Ofsted Early Years – Self Evaluation Forms no longer needed

Ofsted Self Evaluation Forms are no longer needed.

The Ofsted SEF or self-evaluation form, as produced by Ofsted are longer a requirement for Early Years Providers.

This is great news, although many providers have been producing their own evaluations linked to their planning and outcomes for some time. The SEF was undoubtedly a good management tool for creating information about the setting and giving practitioners a place to be reflective about their practise.

We are often involved with early year’s providers in action planning, assessments, outcomes for children and management and governance. For many, this will come as welcome news and in the long run I am sure that this is the case. Settings who have become reliant on all the information needed for the Ofsted inspector being available in the SEF will now need to use other tools in their toolkits.

One of the best methods we suggest is to integrate the Action Plans across the setting and the curriculum into a document that can be translated into overall planning. Using a RAG system can easily identify and provide a timeline for actions needed and indicate systems and procedures which are working well.

You can always be bold, and use gold or silver to show that expectations are exceeded!!

In Nursery World, 9.2.18, it states that from 1st April 2008, the online SEF will cease to exist and quote,

While managers and staff of childcare settings need to be able to evaluate the care and activities their setting provides, and how well they are meeting the learning needs of children to an Ofsted inspector, they do not need to fill in the SEF. This is clarified in the inspectorate’s myth-busting campaign.

Ofsted says that it hopes the removal of the form will help to reduce burden on early year’s providers.”

The Pre School Learning Alliance also mentions that the need for the SEF is part of the myth busting campaign from Ofsted Early Years teams and that by no longer needing to complete the SEF this will enable managers and practitioners to reduce some of the administration burden and be more focussed on the delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

I wonder how many settings will stow away their SEF into the bottom of the cupboard and how many will already have developed their own systems and happily send the SEF to the famous filing cabinets!

Sue Martin  Early Years Consultant

 

 


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  • Families and priorities after June 8th 2017

    The UK is moving fast towards the next general election, debates, broadcasts, chat shows and face to face meetings.

    But what are they going to do to help families? So much talk and we wonder what the action will be? 

    Pledges for childcare are hot in the press, promises, considerations, making life better and much more.

    It was with huge interest that our partnership read the blog from Family and Childcare Trust called: General Election 2017: What are the parties going to do for families?

    In the last week  all the main party manifestos are launched with main committments and pledges. Well worth reading!!

    Our partnership remains fundamentally in support of high quality, affordable and accessible for all families and an effective choice to ensure that children grow and develop, thrive and learn, both within families and in childcare settings.

    We work within local authorities and directly with settings to ensure that we are at the forefront of understanding and development.

    Family and Childcare Trust are a campaigning organisation with a strong voice towards government understanding.

    Julia Margo, Chief Executive has asked for support in the Family and Childcare Trust’s call to the next government to ensure that;

    “Every parent is better off working, after they’ve paid for childcare and that every child can access high quality childcare to boost their learning”

    Join us in supporting Family and Childcare Trust in their committment to families futures in the next parliament.

    Sue Martin


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  • An Equal Start in Life – Finland’s Baby Box

    Finnish Baby Boxes
    Finnish Baby Boxes

    One of the most beautiful things we have seen is the Baby Box for all newborns in Finland.

    ‘I started life in a box, we all did!’ said a colleague, who was proud of the equality given to all babies in Finland since 1938. An equal start, and an equality in society that is mirrored throughout life.

    Every Finnish mother receives a maternity grant when baby is born.

    We started to get really interested in the concept of the box. At our meeting in the Finnish Embassy, which was actually not to do with provision for babies, we were shown the most beautiful boxes. The box has a mattress and sleeping oufits so the baby can sleep in the box for several months of their life.

    The contents of the box include all that you would need for a new baby, and in excellent quality. The clothes, including very warm snuggly ‘all in ones’ are in colours that are gender neutral, and really beautiful. Who would not to have one of these?

    An equal start in life it really is. And an equality that pervades the whole of the Finnish culture.

    The baby box has been available since 1938 and is provided as the maternity grant. Mothers can choose between cash and the box. Of the 60,000 grants distributed annually by Kela, Social Insurance Institution in Finland, two thirds are taken as maternity packages as the baby boxes with contents.

    In the 1960’s sleeping bags first appeared in the boxes instead of quilts. By the 1980’s and 90’s families had become better off, but since the package remained as popular as ever it was decided to continue.

