June’s blog

June O'Sullivan, LEYF CEO

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Next steps in The #OfstedBigConversation

DISCLAIMER:(!) I know that today is not my usual ‘blog day’ but we wanted to pass on the latest developments with Ofsted.
Normal blog service will resume on Monday…



The #OfstedBigConversation

I recently met with Sue Gregory, Director of Early Childhood at Ofsted, and Dee Gasson, Principal Officer of Development in Early Years. I began by thanking them while also emphasising that I was just one person in the sector. I said that what is needed is a system where Ofsted could talk to practitioners on a regular basis. Sue agreed to develop the regional system and set up a series of meetings across the country, although I think we as a sector need to host and Chair them. I volunteered to do the first London meeting.

These regional meetings would be the place where Ofsted consults with the sector on potential changes to the system, such as the revised framework, applying and implementing new policies and inspection practice, and also consider our views with regards to future commissioning and contractors. These are all part of their improvement agenda, or to use Ofsted speak: “Qualitative judgements in relation to children’s early education and welfare.”

Ofsted also agreed to start a conversation as to how the Ofsted concept of quality improvement could evolve.  I suggested that they might test emerging information they are collecting from the regional meetings and align this with findings from their annual reports.  I asked them to create a forum where we can flag up emerging issues. In this way, improvement driven by Ofsted would actually be in the form of action-research with the sector as partners in the process.

Sue and Dee also agreed to clarify the situation regarding complaints driven inspections. They insisted that those inspections were related to the last inspections cycle so that meant in 2008. But I asked for greater clarity and more explicit explanation as to how complaints driven inspections would be managed in the next cycle.

They have agreed to clarify the notion of the ’47 month cycle’ and when inspections happen. As one cycle is completed, the other begins within that 47 month period. In effect, I think it looks as if you can be inspected at anytime.

Sue has agreed to write to the sector again via an article in Nursery World confirming these points. But I think that now the sector has the opportunity to work proactively with Ofsted to organise their own regional meetings and begin to form a relationship with their regional lead. …. It’s a step in the right direction.


14 Responses to Next steps in The #OfstedBigConversation

Sue Egersdorff says:

Thanks for the update June – good work! I have been talking separately to Ofsted and feel really positive about the potential of closer working between regional HMI and the sector. There are some hugely experienced and committed HMI and it would be great if we could share our expertise with them and vice-versa – particularly as we develop the Early Years Institute.

Laura Henry says:

will share via NEYTCO and other places…

    June O'Sullivan says:

    Here is the Regional Link from Ofsted http://t.co/WuWi2ZZQpf which is the Regional Groups. I think that the groups that shaped the Big Conversation need to reform and offer to host and chair a Regional meeting. I agreed to kick off the London one.

Mr Creosote says:

Hi June..as you say, a step in the right direction. Did they give any indications as to what they propose to do to address the situation regarding the non-existent appeal / complaint procedure??

    June O'Sullivan says:

    I think the idea is to get the opportunity to really focus on what we want through the Regional groups. They have tweeted me this link http://t.co/WuWi2ZZQpf which is the Regional Groups. I think that the groups that shaped the Big Conversation need to reform and offer to host and chair a Regional meeting here we use the previous formula of agenda with solution focused well planned meeting.l Model.

      Mr Creosote says:

      I’m happy to go along to Tom Shea’s in Northampton again as we have a number of outstanding issues that need addressing. New Ofsted guidance out today News
      Article suggests the penny may be starting to drop….”inadequate” settings will now be re-inspected within 6 months rather than the hitherto damaging period of 12.

Thank you June – you have answered the question I posted on Linkedin this morning

Sandra Brouet says:

Hi June, Thanks for this update. This is a really positive move and all the more reason to get more people from the sector involved in the #ofstedbigconversation. Will share.

    June O'Sullivan says:

    Thank you. I hope its another example of how the sector is actually a well informed and proactive rationale force.

Catriona Nason says:

You are so right June the sector do want to meet face to face and this will go some way to offsetting the angst. On Monday we will send your blog out to all those who have been involved in #OfstedBigConversation and get their feedback. Great job!

    June O'Sullivan says:

    Thanks Catriona. I think the sector now needs to write to Ofsted and offer to host and chair regional meetings and use a clear solution focused agenda. Thanks for sharing this.

    John Wilson says:

    It would be nice to think that OFSTED would work with the people who hosted the original Big Conversations rather than trying to create something else for hosting regional meetings.

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