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Has anyone actually had a complete No Notice Inspection?

 

We are a sessional Pre School in a church hall. We are about a mile away from our nearest primary school (who were last *Ofsteded* in 2004). So we will have no notice at all - but we haven't heard of anyone else having the Inspector turn up with no notice? do they actually do that?

 

All the Pre Schools in our local area, although Independently run by parent committees are on school grounds and are recieving notice along with the school. One Pre School, recently had notice on the Thursday of one week, for the Inspection to take place on the foloowing Thursday!! - needless to say, all their staff were busy, busy, busy for the days leading up to the Inspection!

 

We go to work every morning thinking - is today the day? Does anyone else?

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Sorry if it's not what you want to hear but the answer is yes! OFSTED inspectors literally rang the doorbell.

 

However, in my case they chose to come on the one day we did not open! (Even though they had been notified of days/hours of opening.

 

My manager got a phone call at home asking why the preschool was closed as the inspector was there to inspect. OFSTED said they would 'come another day'. They reappeared about 4 or 5 days later.

 

There was a feeling that 'they could arrive at any time' but overall I found it much better than previous inspections when we knew exactly when they were coming,

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Sorry happened to us too!! A man, a lady with black briefcase and smiling faces sent fear through us , just turned up as the parents were arriving, really knocked us and you know what its like you panic over things that are nothing to worry about usually, just that feeling of being under scrutiny!! :(

 

Also we are one of three sites that are scattered in local villages and two of the three have had the visit, so now I am mainly based at the third site which has not received the visit, the others were 3 yrs almost to the day!! `Ours is due in November, so yes, basically we go in every day from now until they come thinking is today the day!! :wacko: xD

Still keeps us on our toes, but must admit we are stressed at the thought of their arrival, we know were are doing everything ok but our focus has moved from the children to the paperwork more - I feel that the pressure of being uptogether with it all has taken away our energy and time with the children, what a shame :o wonder if Ofsted realise that can happen, makes you feel like thinking sod the paperwork lets think about the children more and the time we spend with them, but seemingly we have to justify what we are doing by recording it in all means of ways,

 

still love my job though - we're all mad :(:(

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Yep - us too. We were inspected in February. the inspector turned up at 9:30 a.m. (the session doesn't begin until 11:30 a.m!) she wanted to observe how we handled the change over and welcomed the children.

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Hi

We are also awaiting ours and our three years is also up in Nov! One question I keep getting mixed answers on though from people in other settings is do they only turn up term time to do a full inspection?? I know they will want to do inspection on the pre school side but is this only when the funded children are in? If so then we can relax a bit over the summer hols if they don't turn up in the next 3 weeks and make sure we are fully prepared for the sept term start.

 

Can't wait to get ours over and done with now :o

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Guest MaryEMac

It's two years to the week, next week and every morning I wonder if it will be today!! We are on a school site but committee run and the school was done after Easter but we weren't. I suppose it is better that they just turn up but it's torture waiting to see if this is the day. :o

 

Mary

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Yes - no notice at all and only 14 months since the last which apparently should have been integrated and wasn't. It worked well for us, no one had time to stress about it.

 

Al

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Hi all!

 

Can I just ask a question... I was under the impression from the briefing sessions I have attended both with Ofsted and PVI providers that the slate was effectively 'wiped clean' when the new inspection/Every Child Matters reporting came into effect? Meaning that you would be inspected within the next three years, but it did not take into considerationwhen you were last inspected i.e. those that are saying they are 'due' may in effect not be inspected for another 2 1/2 years?

 

So, if you were inspected in the last year, you could get another one within months or it could be a whole three years. Equally, if you haven't been inspected for the last 2 or 3 years, it could still be another three years until your next inspection.

 

Does anyone have any information on this? I'll ask at work tomorrow to see what my colleagues think...

 

RB x

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Hello Myhen,

 

Yes the Ofsted Inspectors, do indeed turn up unexpected. I do know Ofsted will contact the Nursery/Pre School sometime before the inspection just to check if there are any specific days you would not be open, example a staff training day, so this would obviously not be a good day to do the inspection. This lets the Manager know there is an inspection pending, but then it is just a waiting game until the door bell rings. :o

 

In the past five years i have experienced 3 Ofsted inspections. One was in Europe.

