Ofsted Big Conversation

Ofsted Big Conversation

10th March 2018

Aintree Racetrack.


Staff Member attending – Elizabeth Cummings, Brookfield Setting Manager


Items Discussed


Ofsted Deputy Director if Early Years Gill Jones, spoke about Bold Beginnings, this is a document that was released looking at the school environment in particular the reception class. This document was aimed at a more formal approach to reception. Gill wanted to express that she does not expect children to sit at a desk and write all day, but she expects the opportunity to explore writing to be ever readily available and that books should be at the very centre of everything to encourage those skills and imagination.

Gill has linked Bold Beginnings to the Good Learning Development (GLD’s) and advises that it should be used to enhance practice for Reception aged children in a school environment.

Gill advised that as good practice, we make ourselves aware of this document and the following:

Are you ready?

Teaching and Play

Destined for Disadvantage.

Gill wanted to express that Ofsted want us to do “what is right for our children, not what we think is right for Ofsted”


Elaine White – Senior HMI Early Years North

Ofsted Updates

Elaine advised that Ofsted are currently changing the software that they use online, meaning everything will be changed to a new system called Cygnum, this will be changing around June 2018, she advised that during this time they will only be inspecting those who are high on the list, and it may be difficult to get in touch with Ofsted, however they are still operating as normal and its not to say that they will not inspect especially if a safeguarding concern is raised.

Ofsted will be employing a Regulatory inspector that will be in charge of inspecting the whole region.

There has been a lot of media attention at the prospect of fining individuals who make a malicious claim, however Ofsted want to make it clear that it is near impossible to do so, you do not have to leave your details and each claim has to be looked at with open eyes, they are aware that most of the time it is malicious however they have a duty to check, whether this be a letter, a phone call, a check up visit or full inspection depending on the nature of the concern/complaint.

There are discussions ongoing through Ofsted at the moment about the possibility of an inspection grade being granted for every nursery within a nursery chain, for example if a provider has 3 settings and one receives outstanding this would make all 3 outstanding if the nominated person is the same at all of them. This is not set in stone, but it is something that they are looking at to reduce the stress of inspections.

There have been a lot of questions asked lately in relation to the adverse weather and whether or not you should inform Ofsted if you differ your services or close for the day, the answer is yes you do. It is a requirement to contact Ofsted to let them know if you have made a significant change to your service even if it is for one day or afternoon. Sometimes an inspection might be planned that can be called off or they may receive a concern etc.

Key Note Speaker

Mine Conkbayir, Mine is a lecturer, award winning author and trainer. She has worked in the field of early childhood education and care for over 17 years. Mine is the winner of the nursery management today (NMT) top 5 most inspirational people in Childcare ward.

Mine is currently undertaking a PhD in early childhood education and neuroscience to develop her work in the complex and challenging subject of infant brain. It is said that there are 720,000 children and young people experiencing mental health in England alone.

There has been a 27% jump in hospital admission for children aged 3-9 years experiencing self-harm in the last year.

Mine feels that children do not get enough time to access Art or Music, the two things that are proven to help with mindfulness and children’s wellbeing.

Mine would like for Early Years to stop using the words Behaviour Management and change it to Understanding Behaviour, she feels that behaviour shouldn’t be managed you should take the time to get to know the child so you understand why they are acting that way, it could be that there is something they just do not understand and because they are still learning they do not have the tools to deal with their issue in a controlled way which then presents itself in certain behaviours.

Early Years are all about helping children to be independent, Mine feels this is great however when it comes to PSED and Self-Regulation, young children need our help, to keep calm and talk them through stressful experiences.

Time out is not helpful, instead of sitting the child out, give them a cuddle let them calm down and then explain what you would like to see different, how they can be a more positive influence on those around them. Children do not understand how to feel sorry, they say sorry because they are expected to not because they want to or feel remorse for their actions.

Mine explained a concept of Downstairs Brain and Upstairs brain, the concept of someone flipping their lid is exactly that, the frontal cortex loses control and it takes some time to calm down to enable the individual to then react in a rational way. If the child is not given this time they will not even remember why they feel like that in the first place which is often where the “black out” comes from.

It is important to look at the respectful and responsive relationships, emotional and psychologic wellbeing of the children in our care and use that to help to enhance individual’s experiences.

It is advised to look at worry, especially in Pre School and look at ways to help children work through their feelings, this could be a worry block or worry tree, at circle talk about what makes you sad and what makes you happy and concentrate on positive outcomes.

Children come from such busy backgrounds or the social media age where everyone has a mobile phone in hand, a tablet or computer always within reaching distance, instant access to the internet. The slogan, great your child with a smile, not your mobile is a statement that you have said or thought about at some point in your career, you will look up in a room of people and every single person is using their mobile.

Remove dummies and iPad, engage with your children and what you are doing, teach them everyday skills, parents have stopped interacting with children and allow the ipad to do it to keep them quite? We don’t have children to keep them quite? Or have an easier life! Children are our future and we must educate them in life skills and encourage them to enhance experiences and get the most out of adult interaction. Sometimes it is not about direct teaching find other activities that children can become involved in that are everyday life/reality.



The Ofsted Big Conversation is definitely always a very informative place, its great to mix with so many professionals always wanting the best for their children and to be able to interact with Ofsted directly and bust a few of those myths.

Listening to Mine has encourage me to look at our age groups and maybe relook at our behaviour management policy and training to change the way in which we view behaviour and how we train our staff how to manage and understand what is happening from the child’s point of view.

I will look at ways to encourage life skills in my time and incorporate that with the EYFS, helping with the shopping, washing, making snack, clearing. Can all be linked to areas of the EYFS and also helps children to understand reality and maybe link to what they see at home and why they think the adults do these things.

Look at Mindfulness with the children and the staff to make sure that each individual is understood, link to characteristics of effective learning and look at ways to enhance the environment and everyday activities.

KATC Management team will be attending the next event in Bolton in October.

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