    In the 2000’s the boxes continue and the contents are reviewed annually by a social insurance committee following a competitive tendering process, in which quality and affordability are equally important.
    The boxes are available to purchase for anyone living outside Finland, who is not covered by the Finnish social security system, and can range from a Summer Basket to a Cold Winter Basket.

    Our partnership is very socially minded and this idea has a huge appeal, so simple, so beautiful and yet so practical. It provides an equal start in life and a pride of life in a box shared by all citizens in Finland.

    Kela Maternity Box

    Sue Martin FRSA
    SmithMartin Partnership

     

     

     

     


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  • Childcare Providers and Wrap-around Care in Schools

    In  Children and Young People Now , 07.12.15 – a new announcements on childcare and schools.

    Image 5‘Childcare providers could be given the right to apply to deliver wraparound care using school facilities…’, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans to offer out-of-school-hours childcare using school facilities. (Picture: Peter Crane)
    Under proposals unveiled today, childcare providers will be given the “right to request” that a school allows it to use its facilities to provide care for the children of parents at either end of the school day and during school holidays.

    It has proposed that schools manage the “right to request” process and governing bodies take the final decision about what action to take.

    A consultation has been launched by the Department for Education that runs until the end of February 2016 to assess how schools and childcare providers can work better together. It will also find out how schools respond to wraparound childcare requests from parents and childcare providers.

    At an event to launch the proposals, Cameron said: “This will open up good quality, affordable childcare for parents at either end of the school day and school holidays – taking pressure of budgets and helping them plan for the future.”

    Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced plans to give parents the right to request wraparound childcare provision from schools in October’.

    SmithMartin Partnership working with providers and schools…


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  • Carmel Littleton appointed as Head of Children’s Services in London Borough of Islington

    Image 1Carmel Littleton has been appointed as the new director of children’s services in London Borough Islington, following on from Eleanor Schooling who has moved to Ofsted.

    Carmel Littleton (Image: courtesy of LBI), has been director of children’s services in Thurrock since 2013.

    On 18th November 2015, Children and Young People Now, (article: Neil Puffett) reported that:

    ‘The local authority said that Carmel Littleton, who has been Director of Children’s Services in Thurrock since 2013, will take up the post in the new year.

    Her background includes teaching, working as an educational psychologist and as a children’s services adviser.

    Littleton said: “I am delighted to be joining Islington and look forward to both the challenge and exciting opportunities that this brings.

    “I can’t wait to build on the excellent work that is already under way and ensure every child and young person has the best possible chances in life.”

    Islington Council leader Richard Watts said: “The job will have its challenges because Islington is a borough of such great contrasts. Islington is one of the most deprived areas in the country with the fourth highest child poverty rate and complex underlying social problems that need to be tackled”.

    SmithMartin Partnership are pleased to have worked with Early Years in Children’s Services in Islington, building on and developing the good work in children’s services.

    Sue Martin


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    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

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  • Institute of Education Research Findings:
    Pre-School Childcare

    Library CH 005Provision and use of Pre-School childcare in Britain.


    Key Research Findings Seminar at Institute of Education, Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL, London.
    July 24th 2015

    The research was undertaken with the aim of understanding childcare provision and usage in Britain, with the view to contribute to policy development.

    An engaging debate was held at the seminar at UCL, in the midst of the graduation ceremonies. It sparked much conversation and thought about issues of childcare, work force, viability, education and childcare.

    The research titled, ‘Provision and use of Pre-School childcare in Britain’, a secondary analysis of childcare using large-scale national datasets, published on 24th July by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), warns of the possibility of a shortage in the childcare work force.

    Chairing the seminar was Emeritus Professor of Education, Peter Moss and research summaries were given by Antonia Simon and Charlie Owen, with a panel including Jill Rutter, Family and Childcare Trust, Claire Schofield, National Day Nurseries, and Neil Leitch, Pre school Learning Alliance.

    It appears that in 2015, the sector has developed considerably in some ways but there are glaring inadequacies which are preventing Early Childhood Services moving into a world class provision, a previous goal. Professor Moss indicated that the work force remains poorly paid, access needs improving , and we currently have strong central control with a fragmented system of provision and delivery.

    The research on the work force was led by Antonia Simon and will be available on a new website at beginning of August.

    Key findings were; that the work force is strongly gendered, 98% are female, qualifications have increased but pay is persistently low. It was interesting the educational qualifications of mothers had the most beneficial aspect to enable young children to access good quality childcare, both in amount and type.

    For the majority of parents, the access to different types of childcare, was important, and a combined use of formal and informal provision was the most normal pattern.

