A tale of two inspection reports   3 comments

In my previous blog CLICK HERE TO READ , I wrote about the fact that I was very cross that my inspection report had been published – even though I have a stage two complaint still on going.

 

How can it be right that Ofsted can publish a report when the provider is saying it is full of errors?

Well it seems they can – and they do –  I now know that this is happening to a lot of people up and down the country – and further that often they are not believed and it is the inspectors word against the providers word, and so despite complaining the report stays – errors and all.

 

An appalling state of affairs – and something that Ofsted need to reflect on – and take action to improve – as soon as possible.

 

However Ofsted may have done me and my co minder a favour – because in my case my co minder was inspected on the same day, by the same inspector,  at my setting and with the same four children.

Now both reports are published I can quote from both of the reports, and hopefully show just how silly this whole situation is.

I am not going to unpick all  of the reports at this stage – just a few key points –  My comments are in blue

Point One – Inspection Date

My report  states the date of inspection as 24/02/2014

My co minders report  states the date of inspection as   25/02/2014

So which is right? The inspector did come on both days – 30 mins on 24th Feb and just over 4 hrs on 25th Feb.

As we were both present on both days – surely we should have the same inspection date?

Inspection Activities 

My report says  – The inspector observed the childminder engage in a range of indoor and outdoor learning activities and daily care routines with the children.

My co minders report says  – The inspector observed the childminder engage in a range of indoor learning activities and daily care routines with children

My co minder received her draft report first and objected to the wording in it. The wording was amended slightly to reflect this – and the word outdoor was removed. However the word outdoor is still with in my report.

Facts are the inspector glanced outside on 24th Feb – no children were outside at that time.

She did not even look at garden , never mind go outside on 25th Feb.  My co minder did not go outside on either day – I went out with all 4 children on the 25th Feb  but not at all on the 24th Feb.

As the inspector did not go out side at all on either day – how did she observe any outdoor activities? 

 

Recommendations

My report says –  To further improve the quality of the early years provision the provider should:

 

develop younger children’s understanding of the importance of tidying up and putting things back where they belong so that they have plenty of space in which they can play and move around safely.

 

My co minders report –  To further improve the quality of the early years provision the provider should:

develop children’s understanding of the importance of tidying up and putting things back where they belong, so that they have space in which they can play and move around safely.

 

Well,  at least we have one recommendation the same – however we did not agree to this wording.

We reluctantly – because pressured into accepting a recommendation – agreed  that we would  ‘further support the 2 yr olds to tidy when it was developmental appropriate to do so’.

Clearly the inspector had decided for some reason to change this  –  and so she has added the bit about ‘move around safely’

I strongly object to this – as it reads as though the environment was not safe to move around. The children had resources out in one room as part of normal play – an adult was supervising at all times. The other two interconnecting rooms – had resources set out but the children had mainly stayed in the one room, and so there was plenty of space in which they could play and move around safely.

I am very cross that the inspector changed the wording to include an aspect that was not even mentioned on inspection day

Furthermore I feel it was the inspectors personal judgement about if  the environment was safe or not  – we had explained about tidy up times and the reasons why we had set times at the moment for tidy up – and had she looked – she would have seen this documented in the staff communication book – and in the 2 year olds diaries, in the ideas for supporting their development

Also – if the inspector had thought the environment was not safe to move around safely – she should have said so?

 

Full report statements (Same sections from each report )

Example One

My report says;

The childminder makes good use of relevant guidance to help track children’s development accurately, to ensure they continue to make good progress. Ongoing observations and assessments help to identify what children need to do next, as well as any gaps in their learning. Weekly planning is based around children’s interests in topics, such as ‘transport’.

 

My co minders report says;

The childminder makes good use of relevant guidance to help track children’s development accurately to ensure they continue to make good progress in all areas of learning. Regular observations and assessments help to identify the next stage in children’s learning and also inform future planning. The childminder works with her co – minder to plans on a weekly basis where she takes into consideration children’s daily interests. For example, children show interest in babies, so the childminder ensures there is a good range of resources available to help children extend their learning

On the day – all four children did the same things through the day – which was their own choice.

