If you're expecting an Ofsted inspection please remember that the inspector doesn't want you to do anything out of the ordinary. The most important thing is to carry on as usual. Unfortunately there are myths circulating that lead to people getting worried about an inspection. Ofsted has compiled a list of the 10 most common early years’ myths to help reduce the preparation workload. So, what are they?
The paperwork myths
You'll be keeping paperwork as a matter of course, following what is set out in the EYFS. But we don't expect to see any extra documents prepared only for the inspection.
The Ofsted inspector will look at your working documents and nothing more. And they don't have to be presented in any particular way. You don't need to label folders, ‘Ofsted’. Just collect and present the paperwork as you would normally.
If you’re concerned about keeping a self-evaluation record, don’t be. Ofsted doesn't expect to see this. What the inspector wants to discuss is the care and activities you offer your children – to talk about what you provide and how that helps their learning.
Don't worry about how you store your papers – on or offline, it makes no difference. The important thing is that any paperwork you keep is helping to document children’s welfare, learning and development.
On the day
Probably the first concern of the day is what happens after the meet and greet. It's not forbidden to offer refreshments, hot or cold, to an Ofsted inspector. They won't consider it a bribe.
The reality is, if it's your policy to welcome visitors with drinks and biscuits, then go ahead and behave as normal. If it's not, the same applies.
If you're a manager, don't think you have to be available every second and minute of the day. Behind every inspection is the desire to see things as they are. So carry on as normal. The inspector will consult with you on a mutually agreed time to meet. Only by seeing business as usual can an inspector know what you’re offering as routine to children in your care.
Ofsted wants to work collaboratively with all those in early years. Myths about inspection get in the way. It's about working together for the benefit of children.
We want people to feel inspection is 'done with them' not 'to them'. Myths are the sticking point and we must get rid of them.
Here I've covered a few of the myths doing the rounds. You can read all 10 of the most prevalent ones on our website. We know there are more, so please get in touch if you come across a myth that needs clarifying. We can then share them more widely with other early years’ staff.
Together we can debunk those myths and make inspection a positive, productive experience.
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