Friday lunchtime, a phone call, it’s 12.10. Who else could it be but Ofsted?
A Sunday afternoon staff meeting, reminders of Safeguarding procedures and what Prevent actually means again and again.
Monday morning and Ofsted appear, she’s a friendly, warm lady…always dangerous.
After singing registration we start with Dough Gym and Funky Fingers and she asks a member of staff why we do it. Member of staff explains perfectly, talking about gross and fine motor skills.
I want her to experience Forest School, she doesnt really want to get her suit dirty but I insist. A silent shadowy figure behind a tree, I cautiously approach her and hand her my plans, unsure if I’m supposed to acknowledge her or not. She watches almost a whole session and staff and children have forgotten she was there. We did what we always did, nothing flashy, nothing new. The children played in hammocks, a mud kitchen and played hide the soft animal which led to some beautiful sustained shared thinking when I put them in a tree out of reach.
After lunch comes the dreaded interview, 3 hours of questions on recruitment, procedures evidence and triangulation. Then, she says brightly “Anything else you want to show me?’. I produce a huge folder on the improvements and changes since the last inspection. She nods, occasionally types. Then, for no other reason than nerves, I blurt out ‘And Father Christmas came last week’. At that point she tells me she needs time to write up her report.
Feedback. Only about 20% of the feedback is in the report. I wish I had filmed it. She gave advice and pointers to think about which I’ve never known an inspector do.
We survived, having the weekend to prepare was tough, we barely slept. Feels like so much work for one day, one morning really. But it isn’t just one day, the difference we make to those children, the start we give them is the foundation for their whole learning experience so we have to get it right, more than for just one day.
I’m happy to answer any questions on our Ofsted experience, just email me.