I know that when 2 childminders are inspected at the same time that the inspector is not supposed to use the same wording – but if the children did the same things, and the childminders plan together – this is a complete farce – and in my opinion there is no reason for this rule.

It would be different if the childminders did individual key children planning separately – but in our case we planned together for all the children – as a group and as individuals.

So why does it mention transport in my report and babies in my co minders report? All the children had opportunities to take part in baby related activities / experiences AND transport related activities and experience.

In my report it says;

Planning is flexible and allows for spontaneous activities, which are led by children. For example, children develop their imagination and critical thinking as they decide to dress up. They independently put on vet outfits and nurse their toy animals,which supports their language and communication. The childminder extends children’s learning as she suggests they place plasters and bandages on the animal.

 

My co childminder report says;

As a result, children develop their language and are able express their feelings. Songs, rhymes and discussions further support children’s vocabulary as they learn new words. Children learn to care for animals as they decide to get food for the pet guinea pig. This is further supported through role play activities where children play with soft toy animals, which supports their imagination.

 

So these two bits of the main wording are very similar – but why is the bit about the Guinea pig not mentioned in my report? I think it is an important point – learning to care for animals.

Why does it not mention the plasters and bandages in my co minders report? Again this point was important because it was how the children’s spontaneous change of direction in to ‘vet play’ was supported and extended.

Example Two

My report says;

Children use a good range of equipment, such as a climbing frame, wheeled toys and crates to support their physical development.

My co minders report says;

The childminder provides a wide range of equipment, such as climbing equipment, to support children’s physical skills

As with other things my co minders report had had some wording amended – and the the words wheeled toys had been removed as we don’t have any. So why were those words in my co minders report in the first place? They were not a copy and paste from either my previous report or my co minders report . So did the inspector just make it up that we have wheeled toys?

Now it must be remembered that within my report it is stated that the inspector observed outside activities – so why is the sand pit (or the huge spider that we found when we took the lid off ) not mentioned or the musical saucepans that I got out of the shed and the children used? Could it be that the inspector did not go outside?

By the way if you want to see my evidence of the outside play on the 25th Feb please Click HERE

 Oh but I forgot – the inspector claims to have done my inspection on the 24th Feb – and these activities took place on 25th Feb. It is a shame that when you put in a complaint you are not allowed to send in any supporting documents – because like most modern camera’s my photo’s are automatically dated.

All a bit of a mess – all rather confusing – and not least because the inspector appears confused about what she saw – and when she saw it.

 

That is it for now – as I will be writing the full story for a magazine but I think I have given enough information for anyone with an ounce of common sense to see that the inspector – being generous has not been consistent in recording what she observe – and at worse has made it up without any actual observed evidence – which in many eyes would be regarded as lying. Certainly with my strong honesty based ethos, I call it lying.

 

What will be interesting now is if the inspector is believed or if I am.

 

 

 

3 responses to “A tale of two inspection reports

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  1. I don’t really have time to read much of your stuff these days (or anyone elses), and when I first started reading I thought it was a tad petty and didn’t really get it, however on reading fully, it is truly shocking and indicative of why some providers get worse / better gradings than they deserve, particularly in this case as some of it is complete fabricated!!! I feel for you, but sadly feel its a fight you’re not going to win 😦 x

  2. As I inboxed you before – I had exactly the same problem. We did float and sink and I talked to an intelligent 4 year old about the fact that when objects have air in them- it helps them float, like soft wood which has air in it. In the report it said that I was talking about heavier and lighter. I said that I wasn’t in my first complaint about the report and the response came back that I should have been because that’s the only language allowed when discussing float and sink. I asked my childminding co-ordinators and they said that nowhere is it stipulated what to say. + loads of other lies too. The whole system is a farce. How can I go from outstanding to satisfactory without changing. It’s the luck of the draw on the day! 😦

