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Ofsted changes Early Years Inspection Handbook, but not its approach

date May 28, 2015

Ofsted has just re-published its Early Years Inspection Handbook, outlining what inspectors must do when inspecting an Early Years provider, as well as what those providers can expect. Providers will want to review the document, available on the website, in detail themselves but we have picked out a few points worth highlighting.
Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) – The handbook includes an update allowing for the nationwide launch of EYPP. Where a setting takes children eligible for the EYPP, Ofsted now specifies that one of them must be included in the case tracking sample. This means providers will need a clear plan for investing the additional funding and how they plan to close the attainment gap for these children.
No recommended methodology – Another new provision specifies that inspectors “must not advocate a particular method of planning, teaching or assessment.” There is not one methodology preferred by Ofsted but inspectors will be focused as much as ever on effectiveness and identifying areas for improvement.
Less detail, more judgement by the Ofsted inspector – Interestingly, in several sections, bulleted lists have been removed. For example under both Judging progress (evaluation of children’s progress towards early learning goals) and Case tracking (observing a representative sample of children), inspectors are now given less guidance from Ofsted with regards to what they are looking for.
Of course, the same high quality of teaching, planning and recording will be expected but in our opinion, these last two changes are recognition that many settings have really raised their game recently with regards to planning, and observations and so the bar has been set even higher.
Parent engagement – Although not a change, the guidance remains clear that settings must demonstrate successful strategies to engage all parents in their children’s learning in the setting and at home to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ rating. When the timing of the inspection means it is not possible to gain the views of parents directly, the inspector must check how the provider obtains and uses the views of parents to improve their service. If there is no evidence in this respect, the inspector must consider whether the partnership with parents is good enough.
The NurseryBook app’s powerful combination of benefits can help meet existing and new requirements from Ofsted. Our secure app makes it quick and easy for Early Years Childcare Practitioners to capture and share children’s learning journeys against the EYFS framework, without the need for paperwork. It simplifies planning and sharing creative resources, which in turn supports practitioners and, by choosing to regularly share photos, messages and ideas for creative play at home, you encourage positive parent interaction and create measurably better outcomes for all children.
Join the debate – we would be interested to hear your thoughts on the new handbook and what the changes signify.