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Ofsted and Risk Assessment - would you be reassured?

(37 Posts)
duffybeatmetoit Thu 22-Sep-11 20:52:57

Following an incident and lack of action taken by Ofsted, I checked the Statutory Framework for Early Years and discovered that the only requirement for risk assessments of the nursery is an annual review. Nurseries can choose to check playgrounds monthly for hazards and that is quite acceptable. I was under the impression that there would be a requirement to check playgrounds daily but apparently not.

Would you be reassured by that, and have you ever asked a nursery how often they carry out checks? If you have asked, what was the response?

menopausemum Thu 22-Sep-11 23:00:24

If you look at the legal requirements for nurseries you will find they are extremely low. You can keep children in a cellar with no natural light perfectly legally (you jut tell ofsted you will take them out regularly - no-one will check). You can have a manager without the necessary qualifications as long as you convince ofsted you are trying to recruit.
The bottom line is that you as a parent need to check the things that concern you - most nurseries are doing a good job, but unfortunately you cannot rely on ofsted to make sure.

boomyboy Fri 23-Sep-11 14:18:56

"If you look at the legal requirements for nurseries you will find they are extremely low"

Never in my years as a manager and owner of a Nursery have I heard a more ill-informed comment. Please refrain from making such judgements as they do a massive disservice to all us hard working Nurseries who seem to spend half our lives making sure the legal requirements of our settings are up to scratch, and who would lose our livlihood should we fail to do so. Thanks

cat64 Fri 23-Sep-11 14:35:38

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cat64 Fri 23-Sep-11 14:35:54

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menopausemum Fri 23-Sep-11 17:43:49

I have worked in nurseries, playgroups and schools for 30 years and still do so part time. Most nursery nurses and nurseries are good - I am not denying this. To be good they are working well above the minimum legal standards. However I recently went into a nursery where there were no cushions or any form of soft seating for the children. The floor was hard surface and there was only one 10ft square rug where the children sat for stories. There was no key person system in place and staff were moved from room to room to cover other staff's absences etc. Staff were constantly leaving and being replaced as their opinions were given no weight by the owner who was in it purely as a business. However, and this is my point, Ofsted gave them a satisfactory rating as they just manage to keep to the minimum standards. As I said earlier, it is perfectly legal to keep children in a room with no natural light as long as you tell Ofsted you take them out regularly. Unless parents complain directly to Ofsted nothing is done. Even then, Ofsted usually ring the nursery owners/managers to tell them about the complaint and ask if there is any truth in it. I have personally reported several nurseries to Ofsted, sometimes at the request of staff. Unless it is a child protection issue things rarely change. When I was inspecting nurseries 18 years ago we went in every 12 months and all settings had an extra 'unannounced' visit in the course of the year. Nowadays the inspections are every 4 years with no interim visits unless there is a serious complaint.
Yes, most nurseries are good but there should be a tightening up of legislation for those who aren't.

duffybeatmetoit Sat 24-Sep-11 10:42:26

menopausemum I think parents naively believe that Ofsted regulations provide some measure of quality and that failing nurseries will be penalised in some way when this is actually far from the case. I don't know how many nurseries they take action against but I suspect given the very woolly regulations I doubt it is very many. As you say any half intelligent nursery owner can convince Ofsted they are doing things in line with the regs and given the amount of warning Ofsted give before visits you'd expect their paperwork to be in order.

dribbleface Sat 24-Sep-11 20:23:10

just to point out nurseries don't get any warning prior to inspection. I agree that Ofsted seem to let poor nurseries amount huge numbers of complaints.

stocks81979 Sun 25-Sep-11 09:53:28

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

redglow Sun 25-Sep-11 17:49:06

Ihave worked in nurseries and there have been good and bad ofsted means nothing. I have done temp work in nurseries and reported a couple and refused to go back.

Ofsted did not follow up my complaint.

HoneyPablo Mon 26-Sep-11 07:36:28

Ofsted followed up my complaint when I reported the nursery where I work for several things.
The manager changed things pretty quickly.
Also, settings do not get any prior warning of visits.

boomyboy Mon 26-Sep-11 11:28:43

menaupausmum, we get zero warning from Ofsted about inspections. This makes me think that your claims a few posts above are lies. Again, I urge you to keep your unfounded nonsense from the ears of sensitive parents.

menopausemum Mon 26-Sep-11 15:26:56

You really are being very defensive. If you read my previous posts you will see that I have not said that nurseries get warning that Ofsted is coming. I object to being called a liar, particularly for something I have not said. My point is that whilst the good nurseries work well above minimum standards, the bad ones get away with horrendous practice and Ofsted can do little about it if the legal requirements are not being breached. If parents have 'sensitive ears' then that is to their credit - they should check carefully that the nursery they choose will deliver the care they are paying for.
If you read the E.Y.F.S. carefully you will see that whilst it often states that early years settings 'should' do something, unless it says 'must' then this is not enforceable and is left up to the owners/managers to choose their own practice. Having worked as an early years teacher, then trainer, then advisor and currently assessing E.Y.P.S. students, plus having a first and second degree in the subject I think my opinion is likely to be as valid as yours.

redglow Mon 26-Sep-11 20:41:21

I think as ofsted come once a year its pretty easy to guess roughly when they are comming.

