Jump to content
About Us

Our Education Was Inadequate

Lucy P

Recommended Posts

Our Ofsted result, care = satisfactory and education = inadequate :(


It has taken me a while to be able to post this as i have been feeling really depressed but i know so many of you will have great advice and give me a more positive perspective than i currently have.


As some of you will know from my previous post we had 5 staff absent on the first day, the inspector viewed care on this day and under the circumstances it went pretty well, there were a few niggly recommendations that came out of this, such as no parental consent for emergency treatment, which i rectified very quickly. The inspector left happy commenting that she was very impressed with how our operational procedures worked and had i not mentioned it she would not have been aware of our staffing situation.


I was actually quite looking forward to the second day inspection in education, our preschool co-ordinator was so lucky to have had 24 hours notice, so i did'nt think anything could possibly go wrong!

I had a meeting with the PSC on the monday night just to ensure everything was planned, trying to put her at ease etc, and i went home confident that all would go well the next day.


On the day her planned activity consisted of junk modelling for the whole morning :o (this was not on the planning sheet that was displayed) and she did not question the children or even attempt to extend their learning during this activity, i could see everything disintegrating before my eyes and i was helpless to do anything about it :(


After an hour the inspector called PSC aside to ask questions regarding observations, differentiation for planned activities and key vocabulary used amongst other things, apparently according to inspector the PSC answered 'we don't do that here' to every question xD , of couse we do this PSC has been doing it every day before inspection and after it too, just couldn't manage to do it on the day :(


The inspector said that she felt so disapointed to see this and felt so angry about it that she refused to feedback to me and said she would come back in a couple of days after she had thought about it, all she would say is your education is completely inadaquate!


One thing that really annoyed me was that when chn took part in continuous play the inspector reported that we had too many resourses available and that it should be limited to a couple of areas??


It is all so frustrating i know its all my fault i should have monitored her better, there is so much i wish i should have done but it all seems too late now.

The parents have reacted better than expected, some have even emailed Ofsted to complain about inspector ( i wish they hadn't i don't want them back again just yet!)

I have demoted PSC and have put manager in to run preschool so just need to get to grips with the actions that are as follows:


Develop systems to ensure observations of children's achievements are regular and are used to plan the next steps in children's learning


Ensure appropriate activities are planned to suit children as individuals, showing differentiation for more and less able children


Improve systems to monitor and evaluate teaching and children's individual progress to ensure effective learning takes place


Sorry for the long post, needed a bit of a rant!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a shame Lucy. Did your pre-school co-ordinator have anything to say about why she acted as she did?

At least you seem to have everything in hand now and the only way is up! You have obviously been spending time reflecting on what has happened and made a major change by demoting your PSC. I would concentrate on getting all your staff on board and working together to develop the actions the inspector has imposed on you.

They all seem pretty similar, ie looking at what the children are doing and developing planning around the observations you make etc. So you may feel able to tackle all of them at the same time. The planning comes from the observations and knowing where your children are at and the things they like-so all linking together.

Good luck with it and feel free to come and have a rant at any time-we all need it from time to time.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm really sorry to hear this, Lucy. You must be having many sleepless nights. What has your PSC said about the twaddle she told the inspector?


OK, down to business. Your actions are virtually identical to those of a Children's Centre nursery I worked with last year, who also received an Inadequate 1 rating. It IS possible to turn this around.....honest :):)


The first two I would tackle first. How do you do your planning? Do you get together with some/all of your staff or do various people have different planning responsibilities? Do your planning sheets have boxes for differentiated learning or to show that you are targeting individual children? How about a box called "language for staff to use"?


In terms of your observations, how do you do those at the moment?


Your third action is really two parts, isn't it? The first part is about monitoring and evaluating the teaching, and the second is doing all that with the learning, ie checking that children are progressing through the stepping stones. Do you complete any sort of tracking sheets? The second part is easier to get going than the first. Monitoring the teaching will require training around staff/child interactions, sustained shared thinking, and then setting up a system where you virtually "inspect" on a regular basis using some kind of ticklist. I'll dig out the one I used at the Children's Centre andmaybe you could adapt that one.


It looks like a huge amount of work, but break it down into smaller chunks. How are the rest of the staff feeling?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Poor you Lucy. That must be devestating. Pre-school is where we would struggle also.


There is no point looking back. You have started to take some measures, and have some actions that you can get your teeth stuck into. And as for the parents - that just goes to show how happy they are x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How awful for you. With inadequate, do they come back soon to ensure you have carried out the actions? It sounds like you have already acted upon them though so I'm sure you will be fine. I thought they HAD to feedback straight away you know so that isn't good...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

sorry it turned out as it did for you lucy but it sounds like you already have good plans in place to turn it around good luck and let us know how it goes x jojom x

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Haven't got anything more to add but just wanted to send my thoughts and support to you. Treat this as a positive learning experience for you and your staff. Try not to dwell too much on what could have been but continue to move forward. Good luck to you all. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest tinkerbell

Oh dear Lucy, it sounds like a real nightmare.

