On the 17th of March we usually celebrate St Patrick’s Day but this year we are inviting St Patrick to join the London OBC!
In the days before Covid, when Ofsted came to call, we ran OBC at least twice a year across the country. I know Cheryl Hadland has led the South West OBC recently but I am not sure about the rest of the country. Somebody asked me about the Shropshire OBC recently so I hope that is organised soon. The last London OBC was busy as the benefits of Zoom allows for many more to attend. That invitation still stands and if anyone from anywhere wants to join me and St Patrick you are very welcome.
In my recent book, The A-Z of Early Years, “I” was for “Inspection” and my call to arms was to build an inspectorate where the inspector becomes a partner in the process and the learning walk is the basis of a rich and informative pedagogical conversation which tells a much more honest story and brings greater credibility to the inspection process. It was an essential chapter because I wanted to explore our relationship with Ofsted which like a fiery marriage which every now and then needs to visit a relationship counsellor. The OBC is that counsellor!
The OBC has helped rebuild a trusting relationship with our Ofsted colleagues which had become unpleasant, disheartening with a culture of targets and measures. The OBC has brokered a more equitable and positive relationship across all the regions of Ofsted, and we need to nurture this relationship as the basis of a positive dynamic between the sector and our regulator. The inspection may be a forgotten experience, but Ofsted intends to return to the EIF inspections soon so its best we talk to them about their plans. Right now, they seem to be clearing up every old regulatory issue, so their cupboards are all spick and span ready for the summer inspections.
To be honest, I am quite relieved that we will resume having inspections because the bubble regime has made external visits impossible and very few people are in the nursery to see what it feels like to be a child there. Parents arrive masked, hand over their children and return up to 7-hours later to collect them. Its not ideal and we are making assumptions as to how children are coping. The idea that they seem ok may better describe our perspective rather than theirs. So, to those who want this to stay because it seems less challenging please think carefully and give those children a voice in that decision.
A few years ago, if you described the way children are settled into nursery now, I suspect many of us would have rejected the idea as simply mad, a scene from the Handmaids Tale even, given what we know about bonding and transition. Yet, some children will have been attending nursery for six-months without ever having their parents enter the nursery with them.
Therefore, we have invited our Ofsted colleagues to talk about:
I have also invited Dr Lala Manners to share some research she is doing about wellbeing among staff and what good practice looks like.
So, be prepared for the next round of inspections and join us by booking here. Share on Twitter, Facebook and all your social media networks.
Tickets £5.98 (non-refundable, including booking fee). All proceeds to go LEYF’s Hardship Fund to help our Food Banks and provide additional funds to parents in crisis.