Ofsted big conversation - NW mtg 12.5.16
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    Default Ofsted big conversation - NW mtg 12.5.16

    The meeting was an excellent opportunity to talk to Ofsted about childminder and group provider concerns. It’s an invaluable way of getting questions answered, clarifying various points related to the inspection judgements etc. It is also very interesting to note that a room full of providers from a range of different types of settings have similar woes…

    In attendance – various representatives from Ofsted and members of the Ofsted Big Conversation steering group

    Question – group providers questioned how one small compliance issue can automatically take a provider’s grade to requires improvement. A number of different scenarios were raised such as a missing non-prescribed medication form, issues with lunch-time ratios and lack of ICO registration.

    Ofsted state that inspectors should consider the impact of the compliance issue on the children. They should also ask – is the compliance issue typical? Is ‘requires improvement’ a proportionate grade given the other practice they have observed throughout the inspection?

    So, if an inspector says ‘I can only give you RI because you have made a mistake’ you should feel confident to challenge them – ask them whether they think the issue is typical of what they have seen when inspecting the rest of your provision. Have they used ‘best fit’ or picked on one mistake when everything else is ok? Ofsted state that the Early Years Inspection handbook is not and should not be used as a tick list – it is meant to be used as ‘best fit’.

    In some instances, inspectors have graded group providers ‘good’ even when they have made a small compliance mistake, because the rest of the inspection (teaching, learning, assessment, progress checks, safety, health etc) would otherwise have been graded outstanding.

    Question – how are Ofsted ensuring inspectors are judging the grade descriptors in Early Years Inspection handbook consistently? This question was specifically asked in relation to nurseries who have a mixture of qualified staff and apprentices but can relate equally to childminders who have assistants.

    Ofsted re-state that the framework is not a tick list – inspectors are not trained to look for evidence for every statement … and they should not downgrade if they have observed consistent high quality practice throughout the inspection. They should be looking for a range of evidence and triangulate what they see.

    Question – what should you do if your inspector says ‘I can only grade you *grade*’on arrival, before they have carried out the inspection?

    You should ring Ofsted and let them know exactly what has been said. If the inspector continues in this vein you should continue to present your evidence as normal and put in a complaint later. You cannot normally ask an inspector to leave – they have a legal right to inspect early years providers – but you can and should challenge them during and after the inspection.

    Question – childminders asked for clarification about ICO registration

    Ofsted are aware that some inspectors have wrongly told childminders they do not need to be registered with ICO. However, Ofsted’s reply leaves us in no doubt that all childminders who use any electronic devices such as mobile phones or digital cameras for photos must be registered with ICO.

    ICO have suggested to some childminders that they will be introducing a ‘closing business’ one-off fee for childminders who leave the profession and retain information about children on electronic devices – Ofsted are not involved in deciding this.

    Ofsted's reply

    'It has come to our attention that some inspectors have told childminders, at inspection, that registration with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is not a requirement as long as the childminder has sufficient policies in place regarding the taking of pictures and processing of personal information on the children.

    Whilst the early years foundation stage (EYFS) doesn’t specifically require all childminders to register with the ICO, it does require providers to have knowledge of their responsibilities under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998. These responsibilities will include registering with the ICO, where a childminder chooses to use electronic means for holding and storing information, for example to take pictures of children with a digital camera or other electronic device. It is up to each childminder to decide whether it is necessary to register with the ICO. If at inspection, a childminder asks if they need to register, the inspector should advise them to contact the ICO for advice.'

    Question – childminders asked me to find out whether Ofsted are aware of the delays to EY2 / suitability letters and health declaration checks.

    Ofsted state that they are not aware of this but will follow-up any problems reported directly to them. I have some reported concerns from members – if you have experienced extended delays please contact me and I will flag it up.

    Question – a childminder asked me to ask Ofsted whether they could record their inspection feedback to protect themselves if, for example, their grade is changed at the quality assurance (QA) stage.

    Ofsted state that this is not possible because the recording, once made, will be out of their control.

    Question – childminders asked me to report to Ofsted that the system for reporting changes is not working well – for example, changes to family members who live in the household which have been reported to Ofsted are not being recorded. A suggestion was made that Ofsted could send out a list of information held about us when they send invoices so details can be checked.

    Ofsted thanked us for our suggestion and stated they are currently looking into how changes are reported and recorded so the system can be improved. They remind us that, if we think ‘I wonder if we need to inform Ofsted about this?’ then we should email or ring and let them know – it’s better to over-report and make sure they know what is happening.

    Question – providers asked why the complaints process takes so long and why Ofsted have such lengthy timescales to reply to complaints.

    Ofsted state that the reason they have so long to respond is to give themselves every opportunity to fully investigate all aspects of the complaint so they can be as robust as possible in their response. This also means, in my opinion, that if the complaint gets to stage 3 (a panel including someone from the early years such as a childminder or nursery owner) it is clear to the investigators that it has been managed robustly...

    Question – nursery owners wanted to better understand the current disqualification by association rules in relation to suspension of staff whilst they are applying for a waiver.

    Ofsted state that when dealing with disqualification by association they aim for a proportionate response. The provider must inform LADO and Ofsted as soon as they find out that the employee might be disqualified by association, take advice and suspend the staff member while they apply for a waiver. Ofsted will aim to deal with it as quickly as practical but the aim is always to keep children safe.

    Providers must not do their own risk assessments and decide the staff member can stay at work – even in cases where the crime was historic and might have disappeared from the records - it is for LADO and Ofsted to make that judgement.

    **Note - this might change in the future for group providers who work on non-domestic premises as a result of the current consultation into the disqualification by association rules… but the consultation does not include childminders as it is for group settings only.

    Question – group providers asked about changes to the rules relating to registering new settings – will they still be inspected?

    Ofsted related their reply to the Small Business and Enterprise Act. This will be relevant to childminders as well as group providers because, through the SBE Act, they can now start businesses for up to half the week in other settings such as running a before and after school club alongside childminding.

    Ofsted state that the provider must apply to set up the multiple premises with a new application for each and Ofsted will risk assess whether to carry out an ‘approval’ visit, based (partly) on the provider’s previous history. This is the first we have heard of an ‘approval’ visit – rather than a registration visit – and we look forward to finding out more in the future.

    Also note that the Ofsted non-compliance document has been updated to reflect changes to the law with the introduction of the SBE Act –

    I hope you find the feedback useful and we've managed to answer some childminder questions.

    If you have any questions about any of the points raised please ask!
    Last edited by sarah707; 18-05-2016 at 06:22 PM.

  2. Likes loocyloo, Maza liked this post
  3. #2
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    Thank you Sarah for a comprehensive report.


  4. Likes sarah707 liked this post
  5. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by loocyloo View Post
    Thank you Sarah for a comprehensive report. xx
    Thanks Sarah, Ditto xx



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