your induction processes.

 

Cx

Thanks for the info Catma. It is only because of this forum that i keep informed (thanks all!) Now that information is not sent to us it is difficult to keep up to date with everything there is online and to be honest as manager, keyworker etc etc i find it tricky to find the time to read it all. I still stick to my original post though that it is like playing a game. I have been inspected many times (3 times last year alone!!) each has been VERY different and some inspectors do not stick to their schedules...i know this because we have put in official complaints about an inspection previously (and had the inspection redone because of it!!). Even in the info you have posted it tells the inspector that they might offer a joint observation but they have to be mindfull of the groups needs and that it should not take the manager away from working with the group...as a member of staff this would be an issue for me. The document suggests i have the right to refuse...though i'm not sure how that would be seen by the inspector!!

I dont think many pre-schools do lots of peer observations but as i've said previously it is something i would like to develop. I believe it's not something i do in my setting regularly because our teaching is so flexible it is done on the spur of the moment often and does not follow some pre-recorded plan but goes with the ideas and thoughts of the children at the moment. Yes they all have next steps ...we all know where they need to 'go' but the road to that target is not mapped out.

I observe my setting regularly...in fact all the time!! i am on the floor...there is one room (and a garden!) my staff all know what i expect of them and i am right there watching them (unlike the head of a school) if i see something i think is good i tell them...if i think they can improve i tell them, surely this route to outstanding is just as good??

I can see however that this sort of observation is going to be the way things go...so i will add it to my long and ever growing list of jobs and hope that i still have time to play with the children !

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Hi All, have enjoyed reading the replies and have now come out of the dark room and enjoying a glass of vino on a Friday night.

 

The point I want to get across is the level of knowlede the Ofsted Inspector wanted - we can all go on the Ofsted web and know what they are looking for, we all fill in the SEF - but there is a big but here - at no time did the ofsted inspector look at the wow moments that my staff had supported in childrens play during the session - it was I who had to point it out, she was only interested in the planned focused activities - I said to her "look at those boys who are drawing and mark making and then using scissors to cut out their creations" - that has come from their interest in superheros. She was only interested in what we had planned for ie the teaching experience, whereas our preivious ofsted in the old eyfs was more to do with the here and now and how practitioners were supporting and extending play.

 

Also, she highlighted children's starting points in a big way - we usually only assess children after they have been with us for 6 weeks until they are happy to be left and the learning takes place, in future her recomendation is home visits for all children to make base line assessments ie we know where each child is in their development and we can identify any special educational need ie splt before the child starts.

 

Would just like to say more money please Prime Minister !!

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Finleysmaid - agree so much with your post - we share all the time at pre-school, and I am the first to say to others I could of done that better, we reflect all the time which is what early years is about reflection and changing practice to the need of the children we care and educate. However, this information now needs to be formal and documented to show evidence, our evidence box is going to be massive for our next inspection.

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