Editor’s view - Good relations

It is perhaps a measure of how far the early years sector’s relationship with Ofsted has improved that after chief inspector Amanda Spielman’s speech at our Business Summit last week, there was no forest of hands wanting to complain about inadequate inspections and inspectors.

There has been hard work on both sides to get to this point. The Ofsted Big Conversation, which grew from a call to action by LEYF’s June O’Sullivan on the Nursery World LinkedIn group, has contributed greatly to this, with Ofsted senior leaders engaging enthusiastically.

Ofsted as an organisation has embraced change and improvement, and Ms Spielman promised that this would continue.

Much of what she said at the Summit went down well. The call for nurseries to embrace well-managed risk as a beneficial and necessary part of provision is particularly welcome. Ms Spielman acknowledged that Ofsted hadn’t always got this right in the past.

If early years settings can be confident that they will not be penalised in inspections if they don’t provide ‘risk-free’ environments, then children will gain hugely and parents will be reassured that settings are not being irresponsible.

Ms Spielman also debunked the ‘myth’ that Ofsted wanted to see snacktime done in a particular way, declaring, ’ I will say here, inspectors do not expect to see any particular way of organising snacks.’

Together with her promise that there would be no major changes to the Common Inspection Framework until at least 2019, these statements were very well-received by our audience of senior early years leaders.

Perhaps she didn’t need to tell them that nursery rhymes help children’s language – but on the whole, we’d rate the speech at least ‘good’!

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