In 2013, I set up the Ofsted Big Conversation #OBC because I was so dismayed at how our relationship had deteriorated with our regulator. I was beyond angry at what was happening and I was prepared to stand up and make this public. I was furious at what I saw was Ofsted behaving badly, allowing inspectors to behave in high-handed and arrogant ways and make damning judgements. Ofsted had lost its centre and had become patronizing and scathing about the Early Years sector.
I touched a nerve and the sector responded. Overnight colleagues across England set up their own OBCs and they continue to this day. To their credit, the Ofsted management responded and people like Gill Jones and Wendy Ratcliff stepped up and opened up a channel of conversation. Since then, things have improved, and the Regional Inspectors and relevant colleagues have regularly attended OBCs across the country. However, I have always urged against complacency.
I listened with anxiety to people say “but its so much better so we don’t need an OBC…” but that misses the point. Things are better because we have the OBC and circumstances change on the head of a pin!
We continually face trials and tribulations. We are the Early Years sector; our middle name is torment! Outstanding judgements are dropping, more inadequate judgements are being issued because of pedantic reasons and many inspectors are new and not very experienced. Amanda Spielman will retire soon. We can never take our foot of the pedal.
Therefore, we need to continue to support our local #OBC. The London OBC is happening on the 18th May and we want to see you there. It will follow the usual pattern and as promised, this one is in person. We will cover the usual agenda but it would be great for you to share your news and ideas at the meeting too! The best meetings follow an appreciative inquiry approach where we will hear from the London Ofsted team and together learn about what is happening, examine new ideas, and figure out how to improve what is going well and dump the unworkable!
Come and enjoy the catch up. Bring a colleague and enjoy London by going out to dinner afterward and deepen your pedagogical conversations over a glass of wine!
RSVP via Eventbrite here