Whatever your Ofsted grade, there is always room for improvement.
Ofsted have withdrawn their Self-Evaluation Form (SEF) but that does not mean we can stop self-evaluating and action planning! It simply means that Ofsted are no longer advising us how to do it and we will all have to come up with a way of doing it for ourselves.
Sitting back and doing nothing is not an option!
The Early Years Inspection handbook (point 148) states that the inspector will:
‘Evaluate the quality of the provision and outcomes through robust self-evaluation, taking account of the views of parents and children, and use the findings to develop capacity for sustainable improvement’.
The outstanding grade descriptors for effectiveness of leadership and management require inspectors to judge us on how effectively:
‘Leaders and managers actively seek, evaluate and act on the views of parents, staff and children to drive continual improvement.’
We all work in different ways so I asked colleagues to share information about how they self-evaluate and action plan for the future and I have collated some of their replies...
- Carry on using the Ofsted SEF – if you like it there is no need to change anything! You won’t be able to put it online any more, so just keep a copy either on your computer or print it for your self-evaluation and action planning file and update it regularly.
- Use a diary to jot down your reflections – think about what works well, what is not working and how you intend improving.
- Put together an ‘all about me’ type of file which includes information about how you work now… and use it to look towards the future. Documents you might show the inspector include: information about your service and ways of working – your daily routine – photos of activities you have planned for the children – information about what the children learn during outings – certificates and evaluations of training – and future plans for professional development.
- Use the Early Years Inspection handbook as an evaluative document – work through it section by section and think about what you already do well. Ask parents and children for their feedback and use it as a springboard for what you can improve on in the future.
- Self-evaluate as you go along, thinking about how well things are going and making notes in a Word document on the computer or laptop - and plan to do one piece of action planning every month or term depending on what you are working on at the time.
- Put together a ‘Continuous Professional Development’ folder for parent questionnaires, statutory certificates, training certificates, notes about CPD you have accessed etc – evaluate all training and think about how it can be used to improve the business.
- Jot things down as you go along in a book or file – no need to get all fussy about it - just record quick notes as a reminder so you don’t forget what you want to discuss with your inspector.
- Use a Local Authority self-evaluation document.
- Talk and talk and talk some more about what you do and the impact on outcomes for children during inspection!
- Deal with actions and recommendations from previous inspections first – your Ofsted inspector will look at these during your next inspection.
- Don’t forget to involve parents and children in your action planning – ask them questions and listen to their replies – you don’t have to do everything they suggest but make sure you feedback and let them know what you are doing and why. .
- Remember to evaluate inside, outside and outings as well as documentation, safeguarding, record keeping etc – everything you do is important in the lives and learning of the little ones.
- Reflect changes and new legal information in your self-evaluation and action planning – thinking about how you have used it to improve your service.
- Research new buzzwords: ‘monitoring progress’ – ‘closing the gap’ – ‘tracking from starting points’ etc so you know what they mean and how you use them - and add a few notes about what you have done to your self-evaluation and action plan.
I have been asked – ‘Sarah, what are you going to do?’
I have thought about it and decided I will keep my Ofsted SEF because it’s already there. I have printed it off and put it in a shiny new loose leaf file divided into 4 sections following the inspection judgements –
- Section 1 – leadership and management
- Section 2 – teaching, learning and assessment
- Section 3 – personal development, behaviour and welfare
- Section 4 – outcomes for children
I have researched what is included in each section and made a list – I will use this list to choose what areas of provision I am going to evaluate and plan for next. It will make sure I don’t duplicate…
I will then add my notes – jottings – thoughts – ramblings to each section as I go along.
I have already put my 2017 Action Planning on the Childcare.co.uk website for gold members – you can see the sort of things I evaluate through the year, month by month, to support my own professional development and to improve my business. I will develop this over the coming year…
Thank you to members of the Independent Childminders Facebook group (for childminders), the Nursery Chat Facebook group (for group providers) and the Childminding Forum for your input.
Working together – supporting each other!
Chat soon, Sarah.