Have you been fairly marked by Ofsted?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Ofsted inspections are often the most stressful part of a nursery manager’s job. Your Ofsted rating can influence the reputation and performance of your setting, therefore making it imperative that you receive a rating that best reflects your service.

Although there is a code of conduct that inspectors must follow, the experience from Ofsted inspections can differ due to various factors. All inspections should be equally treated, but have you ever felt that you were unfairly graded for an Ofsted inspection? If so what for? And is there a positive approach you have tried to successfully appeal and get your results changed?

Resource: Recently been mistreated by Ofsted? You can raise a complaint against them here.

Please leave your experiences and suggestions below to join in with the discussion…

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

16 thoughts on “Have you been fairly marked by Ofsted?

  • June 6, 2016 at 10:20 pm
    Permalink

    anyone complained and been successful?
    Had an aweful experience with an inspector today. Albeit i got good, he didnt bother checking anything so how would he know.
    I know im outstanding and so do the council.

    Reply
  • April 29, 2013 at 5:44 am
    Permalink

    I was inspected on Friday 26th April 2013. Every single recommendation on how an inspector should inspect was contravened. She made no comments on anything positive or negative. Her first words were I don’t give outstandings. She then said if we got a good in one area then we could not get outstanding in others as the same grade would apply across the board this applies to satisfactory as well. she kept repeating that we would not get outstanding by the time she finished I would have been happy with special measures. she went through every staff record, training, crb checks. she picked on two members of staff and two parents and kept them in the office for over thirty minutes one parent told her she had to go home as she had four children and did not have time to talk any longer.
    we are a 40 place day nursery the inspection lasted nine hours = feedback was five minutes. we had no time to do shopping washing and I still had not done the salaries for the end of the month. as she left giving a “good” allround rating she said now we can all sit back and have a glass of wine = I said you might be but I have to pay the staff who have stayed late to accommodate this charade. I am disgusted by this process I think we had the private supplier not tribal. I am disgusted by the whole process and now need to complain and want a fair and objective inspection.

    Reply
  • April 27, 2013 at 11:30 am
    Permalink

    Thanks guys I thought I was useless til I realised its them if the parents and kids like it its good enough. I’m not trying to make it better without there help. Inspectors are just people making value judgements which can be wrong.

    Reply
  • February 22, 2013 at 6:18 pm
    Permalink

    Hope they dare to put this on – to any nursery owner or manger may god help you because Ofsted wont, we have gone from nearly outstanding on our last inspection to nearly inadequate, we have been ripped apart by the new inspection process and what ever you do you cant win. some of the inspectors comments, were “I’ve had no experience with under 2’s, your entire staff need retraining, you do to many activities, you offer too much, your daily books are to good, your learning journeys are to perfect, your should be allowing the children to do more (like what I said) the two year olds, they should be serving up they’re own dinners (a two year old serving up their own dinners are they mad not to mention the time aspect or would that be the activity for the day) you do beekeeping with the children (yes that’s right) I want to see the bees (but its -5 in mid January they aren’t going to do a lot) still want to see the children with them. The trouble is here you’re not learning the children anything, (after being told we were completely useless I asked how we are supposed to know what ofsted expects,) you ask your LA advisor ( I reply but they don’t know what you want) yes I know she said but ofsted are taking over the 180million pot for the NEF inspections in September (ah great so you’ll come and offer training) no that will be done by LA advisors (but they don’t know what you want ) yes I know you’ll just have to read nursery world and get ideas from there. There isn’t a nursery in the area that offers the activities or facilities we do so if you get this inspector god help you all

    Reply
  • August 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm
    Permalink

    I had to laugh (or cry) at our last Ofsted Inspector. She asked ‘What was the last Festival you celebrated?’ and I answered ‘The Birthday of Ganesha’. ‘Oh’ she said while glancing at an Indian boy, ‘Is that a child in the nursery?’

    Later, she said to a staff member ‘I can see that you are learning them but you haven’t recorded any evidence of what you are learning them.’ You would think, wouldn’t you – that Ofsted Inspectors could at least use basic grammar correctly?

