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Notice On Inspection


Gezabel
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Hi

 

I work in a small pre school and we have been notified that we are due to have our first combined inspection this month. As we are a small setting this creates potential staffing difficulties. I work as a part time deputy but to ensure that my manager is free to give her time to the Inspectors I have to work full time for this month as we have no idea which day the inspectors will arrive. This of course incurs extra financial expense in terms of my increased wages. In addition we have declined the offer of a place on a training course - again, "in case" the inspector turns up that day.

 

I am not suggesting a vast amount of notice but the inspectors must plan their workload and someone somewhere knows when he/she is due to visit my setting.

 

I have been prompted to post this message having spoken to an early years teacher who has been notified four weeks in advance of the exact date of her inspection even down to the precise time the inspector will arrive! This is also the case with a colleague working in a day nursery.

 

I wonder why pre-schools are treated differently? Any ideas welcome!!

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Yes it is unfair I know exactly what you mean Geraldine. Are their any days that other users have your premises promptly after you finish.. Are there any days that you have any planned visitors e.g. new parents, early years visitors. Have you already planned to take the children out and already arranged parental help. Do you have any staff meetings at the end of the session. On my last inspection I wrote down which days were not convenient. As my hall is used on a Tuesday and a Thursday immediately after the session this would allow no time for discussion at the end of the session. Out of that month I had already pre-arranged a few things for the other 2 days I had a good idea when to expect a visit. Inspectors don't seem to like Fridays.

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Hi Geraldine and welcome to the forum! :D

 

I think you share a common experience with many other members sadly. But I don't really think it's stacked against pre-schools particularly. It's pretty random and depends largely on how organised and well resourced the inspection team in your area is.

 

It is of course unfair when you get little or no notice (although someone suggested a while back that this would be the best universal way to do it - not tell any setting when the inspection is going to happen - and maybe there would be more fairness in this?) but it would be a hard hearted inspector that didn't take into account little or no notice and consequent staffing problems...

 

If it's any consolation to you, the last time we were inspected, we were told to expect someone 'sometime in February'. No-one turned up and eventually we were contacted in early march with an apology. Someone then turned up on the doorstep in May with no notice at all.

 

However, I'd better not say too much at this stage, as we have a combined inspection tomorrow and Thursday... :o

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hi all

 

there are two reasons why they do the inspections this way

 

1) to keep the provision on its toes there is not point in setting a date and time the inspector will not get a true picture of the way a session runs and frequently in the past inspectors would find that a setting would pull out all the stops and provide an excellent session for that day and the rest of the year the group could do as it pleased

 

I have seen it happen, when I was training at college and I was placed in a badly run group then one day I went in and they where frantically checking everything paper work, toys and equipment and I asked what was going on and they told me the inspection was due on a specific date and they where getting ready. uuuummmm :o

 

the other reason

2) so that they dont have to phone up and appologise when they don't turn up on a specific date or they turn up late (I am not synical the inspector told me this)

 

I can totally understand the frustration of not knowing a tine and a date, last year our inspection clashed with an NVQ assessors visit it was a nightmare haveing two people watching the staff and the children but I would prefer it like that I have nothing to hide and the sessions are well run all year..... I just wish that we didnt have inspections I get so nervous and every morning in the lead up to the inspection when we hear the bell ring the question is "is that her?????" unfortunately there will always be inspections and if thats what it takes to ensure groups are well run then so be it.

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I agree Alison.

Having been through 3 inspections in 15 months (due to working in 2 different schools at the same time and then changing jobs); 2 of them were in serious weaknessess so it was a real fine tooth comb job, and I had a different subject of responsibility in each, I can fairly say that all of the stress was in the preparation period. Much better to see us warts and all and see some of the dreadful situations that we sometimes are forced to deal with (lack of staff being my soap box).

 

Inspections now just dont bother me, I get more nervous being observed by the Head.

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Hi Geraldene

 

I run a small pre school and we are due to be inspected this month also.