I have experienced 2 here in England. In 2 different nurseries. Both were given a good standard for everything. One inspection was so stressful it caused staff to leave, but that was because of the manager putting ondue stress onto the staff. The second was so unstressful, i kept wondering, were we really having an Ofsted inspection. The manager in the second Ofsted Inspection was very relaxed and trusted her staff and as all the policies, procedures etc were always in place and being put into practice, she had nothing to worry about. The inspector was very pleasant, asked staff a few questions about child Protection, planning, how we support children with special needs. I have found as long as you have good practices in place and your staff are doing this and the policies etc are up to date and the children's needs are being met then there is nothing to worry about, yes it is a little unerving having someone watch you and take down notes about your nursery, but over all they are inspecting to make sure the children are being looked after well, if policies etc are not up to date, as long as you can show them a plan of what you are intending to do, they are usually ok. The inspectors are not out to catch you out or trip you up, they can make recommendations, which can be for the better sometimes. Maybe i have just been lucky and have had pleasant experiences with the inspections. I promise i don't work as an inspector or know anyone who is one xD

 

Hope all goes well for you.

Rosepetal :)

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Yes there doesn't seem to be any logical plan for their inspections, some around here have had two in two years, one under the new inspection criteria whereas others seem to have gone past their 3 year dates. All I am know is that I wait and whenever someone turns up in our car park - it could be then. I really feel for those people who get an Ofsted inspection late into this term - I know I would just hate it. Many of the children are ready to move on and beginning to outgrow the group and assert and make their mark, its very hot, staff are busy with end of term reports, meeting parents etc etc. all in all everyone is just a bit below par.

 

We have however, drawn up a plan for when they do arrive with regard to what equipment we will have out so at least we all know what we are doing. This will of course be blown into oblivion if they arrive half way through a session - ooh must make contingency plans.

 

We are lucky enough to have piles of resources and equipment and we obviously rotate these according to children's needs, wants and topics. But there are some things which we do not get out every day which we will ensure we do have out when Ofsted arrive - sounds as though we are cheating a bit but whilst we cannot demonstrate everything in one day we can demonstrate some of the resources we have, and how we work with them in practice, the ones that the children most enjoy and the ones that we know will capture their imagination. Of course we have picture evidence of all our equipment and resources but I think we all know that the children have favourites. If we put these out every day the children would tire of them so we will set up with equipment that we know works well. We have created plans for all our activities which can be used at any time so that stafff know exactly what is required of them, this then makes it less stressful for them and they can show their true colours without feeling under pressure. However, we will be led by the children on this.

 

For instance, we always have shaving foam, cornflour in our resources - we don't use it every day or every week but depending on what we are doing we will probably get one of these out when Ofsted come in. My adviser suggested that we get both sand and water out together - this is something that we don't always do but we will on Ofsted day - or at least do one one day and one on the second day. I think its worth just looking at what you plan to have out in addition to the specific resources for your topic planning or however you plan. It is stressful so the more prepared we are the better. Whatsmore it makes you think about what you are doing.

 

Nikki

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Hi Nichola,

I do agree with you, there are certain times when inspections add to stress levels in the staff. Next week we will be in the middle of a heat wave, possibly hitting 90 degrees, and no amount of planning will allow for staff and children getting too hot and lethargic. I hope no one has to go through an inspection here in Essex next week. Where i am hopefully it will be ice pops and paddling pool time with parasols and lots of sun cream. Its a good idea that you have suggested having a back up plan and putting out activities which might not usually go out that day, i always keep photographic evidence of lots of our activities and even of the wall displays. Our children who are ready for starting school in September are at that low par stage too, the inspections that i have been part of both happened during a september, when everyone is fresh back after the long summer holiday and raring to go with a new group of children.

 

Rosepetal

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Thanks everyone for your replies. So we wait for the doorbell to ring any time during the next 12 - 18 months (we were last inspected in 2004). I am sure we have got everything in place like planning sheets and policies, and like you, we try to capture evidence through photos etc. At the back of my mind I'm always thinking is there something which I've missed? I know that there shouldn't be, and this forum is great for keeping up to date with current legislation etc.

The new term sounds a great time to be *Ofsteded* if you can have a great time!?! all starting back fresh and eager to go. One of the Pre Schools in our local area was inspected on the last 2 days of term last time - how awful must that have been?

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My recent Inspection was 'no notice', they arrives at 10:30 am on the Monday.

 

I'd just like to say you need to keep your SEF's up to date. It seems, although not written as a requirement, that once a term is how regularly they should be done.

 

Peggy

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My inspectors arrived at 9.00 this morning and are coming back tomorrow. So at the moment we are still shell shocked. the only good thing is that by this time tomorrow it will be finished. Doesn't help that towmorrow I will have to hand out a letter to parents telling them that I have a child in hospital with menigitus the disease not the virus thank goodness. so panic will rain tomorrow. I don't think they liked it when they asked me what my numbers were like for September and I said very good, but it depends on what you give me as to whether I bother to open or not. If we get a bad revue again I will shut down as I can't be bother with the hassle any longer. feeling very tired and ...... don't know what any more.

