June O’Sullivan, who has spearheaded the campaign and hosted the London event at the London Early Years Foundation, said that Ofsted had contacted her to say that they are willing to hold meetings with providers.
She has drafted a letter to Ofsted from the early years sector on her blog, as a starting point for the mediation process.
Ms O’Sullivan is suggesting that there should be a meeting in each region, led by the chairs of each Big Conversation with the Ofsted regional lead, to feed back information gathered from the weekend, with case studies to highlight the issues and provide evidence for the need for changes to the inspection system.
The letter also summarises the key points raised from the regional meetings, including calls for:
- knowledgeable inspectors with appropriate experience for different settings, e.g, childminding, Montessori;
- all inspectors trained by one organisation;
- stop ten-year old complaint-initiated inspections;
- explain the Quality Assurance process;
- a consistent and fair complaints and appeals system, with external members who are early years trained.
In the letter to Ofsted posted on her blog, Ms O’Sullivan says, ‘I am very pleased to hear you might want to meet us. We have been moved to action since the process of inspection has become quite antagonistic and unfriendly. We want to resolve the situation so we can develop a collaborative and constructive learning community where we can have a mutual respectful relationship that allows us all to share a vision of high quality practice for all children within a spirit of inquiry and improvement.’
An Ofsted spokesperson said, 'We are aware of the concerns that have been expressed by some providers in the early years sector. We are talking with them to discuss these issues.
'Sue Gregory, Ofsted Early Years Director, will write an article that will be in the next edition of Nursery World on 7 October. Ofsted will also provide a response to the issues that have been raised by the Big Conversation.'
Read the full blog here.