We had a pretend OFSTED with a paid in inspector for the day the support of an autistic child behaved in a very strange way.Sat herself on a chair at the back of the group instead of next to him on the carpet and horror of horrors as I was teaching maths and he was kicking off in front of me(I chose to ignore) SHE SHOUTED ACROSS AT HIM!!!!

Sometimes methinks OFSTED really panics people and instead of doing what they do well normally they think they shoulkd do something different...do you think this is what happened?

I'm sure you will take on what the suggestions are ,good luck


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh Lucy - I really feel for you - it is the nightmare we all dread.


However hard it is, I hope you can dust yourself down and look at all the positive things in your report, and then tackle the ones that aren't so complimentary!


I wish you lots of luck in turning things around before they come back in the next year :)


Everyone will have lots of sound advice you, and your head will be spinning with where to start first, but break it all down and tackle each area a bit at a time, until it all links in together, and then next time when Mrs Ofsted comes (could be a Mr but very rare!) you'll feel so much more confident.


You have a lot of knowledge Lucy and you can turn this around. Good Luck! :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Im not sure I have any advice at the moment,

but a huge question for anyone really, would no-one else have sacked or at least wanted to sack that member of staff? As I would view that as gross misconduct! She deliberately put the future of the nursery at risk and has obviously had repercusions on your own wellbeing at this moment. I personally could not work alongside such a person!


As no-one else has said anything, and im actually feeling quite angry on your behalf now (strange as i am like that :) )


Im very curious as to why on earth anyone would do that???


Also highlights the uselessness of the ofsted inspection, as surely looking through a few records could have shown this member of staff was not giving an accurate picture of the process.


Im absolutely shocked and horrified that you are blaming yourself too!! A person can only do so much, and its a stressful enough time, I think you did your job well, supporting the staff before and during the process as well as making sure everything was available and actioning the inspectors feedback so quickly! Please dont beat yourself up over it, and you, as i also do, have fantastic parents, that dont need a piece of paper to see what a good provision you have!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for your comments, i'm starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel :)


Ok, regarding the PSC, i didn't speak to her immediatley after inspection i was too b****y angry!

I waited until feedback was received, i called her straight in and questionned why she had behaved in that manner, explained we were inadequate and explained the reasons for this. She explained that she had not had enough time to do planning correctly, carry out obs or even prep the activities that she had planned for. (She receives non contact time weekly and has obviously not been spending her time well) This i blame myself for, i should have checked what she was doing. She cried and apologised, i said i needed time to decide what action i should take.


She approached me the following day as she was unhappy about our discussion, she felt i had blamed her for the inspection outcome :o I was lost for words.


I consulted a solicitor who advised me that dismissal would not be a good idea, i did not have enough evidence until the report was received, hence the demotion.


Now this is the tricky part, we have a fantastic bunch of parents but they have always supported the staff rather than myself as director. In the past where i have dismissed staff through gross misconduct or been in the unfortunate position of having to make positions redundant, i have received lots of complaints and so have Ofsted, they felt it was more beneficial that a member of staff stayed as their child's keyworker even though their conduct left alot to be desired. I know that the preschool parents have a great relationship with the PSC (probably not v professional), but there would be uproar if she was to go.

I feel that i need to keep her with these children until they go to school in Sept - although i must stress that the manager is permanently based in PS and PSC has no responsibilty for anything at present, just to follow instructions from manager whilst being supervised at all times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see you are very wise and took your time and I doubt i would have been as level headed to seek legal advice! I still think that you should not blame yourself! The member of staff as you said had a days notice and could and should! have asked for help! And in such a position of authority must have learned that on the way up! and is that not why we have a "Team" of people to do things rather than do it all ourselves?

I also think your staff member needs to learn (as i presume she teaches the children to learn) the acceptance of responsibility for her own (or rather lack of) actions! We all make mistakes afterall, but when we make a huge one such as this, its even more important to look at what went wrong.


Have you considered that this member of staff might not be as happy in her role as she could be? Not an excuse, but possibly a reason.