    Reply
  • January 6, 2012 at 11:30 pm
    Permalink

    We had a surprise inspection on Christmas party day. We were closed and in the process of the Christmas party, complete with Santa, tons of food, party games and carols.
    The inspector was informed that we were closed and that a party was in progress but she said ‘I’m here now so I’ll have to carry on’. We (the committee) had removed the policies for reviewing over the Christmas holiday, along with other paperwork, there was an old lot of policies which she decided to look through. To cut a long story short, she ripped us to shreds and we only just scraped through with a ‘satisfactory’.
    We were pulled up on not providing healthy food for snacks.. on a party that parents had provided food for. No multi cultural resources.. these were all packed away to make room for the party. The annual risk assessment was in the Health & Safety folder that had been removed for updating, that cost us dearly. Apparently we don’t engage with parents.. despite there being 18 parents of 23 families there at that time and involving them in all activities on a regular basis. My Playleader was asked if one of the parents who was helping with the laying of the tables etc, ‘has she been CRB’d?’.. Of course not, it was a private party and NOT a Pre-School day.
    Our report was rubbish to look at, every single thing was a grade three – absolutely appalling.
    I have written a strongly worded complaint, to which I am still waiting for a response from the agency that carried out the inspection and I am in the process of appealing to OFSTED about their decisions.
    OFSTED strike fear into most groups I know but I for one am not going to allow my pre-school and staff to be treated in this manner..

    Reply
    • February 7, 2012 at 9:18 pm
      Permalink

      Well.. what can I say other than I am fuming!
      Had the written report back today regarding my complaint re the inspection and my appeal against the inspection report.
      Tribal (the inspection company) have decided in their infinite wisdom that their inspector was correct on ALL accounts, and as such not one area of my complaint/appeal was upheld!
      I will comment no further this evening through fear of saying something I shouldn’t!!

      Reply
  • September 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm
    Permalink

    My experience of Ofsted has always been a pleasant one and I have had nine inspections in the past,all Outstanding over three nurseries.I have recently had an Ofsted Inspection at one of these nurseries. On the day, 3 members of staff had BA’s with two of us EYP Status, all of which have been recently achieved owing to the push for graduate leaders in the workplace.£40,000 has been spent on the third acre garden to upgrade to semi ‘forest school’. We dropped a grade.

    The Inspector brought along a lady to train (using my inspection time plus my resources).I can’t find any literature to say we have to allow this.I also found the inspection to be ethically wrong as the Inspector picked out two children and named a third child and tracked them without the children’s or their parent’s consent .See page 24 of what the Inspector Inspects.This can’t be right,children under a certain age cannot give their permission to be observed or tracked.The Manager or Provider can only give blanket permission for the group to be observed not for individual children.The Nuremburg Code needs to be checked.Is Ofsted above European Law? I have asked that this information be debated by Ofsted. I personally feel that my Ofsted Inspection should be void owing to the ethics involved and the fact that I did not have the Inspectors full attention for my Inspection as she was busy training someone.

    Reply
  • September 22, 2011 at 10:47 am
    Permalink

    We are due an inspection in a few months time and can only hope our Ofsted Inspector we had on Jan7th 2009,has retired !!!
    She came 2 days after returning after Christmas,,,,3 inches of ice in the garden,and on climbing equipment….no chance of running,but the children were out anyway with their wheelbarrows,and spades trying to dig up the ice…. loving it.We have an excellent setting,free of mortgage or rent,so lucky,so I invest all the profits in my staff and resources.To this end,we bought an american trampoline,with NO visible springs,and with an enclosure…..she hated it…..not safe…”If we buried it at ground level would you be happy” She said no….after two days of hell,having spent 4 years buidling up an excellent reputation,she gave us a Satisfactory,because of safe guarding with the trampoline,and children had no opportunity for physical play outside !!!!!and other petty things….when our report came,she had misquoted and made lots of mistakes….I appealed but all they did was amend her comments to be factual,but did not change our rating.We have one child at a time to be safe on our trampoline,but 5 miles away another setting has a trampoline with no enclosure,and 3 or 4 children at a time…..this is in a photo for their website…..she got a good…..After the intiial upset,my staff (I have not lost any staff in 7 years of operating…(except for having babies!) all calmed down,and we then decided that Ofsted are a waste of space…it totally depends on what mood they are in on your day….if she’s got out of the wrong side of the bed….don’t bother….she’ll grade you down anyway….or better still get an inadequate like a setting near me got (they left a boy locked inside their swimming pool unattended.by mistake!!)
    When they got that inadequate…all the people in suits started flapping about and helped them improve over the following 6 months,then she was re-inspected and got a good….my satisfactory is still with me nearly 3 years on….but we are all in agreement….doesn’t matter what Ofsted give you….the parents know the settings they can trust…..and it has proved so with our small rural nursery being full mostly over the past 6 years….they don’t care what Ofsted say either….xx

