07 Sep 2005,
standards, high or low, or a mixture of both, in the provision, without a show put on. These new-style inspections are a must if we are ever to permanently raise standards in all provisions.
Inspection should be viewed as a positive experience. If inspectors pull us up on certain practices, we should listen to the comments and improve what we do by implementing an effective solution.
We all have days where things don't go according to plan. Inspectors want to see how we handle those situations, whether our policies cover these situations adequately and whether the management and staff are up to the challenge.
I am very worried for children in provisions which feel they need a burst of activity before an inspection, or feel they have to change what they normally do. By changing practices they are displaying that they already know some of their weaknesses, they don't want to be caught out, and they don't want to make permanent changes.
The new inspection process makes us all review our practice right now, not just in the lead-up to inspection.
At our full Ofsted inspection this year, our procedures clearly showed us as a provision consistently identifying and rectifying issues. This is probably why we received the highest praise from Ofsted in every area, had no weaknesses or action plan; which was closely followed by a letter of congratulations from the local authority.
Last week we had a further unannounced inspection as we are creating an extra internal play space. We weren't finished, the new space was a mess and the office was filled with equipment for the new room. But it didn't compromise what was happening in the remainder of the building. The registration was given and we didn't have to work weekends to make it perfect for the visit.
* Margy Pritchard, executive officer, Lizard CHILD Trust, Cornwall