Nursery inspections: Ofsted answer your questions
Ofsted answers your nursery inspections questions from NDNA Conference 2023.
At NDNA conference in June, Ofsted representatives ran out of time to answer your nursery inspections questions and asked us to send them on. Here are the responses from Wendy Ratcliff HMI, Principal Officer Early Education.
There were quite a few questions which seemed to all be asking about how we quality assure our inspectors, so we have grouped these into one question for ease. We also haven’t been able to share responses to two questions as this is not information we publish, and we would not share any information that might allow for the ‘profiling’ of inspectors.
- More and more primary schools are contemplating or have started to accept two-year-old children in their nursery units. How do Ofsted plan to align the inspection process for school based settings for 2-5 year olds along the existing format for PVI preschools, ensuring that the inspection process is carried out in accordance with the EYIF, for the same time frame, and to the same depth, in order to be consistent across provisions?
Schools that take children aged two years and over as part of their early years provision will be inspected under our school inspection arrangements rather than the early years handbook. Like other early years providers, all schools that include early years provision must still comply with the early years foundation stage (EYFS). Inspectors will grade the standards of education and care in any early years provision in schools and write about its effectiveness in the inspection report. The judgement on the effectiveness of early years provision will include evaluation of the provision for two and three-year-olds.
We’re often asked questions about our EIF inspections. Ofsted inspections: what EY providers and practitioners need to know – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) these pages will help registered early years providers and schools delivering the EYFS with what they need to know. There is a page specifically for schools and answers questions about how we look at early years on a school inspection.
- How does Ofsted quality assure its inspectors and ensure consistency?
Most of our inspectors are former or current early years providers themselves, so they understand what it is like to be on the other side of an inspection. Inspectors are expected to adhere to Ofsted’s Code of Conduct at all times, which makes it clear that they must work with professionalism and sensitivity. Our inspection framework, our training and our thorough quality assurance procedures significantly limit the subjectivity that an inspector can bring to an inspection.
We don’t tolerate poor behaviour from inspectors and would urge anyone to complain to us if they have need to.
- How many judgements are changed when challenged through the existing complaints process?
After complaint investigations closed this year, we changed the overall effectiveness judgement for five inspections. These were of two schools, one early years provider and two social care providers. This is set out in our Annual Report and Accounts.
- Ofsted inspections: what EY providers and practitioners need to know – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Early years FAQs for providers and practitioners – YouTube
- Ofsted: early years (blog.gov.uk)
- Guides for parents: how early years settings are inspected – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Best start in life: a research review for early years – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)