Jump to content
About Us



Recommended Posts

Hi all have started a new thread in case my post gets lost as some are older on here.


I know SEF is a personal thing and no one can write them for you but I am trying to condense mine as I was told it was too big. I am struggling to get the balance between reflecting and trying to sell my setting!!! (I also hate the job and will admit to small amounts of procrastination and avoidance :ph34r: )


I just wonder whether I am writing things in too much depth and in the wrong places.!!! for example in section 3 that relates to meeting children's needs I have written about planning, observation, assessment, SEN children, parents input, training, resources, policies and behaviour management. (that was all the uncondensed version - can you tell,?) but was also think should I have touched on prime and specific more directly?


I just find making it more a bullet point affair seems to require me to take loads of stuff out and yet there is not doubt that at the moment it is a too huge document to be used for effective reflections so it becomes just an Ofsted exercise. :blink:


Can I ask how other people are getting on? what they think about the above points? who done what and how I guess?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hiya - yes very similar to you in that section......


I have written about - our enabling environment - our continuous provision - enhancements to continuous provision - building on children's interests - individual planning - characteristics of effective learning - behaviour - Learning Journey folders + what they contain - progress tracking......


Just 9 lines.


Don't have the foggiest whether this is enough or not :blink: xD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest SueV

We have just started ours again! At the moment we have used mainly bullet points as I agree it is too bulky otherwise. I am going to show it to our SIP when she comes in a couple of weeks and see what her reaction is. I really think there should be more guidance on this as we are obviously going to have many different ways of doing it. We have not finished it by any means but just concentrating on one part at a time as to get all the staff together to do it in one hit is impossible. I do wish the powers that be would perhaps realise that we do have a life outside of the pre-school setting! I spent almost the whole of the Bank Holiday weekend putting our Self-Evaluation folder together which is the latest brainwave from Kent. it is actually very useful and not unlike the Operational file that we have but gives a whole list of things to include which is very useful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine wants a copy of my current SEF before she comes on Monday ha ha! Looking at it on the Ofsted site it's a right old mess, so I have begun re-doing it, but it's not fit to be seen!




I have been looking at some of the latest Ofsted reports seeing how they are using their wording and what they have been looking at, have been looking into a couple of magazine articles, one particularly by Sue Cowley in Teach Nursery (Issue 33) she suggests Give a statement of fact about one of your setting's strengths, i.e. "As a setting we have an ongoing commitment to helping children build their physical strength and stamina. We encourage them to enjoy regular participation in sports and in other physical and creative movement activities. support this statement with evidence, so As part of this commitment we:

  • Have a weekly visit from a specialist children's yoga movement based around children's stories
  • run an annual sports day
  • have developed an outdoor area with space for playing on ride- on toys

Then go on to develop the point by making links to aspects of your provision or talk about how you would sustain this strength in future, i.e. we are keen to widen the variety of physical activities we offer to match each child's needs ........ following a discussion with parents....... we are going to.........."

Edited by Panders
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's really interesting Panders - think in light of that I might need to completely re-think mine :o :blink: xD


I too have a SIP visit next week - will see what she has to say about mine! :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi everyone


spoke to someone from children's centre yesterday and they said keep the war and peace if you want and use this as evidence back up. Then do an overview SEF where you have brief paragraph/section about overview of practice, then have a bullet pointed section on evidence then another bullet pointed section on the impacts . then obviously last bit bullet pointed actions for improvement. Kind of made sense so think I will give it a go!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yes seems so, or at least that is one way! you send the SEF overview as the on-line bit to Ofsted keep this bit as the 'working document' the war and peace bit stays in a file with the overview as further evidence and you can refer to it in the overview. So you might say for more in-depth explanation about this see detailed SEF or whatever you want to call it. Thought it made the fact I had written it not feel such a waste.


I guess the other option would be to scrape it you don't have to save it but I just can't bring myself to!!!! :o:ph34r:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I've spent most of this half-term break either working on or avoiding the SEF, primarily the latter

- yesterday evening I cut down a big shrub!


I put so much time on the old version and so much on this one, but only yesterday morning I realised

(thanks to you Panders and Johanna!) that I have: 1. described what we do, not evaluated, and

2. that it's too long. (Hence the need to grab the loppers and saw.)


Am I perhaps wrong in saying that the examples in another SEF thread, which some members kindly

shared, are misleading because they also are descriptive and long?


Waking up with an aching body I'm having another go at it. (Though I'm very tempted to clear away

a patch of nettles with the scythe!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi - I would definitely deal with the nettles! xD


My SIP thought and I quote "you are selling yourself short in your SEF" - think mine is probably too 'brief' :blink: not looking at again for a while - well might scribble a few notes on it but that's it :D

Edited by sunnyday
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Again, it's one of those things that depends on who you get advice from. Our sip said be descriptive as the inspector won't see everything that you do. .........

