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30 Apr 2024

Nursery Managers Book Club: Are You Ready For Your Inspection?

Nursery Managers Book Club: Are You Ready For Your Inspection?

In this month's Nursery Managers Book Club, NMT features editor Charlotte Goddard learns how managers can prepare for their next visit from Ofsted.

Ofsted inspections have been much in the news recently, with the most recent story being the retention of the controversial single-word judgements for schools and nurseries. This edition of Are You Ready For Your Inspection? has been updated to include the latest information, such as changes introduced in January this year to support the mental health  of managers and headteachers during an inspection.

Author Vanessa Dooley, founder of Jigsaw Early Years Consultancy, draws on her experience as a freelance inspector, nursery manager and early years consultant to create a guide jampacked with practical information, tips and advice on preparing for an Ofsted inspection.

Ofsted itself, when asked what a nursery can do to prepare for an inspection, tends to say “nothing!” –and of course high-quality provision needs to be embedded in everyday practice, not just whipped out to impress on inspection day. Dooley is clear about this, telling of one setting where children were mightily confused by the sudden introduction of in-depth activities to impress the inspector, resulting in tears and a lack of engagement.

However, managers will find it useful to know what to expect from an inspection at the very least, and Dooley takes the reader through the process in detail. She also provides a plethora of auditing tools, reflective questions to ask about your setting’s policy and practice, and useful tips on everything from ensuring staff understand your safeguarding policy (stick it on the door of the toilet) to supporting children’s home languages (having parents record words for emotions using “talking tins”).

A chapter on leadership and management is particularly helpful for managers, including helpful advice on safeguarding, parental engagement, staff training, and policies and procedures. For example, Dooley advises managers to steer clear of pre-written off-the-shelf policies as these can be a red flag for inspectors, indicating a lack of reflection or ownership.

Are You Ready For Your Inspection? is written in an easy-to-read, chatty style, and Dooley’s personality shines through with asides and anecdotes which serve to illustrate the points she is making. Like some other books I have reviewed in this sector, it could do with a thorough edit as there are numerous typos and some missing words – but all in all, this is a highly practical and engaging book.


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