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BLOG: I wonder what she will be wearing?

Registered childminder Emma Raine speaks to PACEY and shares her experience of her recent Ofsted inspection.  

I was confident in my practice but none the less worried about my impending inspection. I’d previously been graded “Outstanding” but under the Education Inspection Framework wondered if I could retain that grade.

Once the inspector phoned I prepared myself and the children for the day. I talked to the children about the inspector coming and started a game of “I wonder”, “I wonder what she will be wearing”, “what colour her hair might be”, “what colour her eyes are”. When the inspector arrived she was greeted at the door by the children shouting joyfully “She’s got brown hair”, which was a lovely start.  

I re-read the Ofsted Early Years Inspection Handbook to help me prepare and this explained clearly what the inspector would be focusing on during the visit. I had all the necessary paperwork accessible for the inspector and felt confident in my secure knowledge of child development and the children in my care.         

The entire inspection process was relaxed and I felt confident to carry about our normal routine. The inspector followed me and the children through their day and I encouraged the children to take the inspector on a “learning walk” around the setting. The learning walk is what made this inspection feel different from others. I felt that the  focus was on the children throughout - the inspector’s observation of them at play and my interaction with them. The inspector could see evidence of children’s learning and being encouraged to take next steps without needing to refer to learning journeys. 

The inspector also asked about my continuous professional development (CPD), how this has influenced practice, along with what my plans are for the future. I’m actively involved with the childminders in my area and am an advocate of sharing good practice to provide a supportive network which the inspector seemed to really like.

As part of my work with parents I use “busy bags” to support the home learning environment. These are shared with parents weekly, each bag contains activities, books and games tailored to the child’s interests. It meant I could share feedback with the inspector from parents about how much they value their bags.

I was thrilled to maintain my “Outstanding” grade! I hope that sharing the experience will help other fellow childminders to not only calm their nerves but help them prepare.

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