Why should menopause keep her opinions to herself? Thats the idea of mumsnet we are not supposed to agree.

To call somebody a liar is very uncalled for, when you did not bother to read the post properly.

dribbleface Mon 26-Sep-11 20:52:25

Ofsted come anytime from 1 - 4years based on last inspection and at any other time if complaint made (although depends on the nature of the complaint - sometimes they call to discuss hmm), although i agree you can work out roughly when they are likely to be there. We were due around June and they turned up in Sept.

Inspections are not frequent enough I agree. Our last one was for 3 hours and thats its for 4 years. Back in the good old days of social services we had yearly inspections but we knew when they were coming, but the inspecting officers were the same each year and got to know the nurseries well.

As for the OP - i am suprised that they were not interested on more thourough checks being made, we do checks on each occassion outside and this is a record they have checked. I agree EYFS states should but you still need to be able to prove that habe taken necessary steps to safeguard the children.

Do you mind me asking was there an accident of some sort? Would RIDDOR (reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurances) some in to play - for example an accident that meant more than 24 hrs in hopsital, or a broken bone (other than fingers toes?)

dribbleface Mon 26-Sep-11 20:53:23

excuse typing and errors having strong braxton hicks and its putting me off!

dribbleface Mon 26-Sep-11 21:06:19

Also EYFS does state that

'Specific legal requirements - Premises and security'

The premises, both indoors and outdoors, must be safe and secure.' so the nursery needs to be able to demonstrate how they do this, so for example we have a range of checks daily which we record as evidence (only takes a 5 minutes). I am very suprised that they feel that a monthly check is acceptable.

Risk assessment
The provider must conduct a risk assessment and review it regularly – at least once a year or more frequently where the need arises.

The risk assessment must identify aspects of the environment that need to be checked on a regular basis: providers must maintain a record of these particular aspects and when and by whom they have been checked.

Providers must determine the regularity of these checks according to
their assessment of the significance of individual risks.

The provider must take all reasonable steps to ensure that hazards to children – both indoors and outdoors – are kept to a minimum.

So i am assuming that their risk assessment covered the area and their assessment of the risks were deemed appropriate? Not saying they are right. have you seen the risk assessment that relates specifically to this area? I would ask to see it.

duffybeatmetoit Wed 28-Sep-11 13:56:01

dribble yes there was a serious accident and I have not been told how frequent the risk assessments were carried out, the report merely states that the process was in line with the requirements. Ofsted did give the setting a few days warning that they were coming to see the evidence of assessments and I have been visiting a school and been told that Ofsted were visiting the following day. I was under the impression that Ofsted did give some warning even if it was only a few days, which wouldn't be enough time to change fundamentals but could allow a setting to tweak their performance.

Having belatedly read the Ofsted regulations they are so woolly that they really aren't worth the paper they are written on. I won't be taking any notice of Ofsted ratings in future - gut feel is a much more effective way of determining the quality of a setting.

boomyboy Wed 28-Sep-11 15:47:01

"given the amount of warning Ofsted give before visits"

A direct quote from your previous post. Remind me how exactly I am not reading this correctly?

boomyboy Wed 28-Sep-11 15:48:14

And also, since when did they come once a year?

redglow Wed 28-Sep-11 19:55:54

Did not realise they were not inspected once a year .

This is awful no wonder there are so many rubbish nurseries out there.

boomyboy Thu 29-Sep-11 15:14:28

redglow, you sound like you have had a bad experience with a nursery in the past. Am I correct?

redglow Thu 29-Sep-11 19:20:00

Yes have temped in quite a few and reported a really bad one and nothing was done.

I just do nannying now much more enjoyable.

sunshinenanny Sat 01-Oct-11 20:09:15

I once interviewed for a nursery but was so horrified by what went on even in the short time I was there. I did report them but don't know if anything was done. I am sure there are good nurseries I just haven't come across many of them!

As you say bad experience.

boomyboy Mon 03-Oct-11 11:15:23

I can imagine the Temp agency that sent you over to these nurseries was popular...

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