It is planned that these meetings will establish a local dialogue with Ofsted and enable the sector to work in partnership with it to deal with issues and drive improvement.
The Ofsted Big Conversation took place on Friday, 13 September and involved the early years sector coming together in an unprecedented show of solidarity with nine regional meetings to campaign against the way Ofsted is currently conducting inspections.
The latest move is testimony to the strength of the Ofsted Big Conversation campaign and has been spearheaded by June O’Sullivan, chief executive of the London Early Years Foundation. Ms O’Sullivan recently had a meeting with Ofsted’s Sue Gregory, director of Early Childhood and Dee Gasson, principal officer of Development in Early Years, where it was agreed that a system of meetings would be developed nationwide.
June O’Sullivan said ‘I think we as a sector need to chair these meetings and I volunteered to chair the first London meeting. There are a number of pressing issues, including the need for clarification around how complaints-driven inspections will be managed in the next cycle.’
Building on this, Catriona Nasen, managing director of Daycare Doctor, has suggested that the Ofsted Big Conversation groups organise eight steering groups, each located within Ofsted’s eight regional areas. Each steering group will have a chair and co-chair with representation from day nurseries, pre-schools and childminders.
She said, ‘In addition we would welcome representatives from the main organisations and local authorities. The aim is to try and get these steering groups in place within the next two weeks.’
‘When everyone is ready to carry the regional meetings forward and has let us know who they are, we will then create a new Ofsted Big Conversation map of England with names and places, along with a shared agenda and a framework for reporting.’
Ofsted regional directors were appointed in February this year and report directly to HM Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw. Currently there are eight regional directors who are responsible for the quality of inspection and the improvement of providers in their region.
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