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Category Archives: Inspection

What has eating your toes got to do with child development?

Waiting in the Apple store to be seen by a tech expert, I noticed a mother with her baby in his buggy. He was doing what my mother always called “eating his toes!” when my son did the same! In fact, my son was with me.

I noticed the baby lifting his toes in a very sophisticated way to his mouth and sucking away.

I entered into a dialogue (turn-taking) with him, “Ooh, I can see you’re eating your toes!” He was laughing and in-between ‘sucking’ was talking back to me.

At that point, I knew I wanted to write a blog about this although I didn’t want to ask for permission to take a photo or to film this unique moment. I am mindful of boundaries and I did not know the mother.

His mother smiled at me and I said, “This is my son and he did the same when he was a baby and he is nearly 25! My mother calls this eating your […]


Launching Laura’s Early Years Club

Due to several requests from clients, international award-winning trainer, consultant and author Laura Henry has decided to start a club for the sector.

In short, Laura and her team of experts will become your setting’s operations and quality department, providing a range of online and offline support including a range of documents, services, podcasts and webinars.

Laura, in her role as an expert witness working with solicitors and barristers and as an ex-Ofsted inspector, knows the importance of making sure that settings are legally compliant and Ofsted ready. She regularly supports settings with her creative and bespoke ideas, helping them to raise standards and fulfil their potential.

With the changing role of support from local authorities, settings are increasingly in need of more direct and quality support.

Documents will be updated regularly and new documents, systems and processes will be provided in line with good practice and made available to coincide with updates to legislation.

Laura fully understands that all […]


Another meeting?

We had a successful #EYTalking session on Twitter on Tuesday 6th December 2016, on the theme of safeguarding, professionalism and reflection. One of the discussions was on supervision, linked to the wider continuum of safeguarding.

Since the EYFS 2012, I’ve delivered numerous supervision sessions around the country and have written two blogs on supervision. I’m passionate about supervision and its value, if carried out effectively, in supporting the well-being and welfare of educators and supporting safe practice within a setting, as well as the positive ripple effective on children’s holistic development.

A few of the comments that came up mentioned appraisals, and as we know this has not been a requirement in the EYFS since September 2014. My view is that as appraisals are no longer a requirement of registration, I question whether there is a need to still carry out appraisals when there are other ways to measure how staff perform throughout the year […]


Disqualification by association

It is with pleasure that I have Debbie Alcock, of Influential childcare as my guest blogger. Debbie has been in childcare for over 30 years, 19 of these spent in inspection and regulation, first with the London Borough of Barnet and then with Ofsted. She has held many positions in Ofsted: as a policy writer, inspector, team manager, area manager and lastly as a regulatory inspector dealing with serious concerns and safeguarding. She currently works as a freelance trainer, consultant and writer. In addition, Debbie plays a strong part in the Ofsted Big Conversation and is the London lead for NEYTCO.

Debbie writes:

“Disqualification by association is one of the 11 reasons that a person may be disqualified from working with children. Since the 1989 Children Act there has been legislation preventing a child being cared for where there is a […]


Effective and Safer Recruitment

Please see Nursery World for my new four part monthly series on Effective and Safer Recruitment.


RIGHT from the start early years good practice films: assessment

New from Ofsted:

‘RIGHT from the start’ is a suite of six films showing examples of good practice in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).


Example of how to write a SEF

Document showing, how settings can be evaluative when writing their SEF, rather than merely describing what they do and listing the resources they have in place.


Putting the Quality Back into Qualifications!

Putting the Quality Back into Qualifications!

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have been asked to produce my certificates for a provisional contract and as I looked through them I took a walk down memory lane.

One of my reflections was looking with pride at my Nursery Nursing Examination Board (NNEB) Nursery Nursing Certificate. How at the time completing and achieving this qualification meant so much to me! I still have the exam paper from 1989. If you would like a copy, please contact me.

I left school at 16 with hardly any qualifications. I was dyslexic and this condition was rarely picked up during the late seventies and early eighties. I always knew that I had a learning challenge; I only had this officially recognised six years ago.

When I left school I worked in a busy solicitors’ office, as a clerk typist, and enjoyed my […]


Hire people who are better than you are……….

In the pass and currently I have worked with clients who have a real issue with delegating. They then wonder why their staff do not perform and are not creative/practical thinkers. Which reminds me of this quote ‘Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.’ David Ogilvy-Scottish born British Military intelligence officer and later top advertising executive 1911-1999. Clarity around individual roles and responsibilities is also key. Within my accredited level 4 Leadership and Management course the managers complete this  task. How is leadership distributed in your setting:

Identify different key roles and responsibilities.
Explain how these are shared effectively amongst the team?

 Delegate a task to a member of your team.

Describe the process and implement it.
Evaluate the effectiveness of your decision to do this.

So, if you are micro-managing your staff and do not […]


Practitioner and Child; Positive or Personal Relationships?

For a while now, I have been reflecting on what we in the sector mean by the term ‘positive relationships’ and its impact on interactions between children and practitioners. With this in mind, my thoughts are on whether we should change the term to ‘personal relationships’ and more importantly how we should look at personal relationships between the practitioner and child in our day-to-day practice?

For instance, I have a positive relationship with the staff in my local bank, but this is not a personal relationship. Indeed practitioners need to have a positive relationship with children in order for the relationship to be personal and meaningful. Time and time again, when carrying out my mock inspection visits, I observe practitioners having positive relationships with children, but not on a deeper personal level.  If done on a superficial basis and as part of the daily routine, the relationship is one where it is routine led rather than […]