  3. Dear Penny,
    Thank you for all that you do; for campaigning, for sharing your experiences and knowledge with us all this time.
    I am flabbergasted, though I shouldn’t be, your latest inspection experience sounds … well, nothing short of ridiculous. While your high profile as a childminder shouldn’t make any difference to the outcome of an inspection, surely it would be common sense to make sure that it was impeccably conducted particularly bearing in mind the complaints i.e. I’s dotted and t’s crossed, content checked before publication? The handling of your inspection, from start to finish, sounds unprofessional to say the least! What chance does anyone stand?
    I have been childminding for 20 years so started out under social services. Then, a familiar face visited once a year, sent a couple of hours building on knowledge from previous inspections so didn’t have to cover everything every time and was able to make observations, suggestions and recommend locally available training etc. Policies and ethos were discussed. Sometimes there was an emphasis to these visits e.g. promoting a particular area of practice or children’s development, sometimes they were late; if there was an influx of new registrations or some in need of extra support. There were also occasional unannounced visits, mainly for support. We bumped into each other a play groups, drop-ins, local conferences etc.
    My first inspection under Ofsted was, I felt, fair and balanced and carried out by someone who took the time to explain her experience and background, inspiring professional confidence. The balance was between knowledge, practice and observation backed by some paperwork. Frequency had dropped to every 3 years.
    The next Ofsted inspection (conducted by a local trainer turned inspector) was more focused on paperwork, the grade was not revealed on the day because she had to go away and consult. I had a phone call later withdrawing some of the positive comments from the feedback session and focusing on something she had already said was minor e.g. a box of hypoallergenic plasters on top of the first aid box that were 3 weeks out of date. Rumours about quotas were rife at the time.
    The third Ofsted inspection was carried out by someone from 90 miles away, I didn’t know anything about her (but later found out that she had been a schools inspector in another county) the emphasis was almost completely on paperwork, she was extremely critical of my environment and organisational skills and wasn’t particularly interested in children’s activities but her comments were not reflected in the report which seemed to be a cut and paste from my self-evaluation form. My development officer said I should be pleased with it. I am not sure what the frequency of inspection is now, a couple of people in my area graded good haven’t heard from Ofsted for 5 years.
    All my inspections have resulted in a grade of good (or equivalent) with comments on areas of particularly good practice. I have always been happy with my grade. The requirements have changed over the years. In the early days a good childminder’s practice was led by the three primary areas (though we didn’t call it that) and professional judgements based on knowledge and trusting relationships were used to evaluate them. A decade or so of targets, goals, convoluted themed planning sheets, being cajoled into behaving just like group settings and tick box judgments then followed. I am pleased that we have come full circle on the importance of the 3 primary areas and the importance of love, cuddles and bonding with little ones especially but we seem to be left with the tick box approach to evaluation by strangers who may not even have the professional knowledge to form judgments without the tick boxes, who don’t know us or our jobs so have to have photographic evidence of everything we claim to do, signed affidavits from colleagues and parents and children as evidence and a raft of paperwork describing what we are going to do in all imaginable circumstances…constantly updated as the requirements change.
    In all this professional respect for Ofsted has diminished.
    In all this it has become easier to acquire a higher grade than practice would merit by producing ‘the required’ paperwork to be ‘marked’!
    In all this some fantastic childminders who weren’t into ticking boxes have been lost.
    In all this have the outcomes changed for children?
    My understanding of outstanding (which might be a little out of date now) is practice that is of exceptionally high quality and worthy of sharing and disseminating to others. To my mind that means that only a very small percentage of providers should be outstanding (in order that the grade isn’t devalued) and that you, and others like you, who are so knowledgeable and demonstrate such high quality practice as to lead by example and inform others practice in positive ways are OUTSTANDING!

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