The Early Years Inspection handbook states that ‘Inspectors will look at: all logs that record accidents, incidents of poor behaviour and logs of incidents of discrimination including racist incidents’ (point 37).
What accidents and incidents do you record? In our setting, we write up all children’s accidents and any incidents observed by us and share them with parents, asking for a signature on collection. We also record any near miss accidents or reported incidents that we maybe haven’t directly observed because we want to track patterns of accidents and incidents.
During inspection, your Ofsted inspector will discuss accidents and incidents with you and ask you how they are tracked to keep children safer. For example, if there are regular accidents in certain parts of the setting such as a corner of the toddler room or in one area of the garden, your inspector will expect you to have recognised this and considered how to minimise the hazards.
We also consider patterns of accidents and incidents in relation to the seasons, gender differences etc and think about what action we can take to minimise hazards. For example, there might be accidents due to icy conditions in the garden: these can be controlled by using grit and reminding parents to send children in shoes or boots with a grip sole.
Accidents and incidents relating to behaviour such as biting or bullying are particularly tricky to manage. There is a very emotive element to them but they still need to be recorded, shared with parents and evaluated. For example, if a child has been bullied by another child using racist language, we will use a combination of strategies including parent meetings and group planning to support all the children to learn more about mutual respect and tolerance and record how we have responded.
Accident and incident tracking can also be used in group settings by Managers to monitor staff effectiveness. For example, if there are a lot of accidents or incidents reported in a particular room, staff training and positive intervention from the Manager will support staff to improve practice and keep children safer.
Note - there is no requirement in the EYFS or the Early Years Inspection handbook to have a written accident and incident monitoring form but there is some anecdotal evidence of inspectors asking for this during inspection.