An Invitation to the 2016 Autumn London Big Ofsted Conversation

October 4th 2016

Dear Colleagues

It’s time for the next London OBC, please come. It’s long overdue.  We had planned the next one around our invitation to the new Chair of Ofsted David Hoare.  Having sorted the date, he could not come as unfortunately he had to resign ( having upset the Isle of Wight).  It’s a shame really because his language about the state of poverty in the Isle of Wight may have been clumsy and crass, I think his heart was in the right place. He was the first Ofsted Trustee in a long time who was considering how Ofsted could play its part in reducing child poverty.

However, we now have a date, a venue and an agenda.

When ?                                                  17th October

Where?                                                 Bain & Company, 40 The Strand, London

What Time?                                         14:00 – 17:00

How to Book?                                     Eventbrite link :                                                                                               conversation-greater-london-open-meeting-                                                                                             tickets-28217523372

Who is coming from Ofsted?            Gill Jones, Director

For those of you new to the OBC, everyone who runs a setting in London and beyond is welcome.  It’s a first come, first served approach.

The OBC was set up in 2013 initially by me but now run locally across the country by great Early Years colleagues.  It is our response to what had become a very toxic relationship between the sector and Ofsted.  We thought it better if we developed a means of having a good conversation to iron out our differences and make improvements.  After all, the best regulator and inspector has a mature and respectful relationship with those they inspect and regulate. The process has worked and we have a much better relationship with Ofsted because of this joint effort.  However, we need to keep the conversation going. Currently, the regions are led by volunteer chairs including but not exclusive:

Mandy Richardson (Cornwall)

Cheryl Hadland (South West) 

Ken McArthur (Yorkshire and Humber) 

Kate Peach (South East) 

Sarah McKenzie (South East) 

Linda Baston-Pitt (East of England)

Jo Verill (North East)

Jennie Johnson (North West) 

Jo Kinloch (North West) 

Kala Patel ( East Midlands)

Nazma Meah (West Midlands)

Every region runs its OBC slightly differently to take account needs and timings but we all do it on a voluntary basis. At our annual Chairs meeting we set the basic agenda for the year and then add issues as they arrive. I will add them below.

 October Meeting Business Agenda


  • Welcome
  • Reflections on ‘Unknown Children : Destined for Disadvantage’ report
  • Update on new Chair
  • Progress on Ofsted training inspectors
  • EYFS changes (nutrition)
  • British values review
  • Clarification on references (good practice / compliance)
  • Inspection for the 30 hours
  • Childminder agency update
  • Progress of Scrutiny Panels
  • Closing remarks

If you want to learn more about the structure of the OBC, its regionally driven goals and guide to Ofsted, go to

 Ofsted Actions from the Last OBC

These can be found at

They are as follows :

  • Ofsted to consider notification time of inspections at the next contractors and notification services meeting.
  • Ofsted to keep British Values on the OBC agenda
  • Ofsted to ensure that CMs be invited to join a panel given 47,000 cms are still registered with Ofsted
  • Scrutiny Panel Members attending OBC to add feedback to OBC website
  • Ofsted to review the wording of the Single Registration and consider maintaining the existing wording which work.
  • Ofsted to engage with the sector with regards to the setting of fees.
  • Ofsted will examine their role in this policy development paying attention to how this affects them as the sole arbiter of quality.  For discussion at next OBC
  • OBC members to actively engage and use OBC website as a useful central info point

 Regional Action (not addressed by the agenda):

1. The Revised Inspection Framework

Key Questions:

  • How will the same framework work in early years settings and schools if they have different regulatory systems?
  • When will all settings judged satisfactory be re-inspected?
  • How will Ofsted ensure a level playing field when inspecting two-year olds in schools vs early years settings
  • 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?
  • How will the promise that from September 2015, everybody will be given a half-day notice of an inspection although Ofsted retain the right to unannounced inspections?
  • When will there be a Handbook for the revised framework?


2. Complaints

Key Questions:

  • How can a complaints process without independent arbitration be justified (power to overturn a decision as well as determining if complaints process has been followed)?
  • 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?
  • We need to collect quarterly statistical data on complaints completed, upheld and the outcomes

3. Calibre and Integrity of inspectors to ensure fair inspections.

Key Questions:

  • Can we have data about qualifications of ISP inspectors?
  • How are we collecting evidence and then challenging nonsense (minor issues and opinion issues causing inadequate evidence)
  • What will Ofsted do about conflicts of interest, for example, where inspectors are consultants or competitors in the same regions? They inspect and tout for business cash for questions.

 4. Childminding and Childminding inspection

 Key Questions:

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