I hope you dont get too stressed out by the situation! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that you now need to wait until you get the report and then analyse it. Then you can decide on an action plan to address the critcisms. You have a member of staff who is likely to go on the defensive now, and no-one can blame you for being furious - I would be livid, but this is where your professionalism and management skills come in to play. You need to move on and keep problems to a minimum. You do not want to have parents taking sides and adding to your difficulties. Do you use capability procedures? This means putting a process in place to help this member of staff improve, and she will need monitoring closely against the targets you set for her. Agree them together. As an employer you do need to be seen to be acting fairly and helping staff to develop. If she does not work towards meeting these targets then you would have grounds for dismissal. Before you dismiss people you really do have to watch your back. This procedure would be a confidential process so hopefully parents would not be aware of it.

I'm sure that you will turn this situation around and we are all here to offer you support and to listen.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am so sorry for you and it is what we all dread hapening. I was just wondering, if the manager is based in the PS room, does she also have some responsibility for what has happened re observations, planning for learning, assessing etc. Rooms are run by teams of staff and although this member of staff was questioned about her junk modelling presumably other staff were also talked to about other activities going on. Just a thought that maybe as you stand back and look at the whole picture you may find that team building may be necessary to help you all move forward from this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My friend was in the same position last year as manager of a PDN. She used to be my deputy so I know her to be forward thinking, organised, imaginative, a good leader and open to ideas. She was devestated when her deputy who ran the pre-school room gave much the same respnses to the inspector as yours did, but she'd gone further by removing the book corner, taking down posters and generally having a mad clean up so the room looked bare. Their pre-school room isnt on the site of the main nursery so my friend didnt get to see what went on on a daily basis, relying instead on her deputy to do things right.

She kept questioning herself as to her abilities, but a deputy or a room leader has to be trusted otherwise managers/directors might just as well do the job for them.

Most things are easily remedied, its your confidence that ultimatly takes the greatest knock. Put it down to experience, sort things out and put it from your mind. As to the parents reactions, you know you did the right thing for the children, and swopping staff is no different to having staff leave of their own accord, keyworkers come and go, but children are resiliant little things and will hardly batter an eye.

Can your PSC be put on some sort of warning for a couple of months? Maybe at the end, review her position?

Good luck :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to say pretty much the same things as what you have been told happened to us a couple of years ago - to be fair we had only just gone onto being funded and so had never had an educaiton inspection before and we were doing everything very wrong - the inspector asked a team member why we had got out some ink stamping and the total truth at the time was we thought the children would enjoy doing it.


the inspector asked the staff member and she had only been in the setting for a couple of months and had yet to start her level 2 training. we (being the management were no better!) the whole thing was a disaster and they pretty much told us the same things as you were told.


I know you must be angry with your staff member but could it be that they genuinely don't understand the stepping stones and how to plan. She might just be going along making out she knows what she is doing and she doesn't really. When this happened to us the first thing we did was contact our EYDCP and PSLA and we instantly had support coming from all areas. They had a meeting and came out to us and we made an action plan covering all of the points that had been made.


We all had extensive training over the autumn term with someone from somewhere in every single week - we were glad to have them out in the end but we did pass again in the following January.


I would personally recommend having a team meeting to find out if all of your staff members know how to plan. DO they know the difference between adult led child led and group led. do they understand how you plan so the whole curriculum is covered throughout the year. I asked my staff members this the other day and was quite surprised to find out that none of mine are sure - and this is even after haing the training.


Planning is a complicated process I think and my staff members certainly do and it is a lot to get your head around. I am doing mini training sessions 10 minutes at a time to try and get them up to speed but not overwhelm them we will have ofsted coming back in over the next couple of months because we moved premises, but as I said if you know what you are doing with planning it is a piece of pie - this staff member could be totally embarressed because she doesn't really know what she is doing.


My staff that I mentioned earlier also felt terrible and was crying thinking it was her fault that we failed but it wasn't it was mine for not knowing and not making sure everyone else knew. Now I am not saying that this is your fault at all but I do think you need to look at the bigger picture as well. This staff member could be feeling embarressed that she didn't know how to do it and couldn't ask for help, be blameing her self for getting it wrong and then feel even worse because her manager thinks the same.


I just wanted to let you know from a different perspective. this person could be absolutely fine and trying to sabotage it but on the other hand she might not know what she is doing at all and doesn't think she can ask for support.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote "After an hour the inspector called PSC aside to ask questions regarding observations, differentiation for planned activities and key vocabulary used amongst other things, apparently according to inspector the PSC answered 'we don't do that here' to every question , of couse we do this PSC has been doing it every day before inspection and after it too, just couldn't manage to do it on the day

The inspector said that she felt so disapointed to see this and felt so angry about it that she refused to feedback to me and said she would come back in a couple of days after she had thought about it, all she would say is your education is completely inadaquate!


One thing that really annoyed me was that when chn took part in continuous play the inspector reported that we had too many resourses available and that it should be limited to a couple of areas??



