Part Three of personal response to Ofsted Early Yearly Report   Leave a comment

There is so much to unpick in this report I find that I am already writing part three (parts one and two available elsewhere on my blog)

I am actually now looking at point 4 of  31 – so I think there might eventually be many more parts to my response.

I want to pick up on the point made in the report

Our inspection evidence shows that what makes the most difference is the quality of the interaction between adults and children, which leads to them developing good early skills’. 

Unfortunately neither the information in the report or on Data View, give a break down for this particular aspect – which is a shame if it is considered  to be the aspect that makes the most difference in quality.

I would be really interested to know the figures for this because my gut feeling is that many childminders could do well in this aspect – partly due to the low ratio’s in a childminder  setting and partly because of the typical routines and experiences provided.

The data in the report on ‘The extent to which children achieve and enjoy their learning’ does give a hint because although all providers are grouped together,  the % of settings getting outstanding in this aspect is 15%  -an increase of 4% on the % for overall effectiveness.

I find the fact that the inspection evidence suggests that interaction between children and adults is most important, very interesting , I wonder why this is therefore not one of the judgments?

I need to make it clear that I am in favour of all practitioners  gaining a level 3 qualification as a minimum – and the sooner the better because of course a level 3 qualification covers far more than just the importance of interaction between adults and children

However in terms of my own interaction with the children in my care, this has not changed much in the 34 years that I have been looking after children (my own children, my grandchildren, and others people’s children as a childminder)

I have always talked to the children, always listen to them, always asked open questions, always been led by their interests.

That is before I did my level 3 qualification, before I studied at university, before I started reading childcare books and way before the internet.

So why is this?

Am I unique in this? – I don’t think so – but I am of a certain age, brought up before TV was over used, before mobile phones, before computers – in other words when people had time to talk – in person to each other.

Of course this skill in talking is not limited to my generation – many younger practitioners also have this skill – but and I think it is a bit but – many of these ‘natural’ childminder practitioners who instinctively ‘know’ that it is right to interact with children  and therefore provide an excellent environment for language and communication –  ‘clam’ up whenever an inspector enters the setting – in fact there is a ‘double impact’ because many childminders on reading the EYFS, on attending training courses, feel inadequate – they feel their ‘gut instinct  is not good enough and that they are lacking in the skills needed, and so because of this double impact on their confidence, the childminder does not interacted effectively with the inspector, and as a result, the inspector is unable to make a true judgment .

For these practitioners who find inspections terrifying, no amount of qualifications will make a difference – yes they may learn the theory behind what they instinctively know – but that won’t give them the confidence to act ‘normally’, to speak to inspectors, or to gain confidence in their own skills and knowledge – and so they will continue to be judged as being weak in this area.

Therefore for this aspect, the problem is often the practitioners inability to interact with the inspector due to lack of confidence –  rather that lack of knowledge or qualification.

So tying this in with conclusions made in the report – the inspection outcomes for childminders who do not have a level 3 qualification should not directly be linked to  poor practice / poorer outcomes for children because I think on non inspection days a much higher and effective level of interaction is seen. This of course means that as most children will only experience one inspection during their time in a childminder setting, they will only have one day where interaction is not as it should be – and therefore will not impact on their outcomes or profile results.

As interactions are considered the most important aspect of practice by Ofsted,  data needs to be collected about profile results of children at the end of early years foundation stage to show results of children who attended each type of setting before entering school – before any worthwhile conclusions can be made, and as mentioned before consideration needs to given to making interactions a judgment rather than part of an overarching judgement.

And one final point – it must be remembered that the data used is pre EYFS 2012- and before there was more flexibility to be judged on practice and outcomes of the children rather than paperwork and ticking all the ‘right’ boxes.

Time will tell if inspection judgments improve during 2012 – and particularly within the childminding sector but what is worrying me is the government are planning drastic and far reaching changes – before EYFS 2012 has been embedded or has any data based on those inspections.

The question in my mind is what  if EYFS 12 is the framework that does improve outcomes – but changes are made that reverse that improvement? Surely anything ‘new’ should be given chance to prove itself before its replacement is planned?

Posted November 29, 2012 by psw260259 in My thoughts on current childcare issues

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