Feedback from the Worcester #Ofstedbigconversation meeting on 14th September 2013   2 comments

#OfstedBig Conversation

Feedback from Worcester Meeting


Number of Attendees                                   40

Childminders                                                     15       Group Settings representatives                     13

Pre School Learning Alliance Staff                3      College staff                                                              2

Local Authority Staff                                          2      ICM-SE directors                                                      2

Independent Trainer                                         1      Former providers / Other                                   2


Several people had travelled considerable distances to attend, as can be seen from attendees there was a good representation of all types of early years settings and those who provide support services.

It was a very emotional meeting, with some very upset about their experiences, some angry, and some who had not had direct experiences themselves, completely shocked at what they were hearing.

We started as a large group and a brief overview of why these meetings had been arranged, and what we hoped to achieved. The issues to be discussed and the original thoughts from June O’Sullivan’s blog were read out to help people understand what we were discussing.

We then split into four groups and ‘overlapped’ the questions so apart from the first and last issue, each issue was discussed by two groups.

The brief was – to use the inspections stories from the group to provide the background to what is not working at the moment and then to think about suggestions for the way forward.

We then all came back together for feedback and there was opportunity for those who had not discussed particular issues to give their suggestions. However most found the issues overlapped and so they had already discussed within their group.


The most often expressed concerns were that Ofsted do not have a regulator and investigate everything internal. Everyone though that they should be sector representation on within a regulatory board and also on advisory boards.


The second issued mentioned by everyone was ‘Is there a hidden agenda?’ as it seems that there is something driving this as part of a ‘bigger picture’. People felt undervalued, and it seems that Ofsted are determined to find fault with settings and the sector as a whole.


This feedback from the Worcester meeting is a combination of  from feedback from the discussion groups – as per my personal memory of this, personal listening in to the discussions in the different groups as I went round the groups, general discussion before and after the ‘official discussion’, written feedback from the facilitators of each group.


It is possible that others who were at the meeting may wish to add things from their own personal notes.



Item Issue Key Questions Action from Ofsted
1 Ofsted dual roles of regulation & improvement Can we all agree what this should look like?
  • We felt this is  could be possible. IF  guidelines should be in place Guidelines to be drawn up
  • Set up an advisory board which is sector led / representation to monitor
  • Not every inspector gives advice for improvement .Need to ensure consistency
    • Conflicting advice from Ofsted and LA Ofsted and LA’s to work much more closely on a regional (or LA area) basis, (maybe LA staff to attend Ofsted led sessions for providers – or Ofsted to provide the sessions for LA staff and then for LA staff to cascade in their area.)


2 Ofsted rationale for complaint initiated inspections which go back over 10 years Can we all agree what this should look like?
  • Complaints not relevant  if pre  EYFS?  Staff turnover could mean that no one was present for that complaint / regulations have changed – Should only investigate old complaints if connected to a member of staff who still works in setting and a safeguarding issue
  • OfSTED have gone from not acting on complaints to acting on every single one – maybe because of criticism in Serious Case Reviews. Felt that revisiting complaints already investigated does not achieve anything in connection to the complaint .Set up a procedure to review old complaints as an internal issue for Ofsted to identify weaknesses in their system.
  • Concern expressed that  OfSTED appear to be concentrating on complaint initiated inspections and routine inspections Ofsted to maintain routine inspections especially for those setting with lower grades.
  • Concern expressed that Ofsted appear to be determined to ‘find something’ during complaint triggered inspections. If carrying out necessary complaint triggered inspections to concentrate on the complaint issue first – and then to carry out a normal inspection
  • Concern expressed about malicious complaints and the impact on the settings concerned, Ofsted to clarify at beginning of such complaint inspections if settings have any knowledge / evidences to show it is a possible malicious complaint.
    • Concerns expressed about settings who are pre judged in complaint situations and told due to complaint they can not get outstanding / will lose their outstanding grade because a complaint logged. Settings should be fairly judged on the day – to inspection criteria.
  • Concerns expressed about complaint triggered inspections that do not investigate the complaint. Set up an independent body for providers to complain about inspections and in particular about complaint triggered inspections – that actually do not investigate the complaint that triggered the inspection.


