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OFSTED registration visit - likely questions?

(11 Posts)
misshardbroom Mon 29-Jun-09 09:19:53

Has anybody got any experience of the visit OFSTED do to register a new setting (whether it's a preschool, CM, after school club, anything???)

If anyone can give me any idea of what they do and what they're likely to ask, I'd be incredibly grateful.

(I'm posting this on a couple of boards, apologies if that means you read it a couple of times)

squirrel42 Tue 30-Jun-09 18:06:59

Well there will be entirely different questions if you're registering to be a childminder rather than a "provider of childcare on non-domestic premises"! And if it's the latter it'll be different if you are the owner, owner and manager or a committee chairperson. Sorry but the question is a bit vague!

Check out some of the guidance on the Ofsted website if you haven't seen it already.

misshardbroom Tue 30-Jun-09 18:40:21

OK, well to be more specific, it's a 'provider of childcare on non-domestic premises', namely a preschool.

And I won't actually be interviewed personally, as I'm just the project manager, they'll be interviewing the Chair and the newly appointed Supervisor.

I'd just appreciate hearing about anybody's experiences with this, e.g. was it a real grilling or did it feel more like a constructive chat? what sort of things did they ask about? did they put any conditions on your registration? did they tell you there and then?

Bangbang Tue 07-Jul-09 15:45:27

Probably too late - but we've just had ours - it was a chat to be honest with some good pointers to help us in areas we hadn't considered. Try not to worry about it - I think the days of nasty ofsted are gone...??? I hope they are anyway....

littlerach Sat 11-Jul-09 08:36:55

Miss HradBroom, have you had it yet?

WE are in v similar position as we are moving to new site for SEp.
I would be v interested oty hear how it went.

I am admin manager so have to coordinate a lot of it rather than answer the questions!

misshardbroom Sat 11-Jul-09 09:25:18

OK, here we are:

The Very Long Account of What Happened At MissHardbroom's Pre-Registration Visit.

The inspector (a woman) met with me (I'm the preschool administrator & I've also project managed this whole new site thing), the preschool Chair, and newly appointed preschool supervisor.

First she looked around all the premises, including toilet and kitchen areas, asked various questions about security, cleaning, what furniture would be in the room once it was set up, etc. (currently it's being used as a spare classroom / music room in the school so full of all kinds of junk). Lots of discussion about use of the outside space.

Then she interviewed the Chair. This part was a nightmare, I do have to say. Opening question? 'What do you understand about the EYFS and how does it differ from previous curricula?'

Our poor Chair was well and truly on the back foot with this one, he's a very astute businessman but works f/t so doesn't spend that much time actually in preschool. I was sitting there trying to send him the answers telepathically! We found that she backed off him quite a lot though when we explained that I was paid to do a lot of the work that the Chair might traditionally do. More questions about how long he'd been involved with preschool, how long he anticipated staying in the role...

Then there was a lot about our curriculum planning and how we would go about it (made more complicated by the fact that we're opening this as a second 'branch' of an existing preschool).

Quite a bit about inclusive practice, how we would accommodate SEN & EAL children.

Then the Suitable Person Interview for the new supervisor. This was probably the easiest part, although our new supervisor has worked elsewhere as a preschool supervisor for donkeys years so that helped. Lots about child protection.

Finally we got onto the nuts and bolts of how many children she would register us for, what forms she required us to fill in now, other Ofsted publications she advised us to get, questions about who was our early years advisory teacher at the county and what arrangements we had in place for support from them, etc.

This all took four hours on the hottest day so far this summer!

We had been warned by SureStart that this particular inspector was a tough nut to crack, so I think this might all be a bit of an extreme example! The tone of the conversation began as being quite formal with her challenging a lot of the things we said, but became more constructive and helpful as it went on. And she did tell us there and then that the inspection had been successful and how many children she would register us for.

As the administrator, I made sure I took:
- disc with all policies & procedures on it.
- copy of the EYFS document because she referred to specific pages in it several times.
- templates for the planning documents our staff use.
- copies of all the paperwork connected with the project, e.g. lease agreement, SureStart grant application.

She didn't look at all of it but I thought it was better to be safe than sorry.

And your Chair and supervisor will need ID (as I'm sure you know).

Good luck. It was a tough afternoon but I did leave feeling slightly elated that we'd cracked it!

littlerach Sat 11-Jul-09 10:29:44

Wow, thanks Hardbroom.

Were you an exisitng preschool, or a brand new one?

WE have been based in a room for 5 years and are moving ot purpose built in August/Septemebr.

Am worried...!

misshardbroom Sat 11-Jul-09 10:48:34

We've had the same preschool in a mobile classroom at Primary School A for the last 25 years (obviously haven't been involved with it for that long, I'm not that old!! grin).

Anyway, we've totally outgrown it, and still have a waiting list a mile long, so Primary School B (about a mile away) has offered us a classroom so that we can have a second site in addition to the mobile.

The two preschools have separate names and separate staff, but one committee managing the two, and me doing the office work for both.

Probably, like me, you're wondering what on earth you've taken on!

littlerach Sat 11-Jul-09 11:04:12

The hard bit hasn't started yet I htink!

So do you think we'll have a similar kind of visit as you had? I will have to prepare the Chair, she will freak!! Like your situation, she works and is a school governor and is simply there in name. I do most of the traditional role.

Did they visit you a month before you open? WE are on such a tight timescale as it is school preimses so much of the owrk can't take olace til end of term, but then not long to get it done before Sep.

We are hoping to be able to increase our numbers as it will be a bigger room, but I'm having to explain this to parents and ask them to wait til Ofsted have been.
WE have a big waiting list too, which is obvioulsy a good thing!

misshardbroom Sat 11-Jul-09 11:24:15

Well, I do think the type of visit you get will depend a lot on the inspector that they send you. I've spoken to a couple of the childminders locally and they say that the one we had is notorious for giving people a hard time! Here's hoping yours is a bit gentler.

I think it would be worth asking your Chair to be aware of basic things - possibly read through the Statutory Requirements of the EYFS?? Either that, or prepare a neat little speech explaining that much of her role is delegated to you, so that she can head the inspector off at the first awkward question!

We are due to open at the beginning of the new term in September, so she visited about 2 months ahead. We were initially told by Ofsted that the registration process would take 25 weeks, but our area representative has been pushing it through on our behalf.

I'm sure you know this already, but it's worth knowing the exact square footage of your new room because that's the basis on which they'll calculate how many children to let you have. We didn't know, and therefore she's erred on the side of caution and registered us for fewer than she otherwise might.

littlerach Sat 11-Jul-09 11:25:40

Yes, we planned for the square footage when negotiaiting space. However, we were warned that until the furniture is in, then it isn't definite hmm

Thnaks for all that info though, that's great stuff to know!

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