Building Confidence in our Educators when faced with Inspection
Whilst attending the Childcare and Education Expo in Coventry, I took the opportunity to sit in on Preeti Patel and Jeremy Clarke’s seminar that focused on building practitioners’ confidence and early years educators when faced with an inspection.
During this seminar, the speakers shared their insight into effective reflection and evaluation processes to support any early years setting. I learnt some tips to help your staff gain sector-relevant recognition and feel fully prepared and confident to respond to the challenges inspection might bring.
4 ways to get your educators ready for an inspection
An Ofsted inspection can be a daunting proposition for even the most experienced educators and preparing for inspection may often feel overwhelming and time-pressured – so how can you support your staff to be more confident?
- Offer a strong and informative induction
It is imperative that staff feel confident and knowledgeable in their practice right from the get-go and one of the first ways to begin instilling confidence in your staff team is during their induction.
Effective leaders will encourage a thorough induction process to help new employees to settle into the nursery as soon as possible. The process should familiarise them with their roles and responsibilities, the job and the work environment and the staff, children and families they will be working with.
Inductions can be used to address any worries that new employees may have as well as outline any important information for the new employee to read and understand. Ofsted is very keen to see that employees have had a thorough induction that covers your safeguarding policies and procedures.
Induction processes should not be rushed, they may last days or even weeks and it is key to ensure that both the employee and the manager are happy that everything has been understood.
- Make the most of your staff meetings
Staff meetings should be held regularly to ensure staff knowledge and practice are up-to-date and consistent throughout the setting.
Remember that staff meetings can understandably be unwelcomed by practitioners after working long days so try to understand which times work best for your team and make the meetings something that they look forward to.
Build confidence by encouraging your practitioners to share any ideas and give them the opportunity to solve any problems or issues your setting is currently facing. Listening to ideas from all levels of staff will have a positive impact on the overall running of the nursery and team morale.
Staff meetings are a fantastic way to ensure all staff are up to date with policies, procedures and changes that are happening within the setting and they provide time for reflection and training, alongside accessing any important information from the management team.
You may notice gaps of knowledge in certain areas such as safeguarding and you can use the time to educate your colleagues and identify those who may need some additional support understanding the topic.
- Encourage a mentoring mentality within your setting
Career advancement opportunities have become increasingly important to many employees yet apprentices and practitioners may not always have the confidence to change positions or roles because of the added Ofsted-related responsibilities that come with a promotion.
Encourage your senior staff members to mentor your junior staff and apprentices. Helping to build their confidence and expanding their knowledge in particular areas of their existing roles will make the advance to deputy room leader and room leader appear less daunting and can be great for morale when employees can see an opportunity to grow within their workplace.
- Create opportunities for reflection
Many early years settings use peer-to-peer observations to aid continuous professional development.
Peer-to-peer observations are a great tool to assess employees’ performance and identify any areas for improvement or gaps in knowledge. They can be carried out by all staff members, not just senior members. They are beneficial in providing valuable learning experiences for both the person observing and the person being observed. The practitioner gets invaluable feedback and the observer gets the chance to reflect on and view best practices in action. The use of these observations is great in aiding interaction with children, encouraging the use of open-ended questions and getting practitioners used to being observed.
If you would like to read more about what we learnt at the Coventry childcare and education expo, visit the following articles The Power Of Play – Ben Kingston-Hughes and Recruitment & Retention: How can we Rebuild our Early Education Workforce.