Many practitioners dread getting “the call”! Inspection can seem like a daunting process and can make us feel very anxious and under pressure to perform. However, what if we flip the tables and see this as an opportunity to shine and just be our best selves? My recent experience of inspection was extremely positive and has led me to feel strongly that Ofsted are not trying to “catch you out” but actually to see the best in you – to learn about your setting’s culture, to learn about your children and their families, and about the glue that joins all these elements together, YOU!
On this blog post, childminder and SENDCo Vikkie Murray shares her experience on how being a Kinderly member helped her practice, her confidence, her communication and her recent Ofsted inspection.
For Ofsted inspection expert support, please visit our Early Years Inspections Hub
Being a member of nursery management software Kinderly Together gives you access to the useful CPD tool that is Kinderly Learn. I have attended so many webinars by inspirational speakers (and even led a few myself), read informative EY blogs and accessed loads of learning bites to grow and develop my early years knowledge. I felt proud and confident discussing this with my inspector and talking about the ways in which I had been able to use these professional development aids to improve and further my practice. Part of being an effective and reflective practitioner and achieving a good or outstanding grading at inspection is showing that you are proactive in developing your professional knowledge and putting this to powerful and impactful use in your practice to support children in achieving the best possible learning outcomes and having the most developmentally appropriate experiences and learning opportunities.
Although it is not a formal requirement for practitioners to keep written records of observations, assessment and planning/next steps, it can be very useful and a valuable aid to good practice. I use Kinderly to record my children’s progress termly and use the tracker to give myself an overview of the child and their learning at that given point in time and identify areas where they might need greater input or support. I also use observations via Kinderly to capture important moments in children’s learning, as a reminder for me and as a valuable memory for the children and their parents. I found that when the inspector asked me about the children’s learning, development and progress that using this tool really helped me to have a sharp focus and a deep understanding of how the children were progressing and where I was (and still am) taking their learning to. For those of us that like to have aide memoire, a visual or something to refer to – what Kinderly offer here really is invaluable!
As we are all aware, the 2 Year Old Progress Check is a statutory requirement and must be completed during the year that a child turns 2 years old. In my opinion, for this to be an effective and useful document, it needs to be well structured, with clear information covering the prime areas and helpful comments or next steps to support parents and families. Kinderly Together provides templates for reports which support you by filling in the age/phase brackets based on your tracking and giving you clear heading to structure your progress check. On inspection, my inspector felt that my 2 year checks were very clear and informative with an excellent level of detail which gave a very clear picture of the child and their development at the time of writing. Another Kinderly win!
Working effectively with families is a crucial part of the job and has become more and more challenging as the years have progressed and families’ dynamics and working lives have changed and evolved. When I was a parent with a child in childcare, I found that online platforms were the easiest way for me to keep in touch with our childcare provider and stay involved with my child’s learning – access to all information was instant and available wherever I was and I could easily revisit and re-read it at any time. I could share photos and videos of our children’s play and experiences quickly and easily and involve them in the process. I really felt that going digital was a saving grace for me as Mummy – so it was absolutely the direction I wanted to take as a practitioner!
Kinderly Together enables me to:
During lockdown, Kinderly became invaluable in staying in touch with parents – I was able to send them learning ideas and plans and they were able to share their children’s experiences and play. It was a real pleasure to share how I use Kinderly as a communication tool at my Ofsted inspection (as I am really proud and pleased with how it supports my practice) and to hear from the inspector how valuable the parents felt that using it had been for communication and collaboration during lockdown and day-to-day.
I am delighted to say that the outcome of my inspection was that I was declared an Ofsted rated Outstanding Provider! I think that Kinderly really helped me on my way to this grading in supporting my professional development, enabling me to track and plan effectively and in helping myself and my parents maintain excellent communication through lockdown and beyond. I have been asked, now that I graded Outstanding and with the changes in documentation requirements in EYFS 2021, will I continue to be a Kinderly user… and my answer is unequivocally YES!
Kinderly Together is more than a digital platform – it is an assessment tool, a planning tool, a professional development hub, a practitioner’s lifeline, a work/life balance hero and a community! It does exactly as it says in “Supporting progress. Inspiring bright futures” – Long may it continue to support the Early Years community to flourish and grow!