 

Have been told Feb but as yet no sign. Early years say they will phone 1st to collect paperwork but i have my doubts.

I have tried to ring Ofsted as it says you can ring at the beginning of the month and they will tell you ur inspectors name!!! - but try getting through to them!!!

 

:o

Good luck Steve with yours - let us know how it goes!!!

:)

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We were told our inspection would be in February. I was under the impression that they would come by beforehand to collect paperwork. Inspector phoned on Friday morning and left message on my home answerphone saying I could contact her if I wanted to. I phoned and left message for her to ring me. She didn't but turned up on Monday morning to do inspection!!! Can't say much because we haven't had feedback yet but IT WAS VERY STRESSFUL!!!!!!!

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We were contacted by our inspectors just after we were informed of thier intention to inspect. One of them rang me to introduce herself and give me information about herself and the other inspector. She gave me a list of what paperwork she wanted to see and anything else such as photograph albums, childrens work etc. She took some paperwork away with her after the first session and brought it back the next day.

I agree with Alison and Mundia on this one. I know of some groups who break the rules all the time but become model settings when it's time for inspection. Things like taking underage children, going over numbers and on one occasion having a parent open up and admit the children because one member of staff was always late and the other had to drive her son into Manchester because he was on work experience!!!!! They would be taking a great risk if they did this not knowing if they were going to be inspected!

I also don't think that pre-schools and playgroups are the only ones treated in this way. It depends on the inspectors-some let you know others don't,it's just the luck of the draw.

Linda

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Hi,

We're halfway through....having had the education part of the combined inspection this morning....phew! Everything semed to go as normal, and I think she was pleased. Guess we'll find out tomorrow!

In terms of notice, our inspector gave us a week's notice; she just phoned to introduce herself, and to say that she would like to be in the nursery on the first morning, then see all the paperwork the following morning. She has taken our parents' pack, policies, and the records for one child home with her to save time tomorrow. Another nursery in Lewes had the same amount of notice; it has been good, I have to say. Clearly not enough time to have a complete turnaround in procedures and so on, but enough to get our heads round the visit, and calm each other down!

I'm going to pour a glass of wine now, and go and watch a non-taxing romantic film....."Two weeks' notice".................I'll sum it all up tomorrow!

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Hi

 

Thanks for all the replies. A weeks notice would be great! To be honest, if nothing else, I think it is common courtesy! I would not arrive unnannounced at a colleagues home without telephoning first - even if it was a case of "hi, I am in the area, is the kettle on??!!"

 

Another aspect of knowing is that we can let the children know we will be having a visitor. We tell them when a prospective parent/child is visiting.

 

I empahtise with those who support the "spot check" theory to avoid practitioners putting on some sort of show for the inspectors. However, I doubt this could really happen now.

 

If we received a call to say the inspector was coming next week, then the detailed plans are done and we would not deviate from them. As inspectors can look at backdated, current and future plans they would realise they were not being adhered to.

 

I am proud of the children in my setting, the colleagues I work with and the work we all do and we have nothing to hide - Ofsted are welcome. We aim not to be complacent and to take any constructive criticism on board to improve things wherever we can.

 

It is the simple logistics of staffing and being able to welcome and cater for the inspectors fully that creates a problem.

 

Glad to hear that yours is half over Steve and that it seems to be a case of so far so good!

 

Thanks again to you all.

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I digress slightly! Just wondered Steve, did you need to obtain parental permission for a childs records to be taken off the premises by the inspector??

 

Oh apologies for my spelling in the previous post! of course it was "empathise!"

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Someone somewhere must have been listening!!

We have had a telephone call from the inspector today. She has said that the combined inspection will take one and a half days and will be done on consecutive days and that "it is imminent" She has also given her time of arrival though not the exact day. My guess is that it will be Monday and Tuesday next week!

 

How did your second day go Steve??

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Hi Geraldine,

Our inspection went really well, and there were no weaknesses. The inspector told us that we couldn't go into details until the report is completed, but that we could say that we had the highest categories for both care and education. Phew!

