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Ofsted responses to some committee issues


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Helen and I had a very useful meeting last week at Ofsted HQ. We met with Gill Jones Ofsted’s Deputy Director of Early Education. Joining us via a telephone link were Dee Gasson, Principal Officer, Early Education at Ofsted and Dorothy Worrall who is Senior Manager, Early Years Policy at Ofsted.

We were invited to meet in person following our request for Ofsted input on the following threads: Ofsted confusion! and Chair/Manager Relationship and EY2. The threads had raised several issues for committee run settings and following our request for Ofsted input they were very keen to help.

The issues we raised were as follows:

  • Why was a change made that prevented a setting manager being the ‘nominated person’ for Ofsted purposes? This doesn’t make sense given that they know more about the setting that anyone else involved.

It was explained that this was to bring early years in line with schools. The Ofsted team explained that the registered provider should be viewed in the same way as a school governing body. They are ultimately responsible for the curriculum, the staff and everything that goes on in the provision including the appointment and discipline of staff. The nominated person is the representative to Ofsted of the registered provider. The manager cannot be the nominated person if they are not part of the registered provider because they cannot be responsible for the curriculum and for appointing and disciplining themselves (as a person that works for the registered provider). We found this easier to understand once we had viewed the registered provider as being equal to the governing body of a school. It made sense to view the nominated person as the ‘chair of governors’ and the setting manager as the school head teacher. Ofsted were clear that the manager can talk to Ofsted (as can the head teacher) but cannot hold overall responsibility if they are not part of the registered provider (the committee/ governing body)

  • Why is the DBS/EY2 system so complicated and why is the Ofsted online system so difficult? Everyone agreed that the system is tricky and that it was hard to navigate.

Ofsted assured us that it was being improved. Gill explained that the DBS was completed first as this was the part that took the most time, particularly if there was a check needed on the Metropolitan Police database as this is notoriously slow. Once the DBS is done and signed to the update service the EY2 can be processed by Ofsted reasonably quickly.

  • Were Ofsted aware that sometimes the process was so protracted that occasionally the committee personnel changed before the paperwork had been completed?

Ofsted are very aware that the process can be slow and frustrating and that committee members change frequently. Some of the meeting participants have personal experience of involvement with committee run groups and were sympathetic to the issues reported. There is clear intent on the part of Ofsted to improve this process.

  • Why did there appear to be inconsistencies in inspection judgements where some settings were heavily criticised (given an ‘inadequate’ judgement) for their lack of EY2 when some settings merely had it noted as a point for improvement in their next inspection (given a ‘good’ judgement)

Gill made it clear to us that it was the impact on children of any identified weakness that affected the inspection outcome. She explained that whilst she didn’t know the details of the inspections mentioned in the threads she might be able to make assumptions as to why the outcomes were so different. If committee members don’t have EY2 forms (and therefore have not been approved by Ofsted) and have very little contact with children and have no individual responsibility as part of the registered provider (i.e. they don’t hold responsibilities or designations) then the impact on children of their lack of EY2 is significantly less than a committee member who is regularly helping at the setting, has frequent contact with children and who is perhaps the committee member responsible for staffing or finance. This might lead to a different inspection outcome in each case. Gill was only speculating and did not have specific details of the inspections discussed on the threads


Both Helen and I came away feeling that Ofsted understood the issues we had raised and were very keen to stay in touch with us and listen to the concerns being raised on our threads.

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Yes it does make sense however comparing a committee to a governing body is not really practical. Governors are usually at school for at least 4 years (or more) We're lucky if we get two years. The comment on DBS & EY2 taking so long committee were ready to change is so true.

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