12th March 2024 All Posts

The Importance of Involving Staff and Key Stakeholders in your Ofsted Inspection

Leadership and management remain an increasingly important factor when it comes to being inspected by Ofsted, whether that be ensuring your setting is compliant or child safeguarding is a top priority. The continuous professional development of staff members and making sure they’re aware and prepared for your setting’s next inspection is paramount.

In our latest guide ‘Preparing for Ofsted’, Connect’s Head of Commercial John Pickup and Childcare Director of Happy Orkids Julia Maynard uncover top tips as well as outline key methodology used during the Ofsted inspection process.

Here, we delve deeper into the importance of nursery manager preparation and involving key stakeholders and staff members before, during and after a visit from Ofsted.

Informing staff of what’s to come

Once Ofsted has been in touch via phone call to alert your setting of its intended visit, it’s essential to ensure all your setting’s practitioners and support staff are aware. Although it’s natural to panic in this type of situation — as Ofsted usually announces its upcoming inspection one working day prior — ensuring staff are aware and feel prepared will help the inspection run smoothly.   

During the pre-inspection call, it’s more than likely you’ll be told it’s your duty of care to inform staff members and other stakeholders — such as parents and caregivers — that a visit from Ofsted is due to take place.

Top Tip: encourage your staff to see Ofsted inspectors as colleagues – they’re early years professionals too!

While this initial call may sometimes cause feelings of anxiety among nursery managers, you can speak with your early years advisor or the development officer for your local authority, once the call has taken place, to inform them an inspection will be happening. You can appoint them as an inspection coordinator on the day if you need to, which may also help to put practitioners working on the day of the inspection at ease.

Involving staff during the learning walk

When it comes to the learning walk, it’s important to remember that first impressions count. However, the aim of this part of the inspection isn’t to catch you out. The learning walk helps the inspector find out more about how your provision is led, as well as how the leadership and management of your nursery is dealt with effectively. 

During the inspection, the Ofsted inspector will invite a senior member of staff to complete a learning walk. During this activity, they must be able to demonstrate how the setting’s curriculum supports every child’s development.

Top Tip: build staff confidence with the inspection process

Activities such as mock inspections and seeking external feedback, can enhance leadership skills, create a culture of readiness among staff, and ultimately showcase your commitment to continuous improvement. In doing so, you not only prepare for official inspections but also foster an environment that thrives on growth and development.

Ensuring staff continue to develop

Effective leadership and management is the golden thread throughout any Ofsted inspection. The EYFS framework talks a lot about the ‘provider’ – it no longer refers to the ‘manager’. This means your nursery’s senior leadership team has a duty and responsibility for everything practitioners do.

By maintaining regular staff training and development opportunities, you’re able to identify areas for improvement in your setting early on. Promoting strong partnerships with the wider stakeholders involved in your setting will also help to maintain an environment that promotes child wellbeing and safeguarding at its core.

Preparing for Ofsted with Connect Childcare

Download our free resource ‘Preparing for Ofsted - A guide for early years professionals’ and find out more about the methodology behind the Ofsted inspection process.
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About the Author

Content Marketing Executive at Connect Childcare