OFSTED MYTHS...
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  1. #1
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    Default OFSTED MYTHS...

    I think we’ve all probably heard a myth or 10 in our time as early years providers. You know the sort of thing… you are on a Facebook group or at a toddler group and someone says, usually with great confidence and enthusiasm, that someone (often their LA adviser or a colleague talking about a previous inspection) has told them Ofsted expect… and so starts a new myth!

    I spend a lot of my time debunking myths. I receive messages and spot questions on the Independent Childminders Facebook group , or here on the Childminding Forum and I set colleagues’ minds at rest as best I can… and during my free webinar training sessions I often include a ‘myth’ section where I talk about some of the sillier statements I have heard.

    Let’s deal with a few of the myths I have heard recently…

    MYTH: Ofsted don’t like online learning journals…

    • Ofsted do not have an opinion on whether providers use paper or online record keeping systems – they will make a judgement on the effectiveness of leadership and management. They inspect us on how well we support children's learning and track progress from starting points - not on our record keeping systems. However, if they come into a provision and see tablets sitting around unsecured where they can be stolen or misused they will raise that as a safeguarding concern; evidence of children’s progress must also be available for inspection.

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    MYTH: Ofsted expect to see signs and labels in the garden…

    • Inspection has changed a lot since these sorts of comments on inspection reports were commonplace. Ofsted has stated that they will not comment on how we teach – they will make a judgement on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment during inspection. They want to see children learning in a literacy rich environment and will check tracking to ensure children are making good progress in communication and language and literacy.

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    MYTH: I need to do a scrap book for each EYFS aged child plus a learning journey and a written daily diary for parents to take home every day.

    • The requirements of the EYFS 2017 state that providers must write a 2 year progress check for every child between the ages of 2 and 3. Any other written documentation is optional and every provider must consider what they need to record to show children are making progress from their starting points… this might include a short diary or email to parents to let them know what their child has been doing and a file which contains observations, assessments and individual planning plus some of the child’s artwork. However, providers work in different ways and should find a method of record keeping that suits them.

    You will find more information about online vs paper learning journeys in this blog.

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    MYTH: Childminders can routinely look after more than 3 children under 5 as long as they have parents permission and have done a risk assessment.

    • Childminders cannot routinely go over the ratios detailed in the EYFS: they must have a good reason for having extra children, such as taking on a sibling baby or providing continuity for a child already in their care. Most of the circumstances in which variations can be organised are detailed in the EYFS and others are clarified in this guidance from DfE.

    During inspection, childminders must be able to show that every child is making good progress in their learning and development and their care needs are met.

    Childminders do not need written permission from parents before arranging a variation: however, they should speak to parents about what they intend doing and listen to any concerns they might have.

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    MYTH: Childminders cannot get an outstanding grade unless they are running their provision like a mini nursery.

    • Ofsted do not have a preferred method of delivery and recognise that all settings are unique and individual. During inspection, Ofsted will check that children’s care and learning needs are being met and they are making the best possible progress from their starting points: how the provider delivers high quality teaching and learning is up to them.

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    MYTH: All nurseries need access to an Early Years Professional (EYP)

    • Ofsted stated during a recent Ofsted Big Conversation North West meeting that there is no requirement for settings to have an EYP – during inspection they will make a judgement on the effectiveness of leadership and management. They state that there must be strong leadership cascaded down into staff training and supervisions.

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    MYTH: Inspectors are inconsistent and focus on different things to catch providers out during inspection.

    • I know there used to be a big problem with inconsistency and I have compiled lists of silly comments and odd suggestions which I have shared with Ofsted in the past. However, I am delighted to say that Ofsted have listened to us through the Ofsted Big Conversation and other consultancy groups and the quality and consistency of inspection has improved hugely in the last few years. If a provider receives an inappropriate comment from an inspector there is now a robust complaints procedure for them to follow.

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    MYTH: Providers must have written permission from parents stating that they give permission for providers to seek emergency medical advice or treatment for the child.

    • This is no longer stated in the EYFS which means that providers no longer need to ask parents to sign this permission.

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    MYTH: Before a child can move on to the next age range in Early Years Outcomes, every statement must be ticked / dated / highlighted.

    Early Years Outcomes is not a tick list as clearly stated in this blog – there is no requirement to tick, date or highlight all the statements. Early Years Outcomes is provided as guidance for providers to use alongside their own knowledge of child development. Providers should use ‘best fit’ judgements to show the children are making good progress.

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    MYTH: Childminders must have a risk assessment policy and lengthy written risk assessments for everything they do with children.

