Proposed Early Years Inspection Handbook

Good news everybody! Ofsted have released the proposed Early Years Inspection Handbook set to come into effect in September 2019. Yet another document for you to pour over. I have had a quick glance over all 40 pages of it and it isn't awful, I actually like it. Here are my first impressions, more to follow.

I welcome the refocus on observing children and less on paperwork. One of the Ofsted's I have lived through involved the inspector spending less then 30 minutes observing children all day.

This new document really highlights Ofsted's new focus; communication, communication, communication.

Ofsted are now judging in 5 areas:

  • Overall effectiveness

  • The quality of education

  • Behaviour and attitudes

  • Personal development

  • Leadership and management.

No more Outcomes for children (which I always thought was a bit odd as it linked heavily to Quality of teaching and seemed to repeat itself).

I really like the focus on the Quality of education and how it's broken down into 3 areas . It makes it much easier to pick apart and evaluate as a team to build an action plan from:

  • Intent (Leaders, managers and senior staff ensure all staff are secure in their knowledge of the curriculum)

  • Implementation (How the curriculum is delivered. What was Quality of teaching and learning).

  • Impact (Assessment).

This section also talks about 'Cultural Capital'. I had to research this a lot. After much searching, the National Curriculum Aims talk about children needing to learn the essential skills and knowledge in order to be successful citizens. I think this means that Early Years should include the teaching of knowledge but just as important, the behaviour and skills to become a rounded, well adjusted social human.

I notice that Ofsted have included their definition of teaching again, something the inspector in our recent Ofsted also pointed us to and that I then pointed to, printed out on our noticeboard. I use the verbs in it to write observations to demonstrate teaching.

'Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term that covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment adults provide and the attention given to the physical environment, as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations. Integral to teaching is how practitioners assess what children know, understand and can do, as well as taking account of their interests and dispositions to learn (characteristics of effective learning), and how practitioners use this information to plan children’s next steps in learning and monitor their progress.' Early years inspection handbook. January 2019, No. 180040. pg 32.

I really, really like Behaviour and attitudes which is basically the Characteristics of Effective Learning. Our inspector really liked that we added these to almost every observation. I feel the CoEL are the goals we should all steer our children towards, they are the foundation blocks of their learning path and I cannot emphasise enough how much these matter. Get these right and the rest will follow.

Personal development talks about risks and resilience, this makes my heart sing! As a Forest School leader, this is our bedrock, our inspector mentioned several times how happy she was to see the children taking and managing their own risks.

I'll sleep on it, reflect and add more tomorrow.

Here is the proposed Early Years Framework (don't loose to much sleep over it).


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