Ofsted Inspection Framework Q&A

Childminder Guides > Inspections > Ofsted Inspection Framework Q&A

Ofsted’s change of inspection emphasis from paperwork (data) to practice (quality of education) is HUGE and providers are, naturally, asking questions about what they are going to do next.

There are concerns about how much paperwork will be needed and what questions Ofsted inspectors are going to ask.

Here are some commonly asked questions with answers and the Childcare.co.uk information guide ‘Paperwork for Childminders’ has been updated to reflect the latest guidance from Ofsted.

When will the new framework start?

Ofsted will start to inspect us using the new inspection framework from 1st September 2019.

Is there is ‘settling in’ period for the new inspection framework?


Where can I find the new framework?

The framework is here.

Will I still get the same notice period for inspection?


Will I still get one of the same four grades at the end of my inspection?


Will the inspector want me to have a visitor book?

No - there is no requirement in the EYFS for childminders to have a visitor book – it is good practice to record visitors for safeguarding reasons but you can use a diary if you wish.

What is the new focus of the inspection?

There are a few new focus areas covering:

- Teaching and learning – supporting children’s progress
- Quality of learning
- Intent – what do you intend doing today?
- Implementation – how will you do it?
- Impact – what changes have you made to outcomes for children?
- Cultural capital – giving children the best possible start
- Vocabulary and reading – teaching children new words

Are the judgement areas the same?

No, they are slightly different – the judgements in the new framework cover:

- Quality of education – teaching, learning, assessment, 2 year progress check, 7 areas of learning and curriculum 
- Behaviour and attitudes – supporting behaviour, attitudes to learning
- Personal development – learning characteristics, PSED
- Leadership and management – the contents are pretty much the same as now but there is a new focus on staff wellbeing 
- Overall effectiveness

What paperwork will I need?

Ofsted have said that they are reducing paperwork expectations and the focus of inspection will be on practice. Inspectors should not ask to see any paperwork beyond the requirements of the EYFS and the EYFS says in requirement 2.2: "Paperwork should be limited to that which is absolutely necessary to promote children’s successful learning and development."

There are some documents you must have in writing including 2 year progress checks, staff documents, attendance registers, safeguarding policy, complaints policy etc.

Do I still have to track children’s progress?

Yes – it is important to track children’s progress from starting points – but the focus will be on explaining how children are learning, developing and making progress, not on any paperwork or online systems you use and if your tracking is too complicated it might go against you during inspection.

I have some children who only attend for wrap around / holiday care – do I have to track their progress as well?

No - just comply with the safeguarding and welfare requirements for these children, regardless of their age.

Will I need to plan an activity?

The inspection handbook wording has changed for childminders and it seems to suggest inspectors won’t ask for a planned activity any more but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

What will the inspector do when they arrive?

After you have welcomed them, introduced them to the children, told them about any planned outings etc you will be invited to show the inspector round the house and garden. This is called a learning walk and it’s your chance to show off anything special you want to share with the inspector.

Will I need written observations and assessments of learning?

No - you will need to talk about children’s progress from their starting points. You can still write things down if you want to and if parents prefer you to share information with them that way… it’s up to you.

Will I need written planning?

No - you will need to talk to the inspector about your daily routines and planning. Your inspector will ask you questions to draw out what you do – how you share information with parents – how you support each child’s learning, development and progress etc.

Do I need to do a 2 year progress check for a part-time child?

Yes - every child who is aged 2 in the setting must have a written or typed 2 year progress check when they are between the ages of 2 and 3 years.

Can I have 4 under 5s during the new inspections?

Yes - as long as you can show the inspector you are managing the variation well.

Do I need a written self-evaluation and action plan?

No - but you do need to continue to self-evaluate and talk to the inspector about your action planning / how you drive your business forwards.

Will the inspector want to talk to parents?

Yes - if possible, the inspector will want to talk to parents and might arrive early to catch them before they go off to work.

Will the inspector read parent letters?

Maybe - but I think they are more likely to ask you about parent partnerships and how you share information with parents to support their child’s home learning.

Will the inspector want to look at children's files?

It depends on the inspector – some do and some don’t but they have said they would rather watch and listen to us and ask us questions than focus on paperwork.

Will the inspector want to look upstairs?

It depends on the inspector – some do and some don’t.

What is different about behaviour and attitudes?

Not a lot - it will mean more of a focus on how you support children’s behaviour during inspection. The inspector will know how a typical 2 year old behaves, for example, and look at how you are helping them to manage their sometimes strong emotions.

Will there still be a focus on safeguarding?


What has changed in ‘leadership and management’?

Not much - but there is a new focus on staff wellbeing that you might need to reflect in your supervisions and staff meetings.

So what will inspection look like?

During the inspections of the future, Ofsted will gather much of their evidence through discussion with you and your staff (if you have them). The inspector might ask you, staff, parents and children questions about, for example:

- Safeguarding procedures
- The activities provided
- Parent opinions on the service you provide
- Assessment and how you are building on children’s current skills and knowledge
- Knowledge and understanding of your EYFS curriculum
- How children are taught**
- Why the environment and resources are set up as they are
- How reading to children develops language
- Cultural capital – how children’s experiences help them to build on home and family learning
- Self-evaluation and action planning

**Teaching is described by Ofsted as communicating, modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges.

The inspector is likely to track a child and then ask their key person about the child’s learning, development and progress and will expect the provider to clearly explain how they are helping the child to make the best progress.

If you have staff, I recommend training them to understand the questions the inspector might ask so they feel confident to answer. For example, every staff member needs to know about their key children – what I call ‘having a story about every child in your head’… and every staff member needs to be confident when explaining who they would approach if they had a concern about a child or other staff member.

Where can I get more information?

Ofsted’s webinar

Ofsted articles in TES

Cultural capital blog from Helen Moylett

Gill Jones blog

More information from Childcare.co.uk

Free Webinars

Early Years Inspection Handbook information guides

Independent Childminders facebook group

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