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Again, it's one of those things that depends on who you get advice from. Our sip said be descriptive as the inspector won't see everything that you do. .........


Yes, I think that's really good advice there Cait! :1b

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if this will be helpful but my latest advice was to use bullet points more effectively and also think about impact rather than on what I think I had done before and which was describe what we do.


What I did for example then was to say ok views of others section we have our parent questionnaire but what was the impact - so I put questionnaire sent out ..... this many responses and the impact was this many parents are happy with our provision, this many think our activities are effective... and so on (although I must confess I have done a more detailed report of this and put it on file so I could just say see report in this file in the SEF)


I also in mine think I had fallen into the trap of writing the SEF as if someone who knew nothing was reading it and again therefore over explained, so I changed this to writing knowing that Ofsted would know what I mean. I cut out the repetition as well so if I had written it before I either cut it out all together or just said see the other section for details.


I still have a much bigger SEF than one page per section but it is less than before, more or a working document and easier to use effectively rather than it just being a process for Ofsted.


Does that help??

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It does, thanks! Particularly, for me, about over-explaining as I hadn't thought about that.

I started to rewrite everything when I realised the other day that I should focus on impact.

What I do, based on different advice and guidance, is to follow this list for every aspect:


1. statement of strength, as a heading

2. description of strength - what we do

3. evidence to support the statement - why we know it is a strength

4. impact - an evaluation and reflection on this aspect of our provision

5. development - how to improve this aspect of our provision further


Do you think I'm getting it right? Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did something similar wildflowers what I did was:


1. brief overview of our practice in this particular area/section

2. evidence of this practice as bullet points with a statement of impact after each point

3. things to improve again bullet pointed and reference to any reports/action plans etc.. that link to improvements and which file this can be found in.


it is still a work in progress hate the SEF and think it will always be a work in progress :ph34r: however this is a copy of my section two if any one wants to read, its as far as I have got and probably still too long lol :o :


Section 2 – The views of those who use our setting

Overview of our practice

At XXXXXXX staff work closely with parents/carers and the wider community including other professionals at all times. Dialogue between staff and parents is constant and a safe culture has been nurtured in order that parents feel able to discuss their children’s progress and offer their views on the setting with ease and with confidence. The staff and committee welcomes support from all XXXXXX families, this may take the form of helping with fundraising, parent rota within sessions or visiting XXXXXXXX to share information or a talent with the children. We value and encourage families and members of the local community to share their culture, profession and experiences to further the children's opportunities to learn about the wider community. The manager consistently takes time to speak to parents, both formally and informally and has worked hard to engender a sense of a joint partnership.

Staff views and feedback are essential to the successful running of XXXXXXX. The committee acknowledges the professional status of all staff and welcomes opinions warmly. The XXXXXX Manager, in particular, is expected to work alongside the chairperson and committee to continue to improve the provision and takes the lead in the day to day running of XXXXXX. The staff are expected to be self-motivated and self-directed, with a degree of autonomy, with regard to ongoing improvement of XXXXXXXX.

We believe that it is extremely important for the children attending the setting to feel heard and have sense of ownership within their XXXXXXXX and their views of XXXXX are imperative to its successful running. They are given a voice through the daily running of the setting and the structure of the sessions are heavily influenced by children’s interests to implement free flow play. All resources are as accessible as possible on a daily basis. Children have access to their learning journey’s on a daily basis and will often look through them with parents and staff. This reliving of their experiences, helps staff to listen to what children enjoy and what they find difficult. These responses help us take account of children’s views and make sure the learning environment we provide remains a place that is meaningful to the children in our care.

The setting is responsive to the need of the community that it serves and we feel that our community is happy with the quality of our service which is shown through the numbers on role being high, children’s attendance which is good and the numbers of families requesting places for their children next term are high.

Our links within a multi-agency framework are strong and we enjoy a good reputation and working relationship within this framework ensuring vulnerable children’s needs are identified and met quickly and efficiently.


Practice in place for taking account of parents views

· Parents make up the committee which governs the running of the setting see leadership section for more details and impacts.

· All families are encouraged to visit XXXXXX before joining to get a feel for what we do and the positive friendly atmosphere we aim to provide. Impact - Parents can talk through any concerns they may have, or specific requirements they may need with the Manager. Most parents (about 99%) attend visitor sessions.

· Termly open days are provided for parents to discuss their children's development, offer any ideas and thoughts they may have on the running of the pre-school and mix with other parents. Impact – Parent attendance fluctuates each term but generally these are well supported. Alternative arrangements are made for those families who cannot make these sessions.

