What is the purpose of an inspection?

Inspection provides independent, external evaluation which drives up standards and provides assurance to the public and the Government that minimum standards of childcare, education, and skills are being met.

Why should you prepare?

Preparing for an inspection gives you a positive opportunity to help you identify weaknesses, make improvements and demonstrate your strengths and qualities to inspectors, ultimately leading to the best judgment rating possible.

What do you need to do?

  1. Leaders and staff should become fully conversant with the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage 2021. The learning and development, safeguarding and welfare requirements sections provide the guidance to ensure practice is compliant with all requirements.

  2. Read The Early Years inspection handbook for Ofsted-registered provision for September 2021 to understand the processes involved in the inspection and judgments. Leaders and staff should be familiar with the process and expectations on them during an inspection, to give them the confidence to be observed and hold professional discussions about children with the inspector.

  3. Be prepared for an inspection any time. Ofsted must inspect each provider at least once within a six year window from the date of the last inspection. Find out how often Ofsted is likely to carry out inspections.

  4. Make sure you have access to the documents and information that Ofsted might want to see during an inspection. Find a list of documents here.

  5. Ensure you have all the required polices under the EYFS and that they are up to date. The inspector is likely to talk about how settings implement their policies in practice, particularly where it relates to the training and development of staff. Where potential non-compliance with the EYFS is identified, inspectors are likely to check staff’s knowledge of the setting’s policies.

  6. Be prepared to demonstrate a high regard to safeguarding. Although it is not a defined judgment area of its own, every inspection will include a focus on how well children are protected so that they are kept safe. Find a Safeguarding Children model policy here.

  7. Keep records of disclosure and barring service checks.

  8. Ensure that all previous concerns or complaints have been followed up and that there are clear records to show how the provision has learnt and improved. Find a Complaints model policy here. See also a Handling Complaints in Early Years Settings staff training presentation which you can distribute to staff.

  9. Leaders and managers are expected to have a realistic view of the quality of their provision and know what to improve. There is no requirement to have a written self-evaluation document but they should be prepared to talk about the quality of education and care they provide and how they provide for the needs of all children.

Last reviewed 14 February 2022