    Reply
  • September 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm
    Permalink

    We have had similar experiences with our Ofsted earlier this year. We are a packaway setting in Kent and the morning the inspector arrived was the first really warm day in the year and as we had been given some wonderful barrier fencing by our LEA we were battling with getting in into place so we could set up the outside area. We only have just over 30 minutes to set up every morning and when she arrived, nerves took over and a few things were forgotten. In our eyes we had improved so much since the last inspection – which wasn’t that bad – but when it came to the feedback this lady was so negative about silly little things that my staff were on the verge of tears. I could go on but I would run out of time. The overall grading was satisfactory although many of the important things were graded as good. The final crunch came when she was criticising our outside play area and came out with the immortal words “have you considered getting a bird table?” I nearly choked trying to contain my laughter – as if any bird would come anywhere near 30+ children playing with all the noise they make!
    I agree with other comments that there should be a universal standard that the inspectors look at and they should be unbiased otherwise the system is just not fair.

    Reply
  • September 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm
    Permalink

    Over the years I have been involved with childcare one of the most consistent complaints I hear from Owners/Managers of Early Years settings is the inconsistency of Ofsted inspectors. These range from the personal idiosyncratic nature of the individual inspector to the outright blatantly bias for or against a particular setting or individuals within that setting.
    My own experiences of Ofsted inspectors are mixed and some of the comments/reflections they come out with are bazaar.
    A couple of examples:
    A few years ago we had undergone a major redevelopment during the Christmas period, we managed to re-open for the start of the new term but the decorators had only moved out on the Sunday afternoon. My staff work like heroes to get the rooms ready for 8.00 am but as most people could appreciate whilst the major things were in place, some of the minor items were still to be completed. So by Thursday that week we were 90% of the way there and that was the day the Ofsted inspector came to call. We did explain about the redevelopment and that not everything was as we would normally have it but we felt that the children were not suffering because of this. At the end of the inspection we were criticised for ‘not have enough numbers displayed in the environment’ basically we had not got round to all our displays and the numbers that would normally be on the walls, displays, etc. were missing. When I raised this, the reply was, ‘I can only inspect on what I see’. Often I would accept that as a justified reason for an inspector to raise a concern, a setting may say that they normally have this and that available but that particular day it was broken, being replaced, on order and an million and one excuses a setting can make up for not having something. But in our case any reasonable person could smell the fresh paint work especially after being told at the start that some things were ‘missing’ due to the redevelopment work but that was only temporary. I guess we are talking about Ofsted inspectors and in some cases ‘reasonable’ is not an appropriate word.
    I was discussing an amendment to some regulation or other with another Ofsted inspector when they told me that this was the first they had heard of this change and it was quite normal for them to hear of changes via setting they were inspecting and not from Ofsted.
    Until the sector itself challenges Ofsted about these inconsistencies I do not thing things will ever change. I accept that any form of inspection is subjective but there needs to be improved training and supervision of inspectors to reduce the huge swings between individual inspectors.
    One final observation, all the Outstanding setting I know of all have QTS or EYP in charge. Whilst I am all in favour of improving the quality and qualifications of early years practitioners by not employing a QTS and/or EYP mean being consigned to never achieving the highest grade?