She didn't require us to get parental permission to take the child's records home.

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Hi Geraldine

 

Good luck for next week. Still havnt heard from our inspector, unless she turns up unannounced next week will have to wrrry about all over half term .....

 

anyhow sure youll be fine nice to get it over with so you vcan relax in half term :D:D:D:D:D

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Good Luck to Geraldine for next week and Hali for whenever it happens.

 

We had ours on Mon and Tues with feedback on Thurs. I can honestly say the inspection was awful - so stressful. I don't work very well when I'm being watched which is unfortunate during an inspection!!! Anyway the outcome wasn't too bad. Just a few picky points.

 

Advice from one who totally went to pieces ..... try and keep calm and ignore the fact that they are there!!!!! :D

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Hi Libby -

Sounds like you couldn't have done as badly as you thought you were coming over!

 

I think the inspector is important as well - some of them have more empathy for the inspectees (?) than others.

 

Good luck next week Geraldine! (I'm not ignoring your earlier question, but I think you mistook me for Helen - easy mistake as we've got his 'n hers avatars! - and she's answered you about our inspection).

 

And good luck too Hali! I feel for you - we were desperate to get it out of the way for half term and Helen's birthday, which fortunately came to pass! Hope it happens next week (um - well, I'm not wishing an inspection on you but you know what I mean...)

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WELLL DONE Helen!! and so sorry to hear it was so stressful Libby.

Thank you for the good luck messages.

I will post again when it's all over - providing I survive it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Good luck to anyone else awaiting an inspection whenever it may be.

 

Oh and sorry Steve!!!! I will look at the names more closely next time

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Well Pheeeeeeeeeeeeeew eeeeeeeee!!!! IT's ALL OVER!!!!!!! Mrs Ofsted appeared on Wednesday and again on Thursday. Like Helen and Steve it's a case of lips are sealed but I can say that all the staff went out last night and enjoyed a superb meal and it was definitely a celebratory meal with a capital C!!!!!

 

Good Luck to those still waiting for the knock on the door!

 

I wonder if anyone can enlighten me on "areas of excellence" I have read that these can be awarded but the most any setting can get at an inspection is one such award??

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Geraldine, I too was under the impression that you could get an 'excellent' for one area of your care inspection but only if you got 'good' for every area. We couldn't get a 'good' for our SEN aspect as I didn't have any children on Early Years Action at the time of my Inspection! Also, worringly, the Inspector didn't know about it ..........?! Things certainly change quickly in Ofsted don't they?

 

We found our Combined Ofsted Inspection in January a very positive experience. Our inspector was already known to us and its great to have some continuity for a change. She was discreet and very professional - certainly went the extra mile to make time for me when I was free.

 

BUT - thrilled with our inspection outcome we went to an EYDCP session on Quality Assurance schemes only to be told that Ofsted inspections were 'merely a baseline'. My heart hit the floor! Needless to say we are feeling very sceptical about QA now and quite probably will not pursue it until it becomes compulsory. Nothing quite like pulling the rug out from under your feet, wouldn't you say? Why is Ofsted's judgement not good enough for everyone???!!!

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Hi Geraldine -

Well done indeed! Just in time to relax over half term. :D

 

Lisa, I wouldn't worry too much about 'Baseline'. The QA schemes are being pushed mercilessly in some places and by some EYDCPs at the moment, so they would say that wouldn't they. A good Ofsted inspection is a great achievement - and no-one has proved the effectiveness of QA schemes in raising the standards of settings that are already performing well.

 

You ask a very good question - why can't Ofsted inspections be extended to give a more detailed rating that could produce a graded result? There seems little point in having two sets of inspections... :o

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just another thought! If you get 13 "goods" on the care standards and one satisfactory why is the overall result "satisfactory" which is what I am led to believe at the moment. That simply doesnt add up to me on the basis that if you got 14 satisfactories the overall result would also be satisfactory!!!!