    The debate from the attendees and panel raised some fascinating questions and created a consensus that this debate and research would be a very useful if our forward to the DFE.

    The Early Years Sector has had a considerable degree of travel over the last decade and it would seem that there is still much room for development to allow a system which delivers quality provision and universal accessibility, indeed a world class provision.

    ‘We have a system which is creaking at the seams. We need to make changes rather than add on more to a ramshackle approach’. Professor Peter Moss

    Sue Martin FRSA
    Consultant in Early Years Childhood Services
    SmithMartin Partnership LLP


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  • Labour plans for universal childcare

    Image 2

    Ed Milliband has pledged in his new year message to pursue the policy of universal childcare for all pre-school children and to make childcare a priority, if elected as Prime Minister.(Guardian 30 December 2013).In a Guardian interview the shadow childcare minister, Lucy Powell, said of free universal pre-school childcare: “I’d love it to be [introduced]. My job is to make the political and economic case for childcare, not just the childcare offer that we have right now but an extension of that. I am absolutely firmly of the belief that if you invest in childcare it pays for itself over time because it increases maternal employment rates.”

    In the SmithMartin Partnership, childcare has always been seen as one of the most fundamental needs of young families. Over the last 5 years it has increased in cost and the argument for developing universal childcare which is affordable and accessible for all remains highly important.

    The case for universal childcare was indeed a key part of the previous Labour Party initiatives and with the development of Sure Start provided a platform for a major plank of Early Years programmes for quality Early Years education.

    Naomi Einsenstadt developed the concept of Sure Start within the Dept. of Children, Schools and Families, and the move into Sure Start Children’s Centres.Image 1

    Good quality childcare enables young children to receive good early years education, to reduce the effects of poverty and to give families a vision for the future.

    We hope that this recent statement from Labour will turn into a reality.

    Sue Martin

    SmithMartin Partnership LLP – bringing communities together

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  • Happy Christmas

    Chr card 2013


  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
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  • Child Rights Partners

    Image 2‘Children and young people are to be involved in designing and delivering services aimed at them through a partnership between Unicef UK and six local authorities.’

    Children and Young People Now, reported this initiative between Unicef and six councils across England. A ray of light for young people and a way to enable their voice to be heard.

    The Child Rights Partners project aims to put child rights at the heart of public services and will prioritise improving services for the most vulnerable children, including those living in care, living in poverty and young people affected by drug and alcohol misuse.

    Over three years, the six councils spread across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will work with young people to tackle different problems.

    These include:

    • Tower Hamlets will involve young people in designing substance misuse services
    • Derry will focus on arts, sports and positive play
    • Glasgow will focus on two service areas: developing a rights-based approach to services for care-leavers and early years
    • Leeds will improve service provision for looked-after children, ensuring that their entire journey through the social care system is rights-based.
    • Neath and Port Talbot will focus on vulnerable families where the parents have drugs and alcohol, domestic violence and mental health issues.
    • Newcastle will adopt a rights-based approach to tackling child poverty.

    David Bull, executive director of Unicef UK, said: “Public services have sometimes failed children and young people by not listening to their opinions and needs, so we welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with these pioneering local authorities.’

    Article taken from Children and Young People Now 20.11.13

    Sue Martin

    SmithMartin Partnership LLP – bringing communities together.

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  • News and fresh thinking from SmithMartin Partnership LLP
    We are always happy to explore new partnerships and projects in our core expertise areas - childcare, early years, education, charities, social business, governance, fund raising, literacy, books and web communications to support the work across all sectors.

    Email office@smithmartinpartnership.com for an exploratory review...

  • Children’s Centres Ofsted Inspection Changes

    Liv 2yrsFrom April 2013 Ofsted have made changes to the inspection framework for Sure Start Children’s Centres

    The main changes are in a reduced set of judgements, from 20 to 4, and a change from satisfactory grading to ‘requires improvement’ grade.

    There is also the recognition that children’s centres are organised through the local authorities in different formats which has been taken into account in the new framework.

    For instance, where a children’s centre is part of a cluster, but with individual governance, the inspection will take place for each centre. It is hoped that connecting children’s centres can be inspected at the same time, so joint services would only be visited once.

    The handbook and framework are useful management tools for all involved in children’s centres and can be downloaded freely from Ofsted.

    As we use them in our work with children’s centres they are also available from www.smithmartinpartnership.com.

    Sue Martin

    Children’s Centre consultant