    Reply
  • September 19, 2011 at 12:49 pm
    Permalink

    we are a new setting which opened September last year, our Ofsted inspector came in July. we were aiming for a good with Outstanding features as we were infomed that it is highly unlikely that we would get an outstanding for our first visit. The inspector told me what she would need access to during her inspection and could I make these avaliable. I did this and also provided a few extra things that are unique to us as well as an evidence file which provided extra things that I had mentioned in my SEF. during the inspection she briefly spoke to all staff members and quizzed them on different things and asked me a few questions which she couldn’t find eveidence of in the file. However it felt like a very relaxed inspection.

    We were rated Outstanding in all areas except 2 where we were rated good. I was surprised we were given this considering that the LA had told me not to expect it . However the inspector that we had stated that she could see how much work had gone into the nursery within the first year and how much we concentrated on childrens PSED and how important it was to us as a setting. She said that all the paperwork was clearly in place and although some might not have been accessed yet due to it being a new setting I had made it clear that I was aware that one day I may need to do something and ensured I had the tools already in place. I feel that we were lucky to have a highly skilled inspector, she made reference to how everything was developing and stated that it was only going to get better and that I had a clear idea and plan of how the nursery was going to develop. knowing some of the inspectors that I have delt with in the past we would of hopefully recived a good grade but we were aware that as we had no progrssion to prove we might of only got a satisfactory.

    It shouldn’t amke a difference but depending on the inspector really can depend on the grade.

    Reply
  • September 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm
    Permalink

    Interestingly, this was a common complaint at a recent NDNA consultation event I attended to review the revised EYFS proposals. may of the early years practtioners, nursery owners and professionals were regularly referring to the incontinuity across Ofsted inspections and outcomes. As a very dedicated nursery manager that has been operating my own ‘family run’ nursery for the last 14 years, will a very low staff turn over have never received an ‘outstanding’ in any areas of the inspections. Yet we get such fantastic feedback from parents, no formal complaint, very positive feedback from the feeding primary schools, who comment on how they can tell which early years setting the children have attended, commenting that those that attend our school are confident, well behaved, familiar with routine and prepared for school in may aspects.

    The early years sector is continually having to react and manage change, due to the continual changes in policies and frameworks and expectations from government. The links between government and Ofsted are weak, this results in mixed interpreations in regards to what they are inspecting and in many cases the Ofsted inspector have a speciality, to which when inspecting have a hidden agenda. One inspector we once had previously worked in play therapy and we were penalised for not having enough dolls etc.

    During one inspection I commented on the change we had made in response to receiving a letter about the CRB checks and how they had become no longer ‘portable’. The inspector wasn’t aware of this herself and on her lunch break confessed to calling the head office to enquire why she had not received similar correspondance making her aware of this ‘change’ in requirement. Still despite us being efficent and responding appropriately to this in action we still did not get the recognition for our outstanding professionalism and good practice.

    As a nursery we have completed and are still committed to a quality assurance scheme, we have followed the previosu governments ambitions to upskill the workforce and have all our staff qualified to level 3, have an early years professional (EYPS) leading practice and work very closely with the NDNA, Food standards agency (recently being a case study for them), The RIghts respecting schools award (currently involved within the early years pilot scheme) and skills pledge (we were a case study for thm).

    I truly agree that inspectors differ and have their ‘favourites’ or are influenced by different aspects of different nurseries. I know of one nursery that have recently received outstanding in all areas. However am aware that they recently lost alot of staff due to bad practice, bad management and mistreatment of staff. One member of staff came to work at my nursery. Another child that previously attended the nursery that received outstanding was ‘excluded’ due to bad behaviour, her parents brought her to our nursery and we supported her individual needs, planned for her needs and arranged for external support for the family at home and staff in nursery. yet the nursery received outstanding for inclusive practice and meeting the individual needs of children…how? Could it be that the owner is very influencial and once worked for the BBC, knows the talk (yest not trainined in childcare in any way, shape or form)???????

    I do get very frustrated, but like anything it’s a snippet of that day. I believe in parents viewing a setting, getting a feel for the setting themselves and being their own judge.

