Ofsted ratings matter – a lot. Most parents can smell an ‘Inadequate’ rating a mile off, and while they might not take the drastic measure of taking their child out of your nursery, new parents will be put off. Year-on-year this can reduce occupancy at your nursery, cutting your budget and making difficult decisions more likely.

That’s why it’s so important you look after your rating by keeping up to speed with how Ofsted works.

From this September, Ofsted is changing its Education Inspection Framework (EIF). The EIF is a guidebook which Ofsted inspectors use to assess your nursery. It tells inspectors which part of your nursery they should pay special attention to, and which they should put less emphasis on. The framework shows inspectors how to rate your setting.

Understanding the framework, and what constitutes ‘Outstanding’ under the new rules, will be key to preserving or improving your rating.

The four key areas

The new framework defines the four areas Ofsted will assess your setting on. These are:

  • Quality of Education – Instead of relying heavily on test scores, Ofsted now wishes to focus more greatly on the process of education. This includes working in partnership with parents, and making sure any assessment is accurate and thorough. If uncontrollable factors affect assessment, Ofsted should take this into account.
  • Behaviour and Attitudes – Nurseries should be places of learning and growth, and children achieve this best when they are in a pleasant and orderly environment, free of bullying and other issues. Any bullying should be tackled swiftly and effectively, and children should be in a calm environment.
  • Personal Development – Nurseries aim to help children make the transition to primary school with as little friction as possible. The Personal Development category includes things like making sure children have access to extracurricular activities like sport and music.
  • Leadership and Management – Effective leaders and management ensure every aspect of your setting runs smoothly. This section is there to make sure nurseries have a clear vision, monitor the performance of practitioners, and have effective structures in place to deal with problems.

‘Outstanding’ nurseries have to excel in all four of these key areas. And while understanding what the four areas are and what they mean can get you a long way – you need to go the extra mile if you want your setting to get a coveted ‘Outstanding’ rating.

That’s why Avail has tasked Jacqueline Midgeley, our early years expert, with writing our courses on ‘Outstanding’ early years education. Jacqueline has a long career in making sure children receive an outstanding education, which you can read about here. We’d especially like to highlight two of our ‘coming soon’ courses that will help you smash your next Ofsted inspection:

Behaviour, Attitudes, Self-Esteem and British Values, will give early years practitioners the tools to support children to become well-rounded individuals.

Outstanding Quality of Education, will help your setting understand what constitutes Outstanding education, which is much more than just passing tests.