· Staff are available at the beginning and end of every session for any queries or problems parents may have on a day to day basis. Impact – strong partnership with parents

· Questionnaires asking for specific feedback on our service including a three stars and a wish approach that asks for three things we do well and one improvement we could make, 9/32 parents responded. Impact –returned questionnaires (along with informal feedback at termly open mornings, and discussions held before and after session) illustrate that the children and families are happy with the provision we provide. See evaluation of questionnaire in PILL file for in-depth feedback. Summary will be made available through newsletter along with any actions to be taken or questions/queries answered.

· We encourage parents to sign up for parent rota enabling them to take part in the sessions, see how they run and generally get experience of the pre-school. Impact – parental up-take for these session are very poor.

· News letters are sent to parents, both electronically and paper copy where appropriate. Articles of interest and important information and dates are just some of the things that make up the newsletter helping to inform parents of the kinds of things their children are experiencing at pre-school. Impact – some parents are not receiving the newsletter and therefore missing some important dates

· Parents suggestion box available daily in porch. Impact –views on improvements to practice, or praise for what we already do, or concerns about other children can be given anonymously by parents, at present this is not really used.

· Initial information and termly update forms are completed by parents to inform learning journeys. Impact – Parents views and knowledge of children are used to help complete the assessment process, take account of children’s views/interests/needs/requirements to inform planning and key person gains a holistic picture of children’s development.

· Complaints are dealt with efficiently and in line with policies, recent complaint made in writing was resolved to the satisfaction of both parties by written communications with the manager. Impact - action taken logged in complaints file this provided more evidence for improvement area see action plan in improvement file.

Staff and student views

· Monthly committee meetings are held, with representatives from the staff – see minutes of meetings Impact - Regular committee and staff meetings ensure ideas and issues relating to the running of the pre-school to be discussed quickly and efficiently– see minutes of meetings.

· Early appraisals held and supervision and mentoring meetings undertaken in the Autumn and Spring term in line with the new EYFS requirements – see staff mentoring file. Impact – staff and students have opportunities to confidentially discuss any impairments to practice, concerns they may have about staff, parents or children, highlight training opportunities and discuss improvements that could be made to practice.

· Staff meetings are held every month and planning is completed as a team once a week. Impact – strong partnership and team working to stay responsive to individual and groups of children and their families – see planning and staff meeting minutes.

· All staff have been involved in the writing of the SEF. Impact – staff have an active voice in reflecting and improving the pre-school.

Children’s views

· Daily access for children to learning journeys. Impact - These times are vital for children to remember and relive things they have enjoyed and the informal discussions they have with staff take account of their views by asking relevant questions in an informal basis to collect their thoughts, ideas and favourite activities within the setting. This informs planning – see planning, key person overviews, learning journeys and next steps.

· Children are actively encouraged to participate in creating and maintaining the rules outlining the desired conduct during session time. Impact – children’s ideas are developed and valued and they take ownership of their pre-school.

· Planning of activities is lead by the children’s interests and what they enjoy in order that they get the most out of the Pre-school sessions – see planning. Impact – The learning environment we provide remains a place that is meaningful and responsive to the children in our care.

Outside agency views

· Reports on our provision and the quality of our provision by XXXXXXXXX from the children’s centre who did a visit. Impact – see action plan in PILL file.

· Ofsted report – see PILL file

Things to improve:

· Recent visits from XXXXXXX identified improvements to print in the environment and some improvements to specific resource access – see action plan in PIL file.

· Area for improvement identified through children on early action and early action plus with additional behavioural needs- see improvement file.

· Parent rota uptake – committee member to be identified to promote this with parents

· New emails address being taken to make sure we have a current list improving the distribution of the newsletter.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Johanna for your section 2. If you write as much for the other sections the whole text

will be very long. SEFs shared in another thread are long too, as mine was before (though not

as well written).


Possibly I'm so tired of it all from processing too much information at a time of the year when

my brain isn't up to it (doing it in the autumn would be very different), so I don't know if I feel

an urge to be radical from reaction or insight. My latest thinking is that the impact (that word

again!) on an Ofsted inspector would be greater if the SEF was brief.


In my opinion an inspector should observe and ask questions. We all got written polices, procedures,

practises and plans anyway, where things are described. One of all those documents is our develop-

ment plan. We don't need the SEF for anything. I know it's not statutory, but I don't want to take

the risk to get a lower grade at an inspection than we would if we had one. However, I can see the

point, for the purpose of the inspection, of listing all our strengths with some comments to 'guide

their eyes' on the day.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)