Dear Lucy, I can empathise, in 2003 I was judged as inadequate in both care & Education.


I am not making excuses, and you know the abilities of your staff better than anyone. I just wanted to explain another perspective. I am a knowledgable, normally confident, experienced ( 20+ yrs) owner/manager. I have taught BTEC and other EY courses, been a PLA tutor and an Accreditation assessor. During my 2003 inspection I was like a gibberish 10 year old. I spent most of the time in 'blank' mode, any questions asked of me I stumbled over. One member of staff who was degree qualified when asked "What is the learning potential of that activity" as the Inspector pointed across the room, she replied, "I don't know, I work with the younger children".

The only activity the inspectors praised was the junk modelling which was out for the whole session.

My point being that even the best of us ( me included) can 'freeze' , behave totally out of character when 'stressed', when being inspected. On reflection I realised the reason was because I wanted to 'do well', "I didn't trust the inspection process" and I am still confused as to why I handled the Inspection so badly. Initial reaction was to close and give up early years work completely. 3 staff left over the next few months but the rest of us, picked ourselves up, and just got on with action planning, getting a clear focus of what to develop, in small stages. The above 1st paragraph you say that your PSC said "we don't do that here"? How did the inspector 'phrase' her questions? Were they 'leading' her to feel inadequate / unconfident?

She did it before and after Inspection but not on the day, this tells me it was the context of inspection that she didn't handle and not her ability to do her job. ( again, you know her skills best)

The 2nd paragraph above, it sounds like the inspector became subjective, maybe 1st day all is fine and her 'judgement' was positive, then the next her initial judgement in her eyes was proven wrong. It seems a bit emotive for her to say how 'disappointed and angry' she was, to need to go away and thinks things through. ( needing extra time than usual to collect her emotions/thoughts).


The 3rd paragraph, the inspector makes a 'strange' comment about sourcing,....'too much, in too many areas' Is it not irrelevant how much, more about how the resources that are available being accessed by the children? This should have been the focus of her comment, I would think.


Please feel free to ignore the above, as I do tend to over analyse and I do agree with others that the sooner you can move forward from this experience the better. I just feel that sometimes Inspections can be unrealistically either very bad ( or unrealistically very good as the 'letter of the week' in this weeks Nursery World describes).


Linda's advice should help you see that the 'actions' are related thus work on one will benefit anothers development.


Try and get a positive perspective on things ie: parents response, the team will work together once the initial dispondency has gone and if like me your next inspection will be better than you expect.


let us know how it goes, I really do feel for you at this time, it is an awful experience which evokes many questions, some which may never be answered, judge your day to day work ( not just one day out of hundreds) and see and know that you are experienced educators of all your children.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Have you managed to find mehtods of obs, planning etc for your actions? if not i had the same problem as you a we passedin may with our new paper work whihc i could give you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi dizzy daisy :)


Yes we have come up with a few planning and obs methods with the help of our new EYAT, although i would still love to see any examples that you or anyone else has just to check we are using the best format possible.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Lucy,


Unfortunately we too were judged inadequate last year in our Inspection for Pre-school. The head of Pre-School who is the deputy didn't explain much on the first day and then on the second day was booked to go on holiday and wouldn't cancel, so then we were left with practitioners who were inexperienced in the Foundation Stage covering for the day. We had practitioners who when asked how could they extend the learning when a child was doing an art activity replied 'I don't know' - I could still cry thinking about it.


However, I want to be positive to help you. It did make us reflect on our practice. We don't think we were in adequate and I still feel the Inspector was very unfair in many areas, giving us inadequate in the same breath as praising us for various parts of the same outcome. My Deputy unfortunately went off sick for a few weeks and wouldn't or couldn't understand why I partly blamed her for our inadequate.


I did feel I was to blame but to be honest I don't see what else I could have done, you do employ people to do a job and expect them to be able to perform it, if not they should come to you and say they need more training etc. My deputy never did.


We now feel we are moving forward. I have installed a new Manager in with the other two practitioners and I feel we have moved forward quite a long way. No matter how well you are prepared if the practitioners don't engage their brain when inspectors come in, there is nothing you can do.


Your local teacher menor should come in and help you to make sure you are doing things right. The only good thing is that we have had training thrown at us (that we could not previously get on because of the limited space).


As an owner I was very concerned about our numbers and I am still not sure whether it will affect admissions, it doesn't seem to have so far. No parents removed their child and many of them supported us against the decision.


You will be fine I am sure. Put the practitioner in question on an Individual Learning Plan and with a 6 month probationary period. Review every month to ensure she knows where she is going wrong/right and if at the end of six months she hasn't made significant improvment, get rid of her. She really doesn't have the settings or the children's best interests at heart.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • 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)