Q is for Quality – The ABC of Early Years Education
Jo’s view is that children deserve the best – all day, every day. Not just on the day that Ofsted visits. For some settings, inspections can cause a period of frantic preparation and panic, where practitioners feel the need to revise safeguarding policies, practise the answers to questions, and plan a ‘special’ day of activities to impress an inspector. But, in Jo’s view, this shouldn’t be necessary.
Instead, it’s important that practitioners approach the expectations set out by the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework (EIF) as a benchmark for good practice — utilising the guidance as a support system to aid their planning, and a path to everyday excellence for the children in their care. This approach will already be standard practice in the early years settings who strive for excellence every day.
Jo recommends that all early years leaders familiarise themselves fully with the Ofsted Early years inspection handbook so that they are prepared for what the inspection will involve, and what an inspector might ask.
So, rather than dreading an inspection, it should instead be a chance to really showcase and celebrate what a setting is doing well. It should also be viewed as an opportunity to explain how and why practitioners do what they do, and precisely how this helps to lay the crucial foundations for learning in the early years. The EIF places great emphasis on the effectiveness of a setting’s curriculum. What do you teach children, and why? Leaders must fully understand this and be able to articulate it well. What do the cohort of children in your setting need right now? And, what difference has it made to helping children become ready for starting school?