31st March 2024 All Posts

Preparing for Ofsted: Tips for Success

In our latest guide ‘Preparing for Ofsted’, Connect’s Head of Commercial, John Pickup, and Childcare Director of Happy Orkids, Julia Maynard, uncover their top tips to help early years settings best prepare for future Ofsted inspections. 

Here, we delve deeper into how nursery managers can successfully prepare for the next visit from Ofsted, including how the inspector’s methodology relates to the early years foundation stage (EYFS).

Tip one: Reframe your thinking

For nursery managers, receiving the initial call is usually one of the most daunting aspects of the process. But while this first point of contact is the start of the process for the inspector’s evidence gathering, it’s also a chance for you to provide them with a positive overview of your setting before they make their visit in person — remember, first impressions count!

Tip two: It’s never too early to be prepared

During the call, your inspector will ask you to gather the required documentation they’ll need to review on the day of their site visit. Ensuring all the necessary information is at hand not only helps the inspector but demonstrates your preparedness and attention to detail.

It’s worth noting that the information you’ll be required to provide is all available to you in the EYFS statutory framework, as well as the Early Years Inspection Handbook for Ofsted registered provision.

Tip three: Stick to what you know

When it comes to the learning walk, the inspector will more than likely focus on how your provision is led, how leadership and management is dealt with effectively, as well as your setting’s usual routines and activities. When planning what activities to set up on the date of your inspection, stick to what the children are used to and enjoy. This will help to avoid any mishaps and provide reassurance to staff too. 

Ask yourself — What’s ‘normal’ for my setting? Stick to this. An experienced inspector will know if something has been staged. 

Tip four: Timings matter

When practising for future visits from Ofsted, remember to time yourself while carrying out the learning walk. This will ensure you feel more prepared, as well as remove the temptation for you, or any other staff members, to say more than is necessary.

Tip five: Remember your staff are your setting’s biggest asset

It’s worth considering training key members of staff within your team to prepare them for future inspections. This will help to ease the pressure felt by one person, while their involvement will likely contribute towards a smoother inspection and assist in their own professional learning and development. 

Download our latest free resource ‘Preparing for Ofsted – A guide for early years professionals’ and find out more about how to best prepare for the Ofsted inspection process. 

Preparing for Ofsted with Connect Childcare

Each chapter in this guide, provides valuable insights, practical tips, and actionable strategies to assist nursery managers and childcare providers in successfully navigating the Ofsted inspection process.
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About the Author

Content Marketing Executive at Connect Childcare