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Thanks for that Peggy - our last SEF was done in the Spring Term (March), but I didn't realise they had to be reviewed so often.

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Hi Steph ........ how very comforting it is, NOT !!!!!!!!!, to know that they are just round the corner to me then.

 

Hope you are managing to keep yours calm in this heat and at this time of the term ......... I know I'm not !

 

What can I say other than all the best, hope all goes well, and if you need anything then just let me know!

 

Bye for now

 

Janice :o

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Thanks Janice

It waqs far from calm today. it didn't help that i had the health authority ring to say one of my children has menigitus!!!!!!!

Thank goodness he is holding his own and it is the disease not the viral form, but i can see a parent panic coming on tomorrow.

this time tomorrow it will all be over :oxD

I'm frantically trying to get together the paperwork that they need for tomorrow as I can't have it all at pre-school cos we don't have space.

talk to you tomorrow everyone and will let you know how it went. it will be make or break time!!!!!

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Steph, I totally empathise in how you feel, however much we try not to let it stress us, it does.

 

It is only because we are such contientious professionals that another persons judgement, especially Ofsted persons, affects us so much. There will be praise and there will be constructive critisism ( of which you may not agree with, but can't do much about because they see what they see on the day) and there will be judgements you will think are pedantic or not very useful or not very relevant in terms of your overall provision. You do your job for the children and the parents, if they are happy then I believe that is what really matters.

 

Chin up, do try to get some sleep and yes, it will all be over tomorrow. Do you get your feedback tomorrow? I had to wait 6 days for mine :o

 

The way you handle the Meningitis situation can only prove your professionalism in terms of coping 'under due stress'. I wish the child a speedy recovery and that you will find that the parents have full trust in you, they will show how much they value your knowledge and professionalism by coming to you for guidance / support about their fears. they wouldn't do that if they didn't trust that you know what you are doing. ( if you get what I mean). Have you got a contact number for the health Authority, offer this to the parents as a contact too.

 

Peggy

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thanks Peggy that was a really lovely post. luckily Ofsted went well. the feedback was in the afternoon after they had lunch, and I have to say they actually seemed human at the end of it :o It was the most positive one I have ever heard 2 inspectors give. to the point that we nearly missed the recommendations, because they were being so nice. The one thing that has annoyed me is out of 60+ parents they spoke to 4 and 2 of those gave us bad revues. one I'm really annoyed at after a year of listening to all her woes and even going round her house during the holidays to talk to her and put her mind at rest because her family problems with other familiy members was spilling in to pre-school, she had a cheek to say that the only time we ever speak to her is to tell her her child has been naughty. Her child is one of those that you don't mind loosing to another group type of child. You know the type if he was staying with us he would be on action plus. Also in the last year he has only attended 43 sessions. so I now have to get a letter done to safe guard myself that she can sign to say she was fully aware when she booked the government grant session she was told that she had to take them. We have given her prompts to tell her to turn up and been really sympathetic with all her problems. I'm beginning to think that maybe her family are right!!!!! the other parent never came in because she worked and we've only seen her since she had a new baby which is a few weeks old. The grandmother was smashing really nice but obviously didn't pass on information, because she told the inspectors she didn't know who her keyworker was!!!. still you can't win them all.

luckily we have only had to parents not come in due to the menegitus scare. It hasn't helped that the Menegitus trust is telling them to keep their children at home. so I will have to look into to their guidelines which are obviously different to the Health Authority.

We had a really layed back day to day so it was nice. I'm really pleased for my staff they have worked so hard in the last few months to turn things around.

So again thanks Peggy that was such a nice thing to say thanks again

Steph

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so glad it went well steph..what a releif its over... typical that the big o pick on 2 grumpy parents isnt it, but glad all was well in the end. :D

 

Congratulations you can relax now and have a large glass of something to celebrate. :D

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We had a full inspection without notice in February - although she did twell us whcih day she would be returning and gave me a list of things she hadnt but would like to see that day. I was up until one oclock in the morning befor she returned making sure I had everything in order. We review our SEF every half term at staff meetings. Much of my documnetation was in the process of being updated and so in draft form but she was happy with this. A lot of the preschools in my area have been inspected although some have not long had one all without notice.

 

Smiles

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Glad it's all over for you Steph, been loggin on and thinking of you, awaiting your outcome - well done :)

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:) Well done Steph - glad it all went well. What a nice relaxing summer you can all have now!

 

You are SO lucky that it's all over for you ........... I'm just sitting, waiting, dreading, etc. etc. 'cos I just KNOW they are coming to me. Well I don't actually KNOW that they're coming, but as I've written to them to extend my numbers per session, then I reckon there's a strong likelihood that they're going to!

 

Congrats again to you all! :D

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