Send out some parent questionnaires to share with the inspector. Things to ask them include – how do you think your child’s settling in went? Do we share enough information with you about your child’s learning? Do we ask you about your child’s learning at home often enough? Are you happy with your child’s progress? Please tell our Ofsted inspector what we do well…
Ofsted might try to speak to parents and will sometimes arrive early to catch them before they go off to work. Make sure you let them know this might happen.
First impressions count so make sure you tidy up the house, garden and resources, sort out the parents noticeboard and children’s display area to ensure the information displayed is current. Documents you must display include your Ofsted registration certificate and Ofsted parents poster – most inspector also look for an emergency evacuation plan.
Update each child’s file so you can show the inspector at a glance exactly how you work and what you do with the children. In the children’s learning and development files you should have – starting points (from parents) + your baseline observations and assessments linked to Early Years Outcomes + what each child can do (ongoing observations) + what they are working on next (individual planning) + parent input + information from other settings they attend (if relevant) + 2 year progress check (if they were with you between the ages of 2 and 3 years) + ongoing tracking to show progress. Make it really easy for the inspector to see how well the children are getting on and their amazing progress while they are with you.
Go through each child’s confidential file and make sure all your parent documentation is signed and dated – contracts; permissions; accident, injury and first aid; medication administration; physical intervention reports; behaviour records and how you are supporting the child etc. Don’t get caught out because you have missed something.
Check through your evidence folder(s) - are your evidence documents up-to-date? Can the inspector find everything they need – DBS for everyone over 16, insurance certificate, training certificates (first aid and safeguarding are statutory), policies and procedures (safeguarding and complaints are statutory) etc? Does the information in your evidence folder celebrate your successes and show how amazing you are? Does your action plan show how you have tackled any recommendations or actions from your last inspection report?
Plan a couple of activities for inspection day – the inspector will want to know why you have planned the activities, what you want the children to learn and how you involve everyone. Make sure you showcase your best teaching: ask open questions and wait for answers, include maths, support independence etc. I have talked in more detail about using open ended questions in this blog.
During planned activities Ofsted are looking for –
- Pace and energy – take the children on an exciting journey of discovery – be enthusiastic and carry them along with you.
- Differentiation – support every child's learning, adapting resources and changing planning to suit their ages, interests and individual needs. Yo
- Recognise individual learning styles in planning – watch a DVD, read a book, sing a song, provide opportunities for mark making, talk and ask open questions to support children’s learning and develop their understanding. You can find more information about learning characteristics and schemas here.
- Well managed behaviour – children cannot learn if they are not behaving well.
Ofsted want to see children who are enjoying their learning – children who are focussed and engaged – children who are learning well and making real, sustained progress. They want to see practitioners who keep teaching flexible, planning what they are doing and what resources they will need and then being prepared to adapt what they are doing as the children’s needs change and their interest levels fluctuate. You will find more ideas for group planned activities here.
Safeguarding – you need to read through your safeguarding policy and procedures – you will be asked questions about it eg what would you do if a child was being abused and what you would do if a child accused you or a staff member of abuse – you need to know what your safeguarding policy and procedures say. There are some examples of safeguarding questions asked in recent inspections in this blog.
Do the free Prevent duty training course if you haven’t already – it’s likely you will be asked about Prevent and British values so you need to know what they mean to you. Make sure you have included Prevent and British values in your safeguarding procedures – more advice here.
If you work with staff, make sure you are both used to doing joint observations. You will find more information about joint inspections here. Your staff member will need a file with personnel records and evidence of induction training and ongoing CPD opportunities. You can find more details about working with assistants here.
Set out your evidence - put what you want your inspector to see out on a table – your evidence folder, self-evaluation and action planning, children’s files, photo albums etc. Don’t be shy – now is your chance to shine!
Now is probably the wrong time to…
- Try and update your self-evaluation form – it’s supposed to be a working document not a last minute panic to get it finished. You will find a useful SEF prompt here.
- Read through the Early Years inspection handbook – you can find a copy here - the requirements should already be embedded in your daily practice.
- Make changes – children don’t react well to change! There are some suggestions for preparing children for inspection here.
Please share your inspection feedback on the Childminding Forum or the Independent Childminders Facebook group and help your colleagues.
Good luck! I hope your inspection goes well.