3 Ofsted  Quality Assurance Process Can we all agree what this should look like?
  • Many concerns expressed about this and one very important question asked – Has anyone had the QA team upgrade a inspection judgement? (No one had) Ofsted to ensure their QA systems works both ways and both upgrade and down grade judgements
  • Concerns about number of downgraded QA decisions. Ofsted to ensure that inspectors are capable of making judgements that do not need to changed on such a regular basis.


4 Ofsted inspector training and support Can we all agree what this should look like? Huge debate about this – some even used internet phones to check out inspector criteria – general shock about this!


  • All inspectors should have early years experience, and knowledge of the different types of settings. Ofsted to ensure ALL inspectors have same level of previous experience and training (across Tribal and Prospects)
  • Felt important that inspectors had specific knowledge of type of setting inspecting All inspectors to receive training about types of settings being inspected.
  • Felt 3 days training not sufficient Inspectors to have a longer induction process
  • For new inspectors – even more concerns expressed. During first few inspections  – Two inspectors to be used. (some wanted two inspectors for all inspections)
    • Felt CPD for inspections not sufficient. Inspectors to undertake regular CPD appropriate to type of settings that inspect.
5 Inspector Decision making and feedback Can we all agree what this should look like?
  • Felt feedback should not be given at end of inspections as everyone tired Settings felt they needed time to gather feedback from staff. Feedback to be arranged for following day
  • Concern that feedback given to one person with no one to provide support or to record what is said Settings to be allowed to have another staff member, or a LA staff member or peer support person from another setting to be present during feedback
  • Feedback  needs to  be agreed by all present as a accurate account. Ofsted to consider implementing form for this.
  • General moderation (QA) should take place before feedback given so that the grade discussed  at feedback is the grade that will be given. Ofsted to look into implementing this new system of feedback and moderation
  • Concern about moderation not being based on evidence recorded during inspection, and possible questioning of inspector for verbal recall Genuine QA sampling should be based on agree evidence as recorded by inspector
    • Guidance for protocol and inspection guidance not always followed. Settings to be able to complain if protocol not followed inspection or feedback without it triggering another inspection
6 Significant incidents What constitutes a managerial judgement? Several in room who had made management decisions had then had their decisions questioned, were inspected downgraded and in some cases lost their business and their life long work. Loss of ability to provide the Fee Entitlement a huge problem

  • Managers and childminders becoming scared of making judgements that are later judged ‘wrong’ by Ofsted  Managers should not be penalised for making management decisions
  • Settings felt that inspectors not looking at evidence to back management decisions made Ofsted to ensure that all evidence looked at – and to have form to be signed  by settings to say they are happy all relevant evidenced looked at.
  • Some reports appearing online before providers have seen them Reports should not be published before received by provider
7 New Inspection Regime in November What will this entail and how much information will we expect in the light of heavier emphasis on keeping children safe and teaching and learning?
  • Concerns were expressed about what Ofsted consider to be appropriate teaching and learning, and keeping children safe. Felt that without in depth knowledge of the children and the ethos of settings, or appropriate up to date CPD inspectors could make the wrong conclusions. Inspectors to ensure they ask settings for detailed information and do not base judgements on personal views
  • Due to sheer amount of discussion, verbal feedback from groups was not taken for this issue, however there were handouts available for those who were not aware of the changes



Posted September 18, 2013 by psw260259 in My thoughts on current childcare issues

2 responses to “Feedback from the Worcester #Ofstedbigconversation meeting on 14th September 2013

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  1. Pingback: West Midlands Ofsted Big Conversation continues on 17th September 2016 | Penny's Place Childminding

  2. Pingback: Feedback from West Midlands Ofsted Big Conversation on 5th October 2018 | Penny's Place Childminding

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