An Invitation to Talk to Ofsted at the London #OBC15 Conversation

June 5th 2015

 #OfstedBig Conversation – London
@NatWest Bank – Commercial and Private Banking, 2nd Floor Argyll House, 246 Regent Street, London, W1B 3PB

24th June 2015 – 12:00 to 17.00 

Organising the London OBC has taken longer than we expected but we have finally got it sorted. Some of you will have read that the London Ofsted Director Debbie Jones (who you met at the first meeting) has now left Ofsted but she will be covered by three Ofsted colleagues, one of whom we met at the last meeting.

We can accommodate up to 50 people at a squeeze. Please use Eventbrite to ensure your place as its first come, first serve.  Try and just come as one representative so we get as many different voices as possible. Let’s plan for a lively meeting.

Just to help you prepare, let me get you up to speed. In February, all the Regional Chairs met to agree a central approach for the OBC 2015. We wanted to make sure we retain our strong, coherent voice and that we cover the same issues consistently so we are all aligned and keep on message. (I sound like someone from W1A!)

Since then, the Manchester meeting led by Jennie Johnson and Jo Kinloch attracted 220 people. Jo Verill and Ken McArthur reported that the North East and York meeting had 80+ signed up. Linda Baston-Pitt organised the East of England meeting for the 31st of March and Cheryl Hadland and Mandy Richardson were busy organising one in the South West. The remaining regions had dates in place and every meeting was fully booked.  And so it should be if we are to maintain a voice in the sector.

For further information check the OBC Website with thanks to Catriona Nason who keeps it up to date.  Also follow Watchsted which keeps an eye on all things Ofsted

So in readiness for the London meeting consider the following and chat to colleagues to get their view:

The Revised Inspection Framework

Suggested Questions:

  • How will it happen?
  • When will the Revised Inspection Handbook be issued?
  • Where will we access Ofsted information sessions?
  • How will inspectors be trained to deliver it?
  • What will the report look like?
  • How will the same framework work in early year’s settings and schools if they have different regulatory systems?
  • When will Ofsted be ready to run ‘paid for inspection’? Ofsted are currently awaiting sign off from the DfE which sets the regulations for fee and framework?

What progress is Ofsted making with regards to the half day notice of an inspection although Ofsted retain the right to unannounced inspections


Suggested Questions:

  • Has the drop in complaint-led inspections continued
  • Has the reduction in the number of RI/inadequate judgements stabilised?
  • What has this meant for the sector with regards to provision especially nurseries unable to take funded children?
  • How do we help childminders navigate the process of complaints?
  • How can we resolve the problem of the complaints document being so difficult to find on the Government website?
  • What happens to inspectors after it has been proven that they have not been truthful?

Calibre and Integrity of inspectors to ensure fair inspections.

Suggested Questions: 

  • Can we have data about qualifications of ISP inspectors
  • How do we collect evidence to challenge minor issues and opinion issues which cause a lower inspection judgement?
  • What will Ofsted do about conflicts of interest for example where inspectors are consultants or competitors in the same regions?

Childminding and Childminding inspection 

Suggested Questions: 

  • What is happening about childminding agencies locally?
  • What are the numbers of childminders locally? Is this decreasing?

Other Suggested Issues for Discussion

The 30 Month Registration

  • How do we reassure parents that new settings are safe and ensure quality without an external confirmation?
  • How are people experiencing the LAs practice of only giving the lowest funding formula while the setting has no formal judgement

The Early Years Pupil Premium

  • What is happening about how this will be judged as part of the inspection?

British Values

  • How this will be judged as part of the inspection? At LEYF we have organised a Sounding Board where we invite staff to join us to share their thoughts on what it looks like at every level of LEYF business. What are you going to do?


  • When to seek a waiver?
  • Length of time to resolve issues
  • Who is ultimately the decision maker; clarifying the role of each party

Obviously, other pressing issues will be discussed but we also have to manage the time.  Preparation is all, so please read what you can before you come, seek the opinions of your staff and come ready and willing to engage in a very critical conversation.

No notice inspections in sight

In future, nurseries will receive a half days’ notice ahead of their routine inspections, as part of the move towards the new common inspection framework, which will be introduced in September. This will put early years inspections on a par with schools in terms of notice, though Ofsted retains the right to inspect without notice where required.

The details have still to be worked out but it is likely that early years providers can expect to receive a call at about midday on the working day before their inspection.

Ahead of the new inspection framework, Ofsted carried out 30 shadow pilot inspections of early years setting in February. Forty more were due to be carried out after Easter, with some provider’s receiving advance notice.

For reference here are the Ofsted Stats on inspection outcomes last quarter

The Ofsted inspection figures for Sept-Dec 2014 are the best yet:

  • 77% of the 6,089 early years figures (all provision) inspected in the ¼ were judged good or outstanding – an increase of 3% on the previous inspection period.
  • 9% of nurseries were rated outstanding, while 65% were rated good – an increase of 3%
  • Just 8% of nurseries were rated inadequate – a drop of 2%
  • 18% of nurseries were rated as required improvement – a drop of 1%
  • 86% of nurseries were awarded good or outstanding at their most recent inspection – again a rise

So, it’s a good story from the sector so let’s see what we hear from Ofsted. See you there…

Breaking News!!

We are in the first stages of planning

“ A Big Childcare Conversation” hosted at Middlesex University and broadcasting using modern technology to the wide world ( fingers crossed!) We hope to look at every aspect of the 30 Hour Childcare policy. What do you think? As conversations seem to work in our sector, we want to host an even bigger one.  Keep the 19th of September free!