 

I am a little surprised that you couldn't get a good for SEN simply because you have no chidlren with special educatonal needs! Providing the SENCO is fully aware of the Code of Practice etc etc and confident in IEP writing etc isn't that good enough?? Surely you are being awarded a satisfactory in a non existent area if you see what I mean??? I am the SENCO at my setting and we have no children currently on Early Years Action. I was seen by the inspector and asked about the 5 levels of support detailed in the code of practice, IEP and other aspects and for now I can only say she was happy!

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Hi Geraldine

We actually had the final judgement 'good' for Care Standards and the Inspector stated that she would bounce back the draft if we were dragged down to a 'satisfactory' when she submitted her report for moderating.

 

It seems ironic that Ofsted insist on the labels of satisfactory, good etc and then tell us that satisfactory means good, good means very good etc. Why not use 'plain english' and state it as it is???? Using 'satisfactory' does sound derogatory and there will always be parents who try to read between the lines......

Interestingly we were given the overall judgement of very good for our Education inspection and obviously we did not look elated enough as the inspector kept telling us that 'very good' was 'very very good'..........I think it was sheer exhaustion on our part by the time we got to the debrief! (no actually, we are a Christian nursery and felt assured that we do a good job all the time, not just when we are inspected).

Lisa :o

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Delighted to hear you got a well deserved good lisa.

 

I too have a problem with "satisfactory" as to me it just means "sort of OK or it will do" it also indicates there is plenty of room for improvement. So as you say if satifactory is actually good why don't they just say so!!

 

We were told that the inspector was " struggling and really scraping the barrel "to find anything negative to say. Well if it was such a struggle why keep on!!!! I suppose if she didn't they may think we will just pat ourselves on the back and become complacent - I really dont know.

 

For those of you who get Nursery World do read this weeks In my view (think thats what it is called) the column at the side of the letters page. It certainly made me smile!

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Me again! I'm dissatisfied with my inspector or inspection - just the daft system - Did you have the same experience as us? At our feedback our inspector talked us through what she had planned to say, (mostly compliments!) reading from her draft (I think) but she said many times 'that is what I want to say but I will have to axe some of this as I am limited to the number of characters I can use'. If she wants to highlight areas of good practice what is the sense in limiting the amount of space she has to use???

Hardly rocket-science is it?

:o

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Oops! That should read 'I'm not dissatisfied with my inspection or inspector' - to reinforce that I did actually write to Ofsted commending our inspector, honest!

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Couldn't agree more Lisa! Our inspector was lovely, she was open, honest, fair, friendly and a host of other qualites were evident too. Just before she left, when formalities were over we were thanking her etc and she was grateful for our appreciation. I actually said to her " Well, overall I award you a very good with no weaknesses found!" she thought that was hilarious and went off laughing! As for "the system" that's another story!!!

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It's crazy, isn't it? We had a very similar experience; full of praise but not able to use the same language on the report. About the areas of excellence; I'll let you know when our report comes out; she mentioned three for us, but maybe she can't put all three on the report. Watch this space :o

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Oh the joys of going through an Ofsted. This thread makes interesting reading. I have just posted our forms for our next daycare inspection. We are now busily checking the standards to make sure everything is in place. Any tips would be appreciated. :o Chris

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hi lisa wilson,

 

firstly, well done on your inspection, i still have mine to come and as yet dont know when it will be.

 

I just wanted to make a comment on your QA issue. my setting is part of the pilot scheme for quality assurance in norfolk. It does sound like why bother, but it is worth it. The QA scheme shows that your setting is working towards higher standards than that of OFSTED and that you are showing the best possible practice.

 

I also work as a mentor and verifier for the scheme, it has had a few

hic-ups, but it is currently a pilot here.My setting have enjoyed working on the scheme and showing that our practice is working to become a high quality provision, i would reccomend you undertaking it if your get the opportunity, as it is above the recommendations of OFSTED, and if you can pass that you can do anything.

 

good luck, and think about the QA, it can be a lot of work but its worth it in the end.

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