There is a big change about to be sprung upon Early Years providers from April 2017. Unless you have been living on another planet you will have heard that Ofsted inspections will be carried out by Ofsted directly. Since 2010 two Companies, Prospect and Tribal have been tasked with completing inspections on behalf of Ofsted. But what does this mean for you and the Early Years sector?
Firstly it will mean that Ofsted inspectors will work for and be directly trained by Ofsted. There will be no third party involvement or contractors appointed to carry out Ofsted inspections from April 2017 onwards.
As with any change there is understandably some nervousness about the change but on the whole there seems to be a feeling of optimism about the pending changes. Although it remains to be seen how smooth the transition will be and what impact the change is likely to have on the sector.
Gill Jones, Ofsted’s Deputy Director has provided her reassurance to the sector that this change will be a positive one. Furthermore she has announced that the Common Inspection Framework will be adopted during all inspections and that consistency will be achieved. But with such a big change there is bound to be some uncertainty about the success of this.
To help alleviate anxieties Ofsted have also confirmed that only Ofsted Advisers with experience and knowledge within early years will be carrying out Ofsted inspections.
Have Your Say
Many people and providers based within the Early Years sector will want to ensure that their voice and opinions are heard. Particularly if they feel there is an injustice or inconsistency with how Ofsted inspections are completed.
Ofsted will continue to encourage feedback through their regional Big Conversation meetings and will listen and work with the sector to make the transition as seamless as possible.
Despite the constant change across the Early Years sector, not to mention the challenges it is facing such as the forthcoming introduction of the 30 hours free childcare roll out, it was recently reported in November 2016’s Ofsted Early Years Report that more childcare providers than ever are rated Good or Outstanding. This will be a reassurance to many people and providers and demonstrates the progress and continued improvements being achieved.
Direct Control and Management
It remains to be seen what the true impact of these changes will bring about for Early Years providers but in essence the fact Ofsted have recognised the importance of being directly involved in conducting inspections as well as being the main regulator for the sector can only be a good thing.
A better alignment between regulation and inspections should provide more stability for the sector and provide a central operation for these activities to thrive in.
Looking To The Future
Above all else the change in how Ofsted inspections will be carried out from April 2017 must focus on improving the performance of the Early Years sector and the quality it endeavours to deliver to children and parents.
By working together as a community and helping each other through the transition period will be paramount to its success.
I hope the change proves to be a positive experience for you and your setting. Please do get in touch and share your views with us on this topic. We would love to hear from you and what your thoughts are on how Ofsted inspections are conducted.
Have a great day.
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