Ofsted's blog: Banishing early years myths

23rd August 2017 at 09:02

Gill Jones, Deputy Director, Early Years, looks at the common myths surrounding inspection

There are many myths surrounding what we look at when we inspect early years. These are very unhelpful and create a lot of stress. So Ofsted recently compiled a list of the 10 most common early years myths. We have a document listing them and a playlist of 9 short films featuring them.

Myths that circulate can lead to people getting worried about an inspection. Here are a few of them.

The paperwork myths

You'll be keeping paperwork as a matter of course, following what is set out in the EYFS. But we don't expect to see any extra documents prepared only for the inspection.

The Ofsted inspector will look at your working documents and nothing more. And they don't have to be presented in any particular way. You don't need to label folders, ‘Ofsted’. Collect and present the paperwork as you would normally.

Don't worry about how you store your papers – on or offline, it makes no difference. The important thing is that any paperwork you keep helps to document children’s welfare, learning and development.

The start of an inspection

I understand it’s a nervous time waiting for the inspector to arrive. You can offer refreshments, hot or cold, to an Ofsted inspector. They won't consider it a bribe. If it's your policy to welcome visitors with drinks and biscuits, then go ahead and behave as normal. If it's not, the same applies.

We don’t expect managers to be available all the time throughout an inspection. We want to see things as they are and it’s important to carry on as normal. The inspector will arrange to meet you at a time that suits you both. They want to see 'business as usual', what you routinely offer to children in your care.

Working together

It’s important we work together for the benefit of children and myths about inspection get in the way. 

We want people to feel inspection is 'done with them' not 'to them'. Myths are the sticking point and we must get rid of them.

I've covered a few of the myths doing the rounds. Please do read them all and also let us know if you come across a myth that needs clarifying. We can then share them more widely with other early years’ staff.

Together we can debunk those myths and make inspection a positive, productive experience.

Please email us about anything in this blog or anything else.