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25 September 2020
By The Early Years & Childcare Service

Education Inspection Framework - Leadership and Management (part 4 of 4)

This is the final piece in our four-part series looking at each of the new judgements in the Education Inspection Framework. We have previously looked at the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes and personal development.

When we speak of leaders and managers this includes those responsible for the governance of a provision, for example, committee members, board directors and owners. Those with oversight or governance must fully understand their role and responsibilities and hold managers and leaders to account for the quality of the care and education.

Effective leadership starts with a clear and ambitious vision. If you have no vision or your vision is weak, how do you and everyone else know what you are striving for? This vision should be supported through a shared understanding of the provision’s values and practice and be underpinned by robust policies and procedures. This will inform your discussions with an inspector and demonstrate your commitment to high quality practice and continuous improvement.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) has a heightened focus within this new framework; however, simply sending someone on a training course is not enough to demonstrate how CPD is valued and used to strengthen knowledge and skills. Inspectors will seek to understand the impact of a highly focused and effective professional development programme, and as with intent, implementation and impact within the quality of education judgement, leaders will need to be able to evidence, likely to be through discussion and observation, why particular training and support is given for specific staff and the impact this is having on the children.

Inspectors must investigate any reasons why children may not be accessing their full entitlement to funded early education and the impact this may have on them, particularly children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with SEND.

The subject of staff wellbeing has been introduced to the criteria for this judgement, including how leaders ensure manageable workloads and protect staff from harassment and bullying. Discussions with leaders, managers and staff will be used to evidence these criteria.

Inspectors must check DBS records and paediatric first certificates and although it is unlikely they will check all policies, they are likely to look at:

  • recruitment records
  • staff qualifications
  • staff training for safeguarding procedures
  • records of complaint.

Inspectors will use the Inspecting Safeguarding in Early Years Education and Skills Settings document which sets out the key points inspectors need to consider when inspecting safeguarding arrangements. It is an essential document for providers to be familiar with as it tells us what exactly an inspector will be looking for with regard to safeguarding.

Inspectors will use a number of activities to seek to fully understand what it is like for a child at your provision.

These activities may happen in any order and some will happen simultaneously, for example, elements of the leadership and management discussion are likely to happen during the learning walk, and the joint observation and the experiences of children are likely to be tracked during the joint observation. Any reviewing of paperwork and discussions away from the children should take no longer than an hour, and in most cases will be shorter.

During inspection inspectors will spend as much time as possible gathering evidence to inform their judgement on the leadership and management by:

  • exploring how leaders use performance management and their assessment of strengths and areas for improvement to focus professional development activities with a particular focus on children’s vocabulary and cultural capital
  • seeking to understand how leaders engage with staff and ensure they are aware of and manage the main pressures on them
  • testing the provider’s view of quality is realistic, identifying where improvements are needed and making recommendations about what the provider could improve
  • securing their understanding of the provider’s safeguarding arrangements
  • discussing how they implement their policies and procedures
  • looking at the impact of any additional funding, for example EYPP, SENIF and DAF
  • identifying the quality of support for those children with SEND
  • evaluating how well leaders assure themselves that their curriculum intentions are met and how they sufficiently challenge the children to develop, consolidate and deepen their knowledge, understanding and skills
  • talking to parents
  • discussing findings that emerge during the inspection
  • seeking further evidence to be considered before making a final judgement.

For providers who only offer before and after school care and holiday provision the inspector will consider the criteria for this judgement when reaching their final judgement on the overall effectiveness: quality and standards of the early years provision and is likely to comment on specifics in the inspection report.

Prior to lockdown we were beginning to see Ofsted recommendations following inspection related to this judgement area, for example:

  • strengthen the arrangements for staff supervision, support and training, to help ensure all training needs are promptly identified and raise the quality of teaching to a consistently high level
  • improve the process to identify children who may be eligible for additional funding to support their learning, such as the Early Years Pupil Premium
  • build on the staff monitoring and evaluation of the curriculum to help maintain consistently high standards of teaching
  • implement robust systems so that leaders and managers are certain that all staff fully understand and implement policies and procedures
  • target staff coaching more precisely so that every opportunity is made to extend learning experiences and challenge older children.

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