OFSTED – I HAVE HAD ENOUGH – (and yes capitals mean I am cross and I am SHOUTING)   10 comments



I am known for being fair, for being honest (to the point that I can dig myself a hole by refusing to lie or to with hold the truth)


I believe in discussion and negotiation, I believe in people doing what they are supposed to do – especially if they are paid to do that thing, I believe in a democratic society where you are innocent until proven guilty, I believe in inspection and accountability, and quality assurance


My personal ethos is stated clearly in my setting documentation as follows;


I am a very honest person – and being honest is important to me. I cannot cope with lies, or withholding information or with using information creatively to benefit self. I accept that sometimes, what I might call a white lie or withholding information to benefit another person or prevent them from being upset or hurt – can have a place.

Being so honest does not always ‘sit well’ with others – including family members. Sometimes I have ‘dug myself a hole’ by refusing to sit back and allow others to do or say things which I know to be wrong and I know have the potential to hurt others.

Within my childminding practice I say it as it is – my weekly parents newsletters are full of apologies for not doing things that I should have done – like not being up to date with the children’s records, like not having the draft of a policy review completed when I said I would. If I have a day where my personal reflection is that – I could have done better – I say so. If I have one of those days when to be honest I wish I could throw myself on the floor and kick and scream in frustration – I say so (have not yet thrown myself on the floor – but if I ever do – I will say so)


Some will say I should be more worldly wise, I should not expect others to have the same ethos as me, or to act professionally and with honesty.


But why shouldn’t  I expect people to be honest? Why can’t I expect people to act professionally and do the job that they are paid to do? Why can’t I expect to have a fair, consistent inspection experience?


Yes – you have guessed right – I am on about my recent brought forward inspection of my childminding practice.


There are already several blogs that I have written documenting my experience (use the search on the blogsite to find them if you have not already read them) – however for the past few weeks I have not said a lot – as I wanted to be fair to the inspection company and give them opportunity to investigate and to come back to me with their findings.


It seems I was wrong – very wrong – to expect any sort of professional investigation in to my complaint, or to expect my report to remain unpublished until the investigation was complete, or to expect that the truth would be apparent and another inspection offered to judge me on my practice through observation and secondary documentation evidence.


So as I was was wrong – and as I feel I have been treated unfairly – the gloves are off so to speak – I am now going to go public – and kick up a fuss.


Hang on – calm down Penny – I hear my friends and colleagues shouting at me through their computer screen as they read this – what has changed since yesterday?

I will tell you what has changed ….


…… it all started with the arrival of the post – I had a lovely letter from my LA congratulating me on my grade of GOOD in my recent Ofsted inspection – a generic letter I know but a lovely touch from my LA – in ‘normal’ circumstances.


But not today and not for me – because I knew this meant my Ofsted report from my inspection – yes my brought forward inspection that I currently have a stage two complaint about – you know about the fact that the inspector did not follow the inspection framework, about the fact that the draft report had errors – well –  lies really – and that because of this, I thought the inspection was flawed and the report not worth the paper it was written on (Ok I did word it better than that – but I am cross now)


So onto the Ofsted website I go  ……

……. and there it was my report complete with all the errors, all the lies – not a word changed – nothing to suggest that I was complaining about it – just there for everyone to see.

So much is wrong – it really is not worth the paper it is written on

And if you are interested and because by now I am not bothered about keeping the name of the inspection company or the inspector confidential – you can go and look for your self – remember this is the Ofsted website and it is they who have published this information – not me                                   My Ofsted report



So now I have a report that is  not based on facts or the truth, I have a grade that does not reflect my practice


…… and all because someone decided to put in a malicious complaint


Which is fine – but what is not fine is that those who are paid to inspect my practice and to report fairly on that practice have failed to do so.


So OFSTED – what are you going to do about this?

By your own admission (at round table talk with Truss on 25th March) you said –  the inspection companies have proved difficult to control at arms lengths – and the bricks being thrown at Ofsted (and the inspection companies) are justified.



Are you going to allow this to continue?

Are you going to allow practitioners like me to have their reputations damaged – through no fault of their own?

Are you going to allow those who make unfounded malicious complaints – to walk away without answering to  you or anyone else?

Are you going to continue to allow the inspection companies to investigate their own complaints?

Are you going to continue to allow Ofsted’s reputation to be ruined?

Are you going to ensure fair, consistent inspections in the future?

Are you going to state facts – based on what inspectors really see and check?


I want to be inspected by OFSTED, I want to remain an independent Ofsted registered childminder – and I want to be judged on my practice based on observation, and secondary documentation evidence.


To be fair Ofsted – actually you have no idea if my practice is Good as stated in the report that you have just published – or if it is outstanding, or indeed if it requires improvement – because the person paid to gather the evidence did not do so, the company you employ to carry out inspections failed to QA their inspector or to fully investigate my complaint about my inspection.

You simply do not know.





This is what I am going to do about it;

I have asked my membership organisation to support me with this

I have agreed to write an article for a professional  childcare magazine – where I shall – as I always do – tell the truth – the whole truth

I shall continue in my role as Chair of the West Midlands Big Ofsted Conversation and continue to try to work in partnership with Ofsted to put these issues behind us – not just mine but those of so many colleagues from all early years settings. I shall do this because it is my personal opinion that Ofsted made a grave error when they sub contracted to the inspection companies – and I hold on to my belief and personal experience that HMI inspectors and Ofsted as an organisation want things to improve, as much as I and my colleagues do

I have written this blog and will be sharing as widely as possible because this can not be allowed to continue


Ofsted, I actually have a professional respect for you and I have worked closely with you over a number of years – please step in to restore not only my confidence but that of the whole early years sector

10 responses to “OFSTED – I HAVE HAD ENOUGH – (and yes capitals mean I am cross and I am SHOUTING)

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  1. Penny if I wasn’t in the middle of litigation I would tell you a tale or two. If you want to contact me. Let me know on the internet address

  2. I cannot believe that an area needing to improve is tidying up!!!!!!
    Don’t let her inspect me when my lot are in full play mode!!!

    Whatever next????

    • Quite – and on this occasion my mindees had not made such a mess that it was unsafe – it was normal play – and an adult was with them – further more the other two – connecting – rooms used for childminding were not being used at that time and although resources set up to use – the floor space was completely clear. SHOULD any risk have been identified (it wasn’t) the children could have been supported to tidy up or could have gone in to another room.

      Usually they ‘transport’ resources all over the place to support their play – goodness knows what the inspector would have thought of that. And goodness knows what she would have thought – had they engaged in duplo play when the entire setting is cover in duplo models, train layouts and so on

  3. Penny it’s such a shame knowone is listening I feel your passion and I can only think one thought you are Outstanding xx

  4. i thoroughly understand your frustrations Penny as we have been through a very similar experience. I’m afraid all you can do is hold your head up high as you know what you do well. Things will never alter whilst an organisation investigates its own complaints and whilst an organisation does not look at both sides fairly. Radical change is needed

    • I totally agree – things must change hence my involvement in the Big Ofsted Conversation- and my blogging and public airing of my situation. I feel we need to take a stand and try to work in partnership to improve things

  5. Pingback: A tale of two inspection reports | Penny's Place Childminding

  6. Pingback: Inspection brought on by complaint

  7. Laura Gentry I would welcome any private discussions as I am in the process of using lawyers too.

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