    Regards
    Helen

    Reply
  • September 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm
    Permalink

    We received a satisfactory grading on our last Ofsted inspection and felt this was unfair. It felt as though the inspector had taken anything we had identified as positive or a strength in our SEF and systematically set out to find fault within those areas. Alot of evidence to support our judgements was not even considered. For example, the inspector made a recommendation that CLL was an area that needed improvement. This despite clear evidence in the form of a progress monitoring tool that our children make very good progress in CLL. There were numerous aspects of our report that we felt did not accurately reflect our nursery. Many of our parents were dismayed by the report and in agreement that it did not reflect the service we provide. We had also been consistently graded as good/outstanding during our termly reviews with our independent LEA early years advisors.We entered a lengthly appeal system the result of which was, in a nutshell; As there was no independent evidence or witnesses regarding what the inspector observed on the day of the inspection and procedure was followed correctly, the decision was to uphold Ofsted’s decisions and recommendations’. This seems to us, totally arbitrary and biased towards the inspector.

    Reply
  • September 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm
    Permalink

    We had the worst experience imaginable with an inspector 2 years ago. The inspector expressed her disapproval of parents by saying “Parents needed educating as they had their heads so far up their own ar***! She never spoke to one parent on her visit.
    The inspector told staff “don’t go their I have had a sh** day” When a member of staff asked how long she had been an Inspector she explained she was one of the original staff from Social Services days and then went on to use the F work describing how she felt about working with parents that in her opinion were not worth of being called a parents! This exchange was over heard by other staff and the deputy manager. She made a personal attack on me as owner as she felt that although we had complied with the recommendations from the last inspection to install a door entry system she felt I had not done it with a smile on my face! this inspector rated our Nursery Good at a push.
    We reported the situation to Ofsted and appealed the outcome only to be told our evidence of 5 staff could not be considered as it was not independent enough. We insisted on taking the issue further and demanded an independent adjudication. 8 months later and the adjudicator ruled in our favour and Westview Day Nursery received a full apology and a new inspection. This time we were rated as OUTSTANDING.
    NEVER ALLOW YOURSELVES OR YOUR STAFF TO BE BULLIED BY OFSTED.

    Reply
    • September 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm
      Permalink

      We are due an inspection in a few months time and can only hope our Ofsted Inspector we had on Jan7th 2009,has retired !!!
      She came 2 days after returning after Christmas,,,,3 inches of ice in the garden,and on climbing equipment….no chance of running,but the children were out anyway with their wheelbarrows,and spades trying to dig up the ice…. loving it.We have an excellent setting,free of mortgage or rent,so lucky,so I invest all the profits in my staff and resources.To this end,we bought an american trampoline,with NO visible springs,and with an enclosure…..she hated it…..not safe…”If we buried it at ground level would you be happy” She said no….after two days of hell,having spent 4 years buidling up an excellent reputation,she gave us a Satisfactory,because of safe guarding with the trampoline,and children had no opportunity for physical play outside !!!!!and other petty things….when our report came,she had misquoted and made lots of mistakes….I appealed but all they did was amend her comments to be factual,but did not change our rating.We have one child at a time to be safe on our trampoline,but 5 miles away another setting has a trampoline with no enclosure,and 3 or 4 children at a time…..this is in a photo for their website…..she got a good…..After the intiial upset,my staff (I have not lost any staff in 7 years of operating…(except for having babies!) all calmed down,and we then decided that Ofsted are a waste of space…it totally depends on what mood they are in on your day….if she’s got out of the wrong side of the bed….don’t bother….she’ll grade you down anyway….or better still get an inadequate like a setting near me got (they left a boy locked inside their swimming pool unattended.by mistake!!)
      When they got that inadequate…all the people in suits started flapping about and helped them improve over the following 6 months,then she was re-inspected and got a good….my satisfactory is still with me nearly 3 years on….but we are all in agreement….doesn’t matter what Ofsted give you….the parents know the settings they can trust…..and it has proved so with our small rural nursery being full mostly over the past 6 years….they don’t care what Ofsted say either….xx

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *