18th July 2019 All Posts

Safeguarding judgements in the new Ofsted Early Years Inspection Framework

We invited Rachel Buckler to visit us at the Connect Childcare offices to come and talk to us about safeguarding in the new Education Inspection Framework. 

Rachel is one of the Co-founders of Early Years Hub and she has Extensive Experience in the Industry, 25 years in fact and in this time she has been a manager, practitioner, consultant and ex Ofsted Inspector.

Watch the video here:

Head to our facebook to set a reminder for the premiere.

If you prefer to read, you can read the video transcript here, there are lots of useful links to resources too:

What is the difference between Safeguarding and Child Protection?

This often comes up. 


The definition of safeguarding from the NSPCC is: 

Safeguarding is everything in a child’s life which makes sure their welfare is protected.

Some examples of this could be:

  • Fire Drills
  • Buildings Safe and Secure
  • Children’s needs are met
  • Allergies and Dietary Requirements are considered

Child Protection: 

Child Protection is a more focused part of the process and should only concern specific children. Child Protection is protecting children who are more likely to be at risk. 

Identification of Child Protection is really important. You need to understand the synergy between what is stated about Child Protection in the EYFS and what the inspector is looking for.

Rachel, can you tell me what kind of things an inspector would be looking for in regards to safeguarding and child protection?

Safeguarding is a key feature in an inspection for obvious reasons. If we go back the EYFS which of course is the statutory guidance which providers have to adhere to (for those who are being inspected by OFSTED), the element of safeguarding and welfare requirements in the EYFS will be thoroughly checked.

Inspectors will want to see that the safeguarding and welfare requirements are happening and being evidenced within the nursery.

We’ll unpick the EYFS and discuss some of the things inspectors will want to check out, there’s a whole number of things which come under safeguarding. 

In no particular order: 

1.Suitability of staff – right from recruitment

  • Do settings recruit safely?
  • Are the staff safe to be with the children?
  • Is there evidence of DBS Checks?

2. Ongoing suitability of staff

  • Inspectors will ask about the processes to check the ongoing suitability of staff

3. How do providers manage medications

  • It is very clear what is needed to be compliant in EYFS.
  • Medications & permissions
  • Are the systems robust to keep children safe?

4. Accidents and injuries

  • How are accidents and injuries recorded & evidenced?
  • What are the treatments?
  • How do we tell the parents?

5. Risk Assessment

  • Is the environment safe for children?
  • Are staff competent in terms of being able to care?
  • Inspectors will look into whether or not the staff have had their mandatory training such as Food Hygiene, Paediatric First Aid and Safeguarding and Child Protection and whether or not their certificates are in date.

How regularly do staff need to attend training?

For Paediatric First aid it’s very clear that this needs to be refreshed every 3 years. Inspectors are likely to check when the certificate expires.

For Safeguarding, there is no stated expectation with the frequency of training but the designated safeguarding lead in the setting has to have child protection training.

LSCB or what we now call Safeguarding Partners might suggest safeguarding and child protection training every 3 Years and 2 years for the Designated Safeguarding Lead. 

The inspector will be interested in how the safeguarding lead is passing on the information they have acquired to the rest of their team to help them to be competent and confident in identifying signs and symptoms of abuse.

They will be looking for a mixture of attending training and evidence of how that knowledge is kept up to date.

Can you tell us how the safeguarding aspects have changed in the new Education Inspection Framework?

Of course.

Let’s take a look into some of the new terminologies which I have found interesting while reading the new EIF. There is some new terminology which refers to leaders and managers in the ‘good’ grade descriptor.

Culture of safeguarding‘ – creating a common set of Safeguarding beliefs, values and behaviours in your organisation.

Grooming’ – Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them (NSPCC)

‘Exploitation‘ – is the act of using a minor child for profit, labour, sexual gratification, or some other personal or financial advantage

Going back to the subject of grooming can we talk about online risks and how this has changed?

This has been a problem that has been increasing year on year with the increase of technology usage.

It goes hand in hand with the extent of children who now have access to online. Recent research from OFCOM has told us that more young children have online access with many using smart phones and some even having access to things like YouTube.

Now It’s beginning to be captured in EIF. In early years it would be expected you have safe and secure filters on devices and you understand the risks involved with children online – and how to keep them safe.

Inspectors would look at how you manage your mobile phones and cameras within the setting.

You should support children so they can talk to a trusted adult about something that might be making them fearful. We should now be supporting children of a certain age to manage own risk around online safety, which is a real focus for Ofsted in schools.

Is there any responsibility as a childcare setting to teach parents about online risks?

I would suggest that the best practice would be to support what goes on in the life of children at home.  The culture of safeguarding should run through everything you do.

It’s necessary to demonstrate that you have a broader view than just safeguarding within the setting. Settings who demonstrate excellent practice are those who are thinking about the bigger picture which includes the children, families and communities. This is reflected in EIF and something we need to be understanding and getting to grips with.

How will new settings which haven’t been inspected yet, know what to expect from inspection under the new framework? 

Ofsted produced a document called the early years inspection handbook. 

This is a really useful document which you should check out, it includes:

  • What happens before an inspection
  • What happens when the inspector calls
  • What evidence you need to provide
  • What kind of activities will take place in the inspection.
  • The grade descriptors for each of the areas
  • What happens after the inspection

You can also find more information in the Inspecting Safeguarding Early Years Education Skills Setting document which is a document for inspectors which goes through all of the above points but from an inspectors point of view, which is always useful! 

This document also goes into a bit more detail about what is expected from leaders with regards to a safeguarding culture.

Do you have a template of a questionnaire which can be used to test the knowledge of employees with regards to safeguarding?

That’s a really good idea because you need to remain updated within your knowledge of safeguarding. It’s a good strategy to test your staff on safeguarding and make sure they are up to date.

We at the early years hub have devised a product called the Safeguarding Hub which we are about to launch. We’ve had a lot of interest so far from Early Years Professionals 

The Safeguarding Hub provides:

Information and updates

✓ Alerts to new developments and important changes that impact upon safeguarding

✓ Policy example for you to edit and copy to suit the needs of your setting

✓ Factsheets full of useful advice and guidance

Establishing best practice

✓ Safeguarding and Child Protection standards framework tool

✓ Short film clips covering relevant topics and examples of best practice

✓ Links to inspection processes that demonstrate compliance and best practice

Sharing knowledge

✓ Quizzes and scenarios to use with staff teams helping to update knowledge in between training

✓ Interviews with experts in the field on a variety of subjects

✓ Learning from serious case reviews

The Safeguarding Hub provides a learning community for early years professionals to access resources and all things safeguarding and child protection.

We know how difficult it can be to keep up-to-date with topics, themes and current developments in safeguarding and child protection, even more so to understand how these themes relate to the early years sector. Safeguarding Hub members gain access to a number of exciting interactive new interactive resources.

If you would like to know more about the upcoming Safeguarding Hub scheme, please fill in your details in the Registration Form when you click on the link below. You will be automatically notified as soon as more details are available – you will also get advance notice when the scheme is open for signups!


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About the Author

Marketing Lead at Connect Childcare