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Ofsted has published a new post on its blog called “The education inspection framework (EIF) – looking ahead to September 2022” It contains some updates to the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) including changes to the Early Years Inspection Handbook (in use from 1st September) and also on its ‘myth-busting’ page on gov.uk.

A summary of the changes taken from the post is below:

Updates throughout to reflect paragraph references in the early years handbook published on 11 July 2022.

Text amended in the following:

  • What impact have the EYFS reforms had on Ofsted inspections?
  • Will Ofsted negatively judge settings for having ‘stripped-back, COVID-safe provision’, for example provision with no soft furnishings, dressing-up clothes, pillows or cosy spaces, and no sand or water?
  • Are there flexibilities in place for providers that are facing recruitment and retention issues or experiencing high numbers of staff off sick? Will Ofsted take this into consideration when inspecting?’
  • Can Ofsted carry out inspections without any notice?

New questions:

  • What’s happened to the COVID-19 section which was in the previous edition of the early years inspection handbook?
  • Can before- and after-school clubs and holiday provision use Ofsted logos?

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said: “Since inspections restarted, we have been raising concerns from the sector about how some inspectors have responded to challenges linked to Covid-recovery and workforce pressures. While the handbook update and revised guidance addresses some of these challenges, it will be important to see that reflected in providers’ experiences on the ground.

“Nurseries and early years settings recognise the important role of inspections but we want to see effective, supportive and proportionate regulation. This is especially important as providers work to give the extra support children need following the impact of Covid-19 restrictions and an ongoing workforce crisis.

“Where early years settings have concerns about how inspections are carried out, there needs to be a fair and equitable process for everyone. That means urgent reforms to overhaul Ofsted’s complaints process and restore trust across the sector.”

The blog, on the government’s official website can be found here.

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