    • The EYFS 2017 states, ‘Providers must determine where it is helpful to make some written risk assessments in relation to specific issues, to inform staff practice, and to demonstrate how they are managing risks if asked by parents and/or carers or inspectors’ (requirement 3.64).

    The requirement to have a written risk assessment policy was removed from the EYFS 2014. It is up to each childminder to think about how they manage risk assessments and to decide which risk assessments might be useful in writing. Some childminders will be able to confidently verbally explain their procedures for assessing risks and protecting children from hazards while others might find it useful to write or type some information for inspection.

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    MYTH: To comply with British values I need to display a flag.

    • British values are democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance and are detailed in this guidance – they have nothing to do with flags. You will find more information about how British values links through your curriculum here from DfE.

    As part of your curriculum you will also teach children about life in modern Britain which might include flags if they are of interest to the children, but alongside this, active promotion of British values is required by the Prevent Duty and must be embedded in everything you do with the children.

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    MYTH: Providers must ask permission from parents to take children on outings and if parents say ‘no’ then they cannot go.

    • The requirement to ask parents permission to take children on outings was removed from the EYFS 2014. Ofsted will check that providers understand how to risk assess outings and will inspect vehicle paperwork (if relevant) for all staff who use a vehicle to transport children.

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    MYTH: Cleaners on childminding premises need a DBS check.

    • Ofsted have stated that they do not require cleaners on childminding premises to have a DBS check because the cleaner is not unsupervised with childminded children.

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    MYTH: Providers must wear gloves and aprons to change nappies.

    • The EYFS states that, ‘The provider must promote the good health of children attending the setting’ (requirement 3.44). It does not say anything about what providers must or must not wear when changing nappies: this is for providers to decide. Inspectors will check that providers are taking steps to protect children from cross contamination by, for example, washing hands and cleaning mats thoroughly after use and they will want to see providers getting children in good habits by, for example, washing children’s hands as part of the nappy changing routine.

    .................................................

    MYTH: Childminders need lots of written policies and procedures.

    • The EYFS states, ‘Childminders are not required to have written policies and procedures. However, they must be able to explain their policies and procedures to parents, carers, and others (for example Ofsted inspectors…) and ensure any assistants follow them’ (requirement 3.3).
    The Childcare Register (2016), which is included in the Early Years and Childcare Registration handbook (Annex C), states that providers ‘must make the following information available to parents: copies of the written statements of safeguarding procedures and complaints procedures’ (CR 9.1).

    It is up to each childminder to decide which written policies and procedures, in addition to safeguarding and complaints, they want to give to parents to share information about their business and ways of working.

    .................................................

    MYTH: Ofsted gave me permission to have 2 babies under 1 so you can do it too – you just need to ring and ask them.

    • Some childminders have very long memories - Ofsted stopped giving permission for childminders for variations when the EYFS was revised in 2012 and, if they are contacted, they will advise the provider to read the EYFS and risk assess. Childminders must take responsibility for organising their own variations, using the wording in the EYFS and the guidance from DfE (linked above) to decide whether the variation is appropriate or not.

    .................................................

    The most common thing I say to providers when they come to me with a ‘someone told me...’ statement is: ‘Where does it say that in the EYFS?' and you can do the same during inspection - challenge the inspector to show you where it says you need a signs in the garden or lengthy written observations about a child in the EYFS.

    The main focus of inspection is safeguarding ... and teaching and learning. Ofsted will also want to see how well you work with parents and other settings and how well children are prepared for moving on to school - how you do this is up to you.

    Even Ofsted have recently got in on the act with a new myth busting blog from Gill Jones (deputy director for early education, Ofsted). The blog should be read alongside the EYFS (2017) and the Early Years Inspection handbook and the Inspecting Safeguarding in schools and early years handbook.

    If you want to share your best myths with me I will pass them on to Ofsted for consideration - you might even find them in their blog in the future.

    If you have any questions, please ask! Thank you, Sarah

    Thank you to my trainer colleague Rachel Buckler for prompting me to write this thread
    Last edited by sarah707; 06-05-2017 at 09:19 AM.

  2. #2
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    Brilliant, thank you. Good to have these myth busters all in one place!

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    Thank you for keeping us on track.

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    Thanks Sarah.

    ............ so they're not actually denying the windmill thing? Hmmm...................?


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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunyip View Post
    Thanks Sarah.

    ............ so they're not actually denying the windmill thing? Hmmm...................?

    I was waiting for that one!

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    Thanks Sarah. Very useful!

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    Thank you very helpful.

 

 

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