What do Ofsted recommend for training?

Here at Siren we’ve always been convinced of the power that video can have on childcare and early years training. We wouldn’t have spent over 30 years capturing so many quality sequences for observation other wise. So when this report from Ofsted came out we were really pleased to see what their findings were.

The inspectors visited a sample of the most successful early years settings to find evidence for approaches giving successful outcomes for children, particularly those from deprived areas.

Assessment

There are various key findings, one of which relates to assessment. What the best settings all agree on is that assessment is at the heart of successful teaching and play and that they all valued the rich information that accurate assessment yielded. However as the report says this is a process that needs high quality observation skills and an in depth knowledge of child development so that it’s easy to work out what the next steps to take will be. And in the best settings these things happen almost automatically and training in these areas, is seen as very important.

In these high quality settings continual training is a given. Staff are encouraged to meet frequently to talk about their children’s development. This sort of discussion helps staff to continually think about and want to know as much as possible about child development, understanding its vital importance in making future observations and evaluations.

Practise and refine

Nurseries obviously arrange their discussion/training sessions to suit their individual situations. Some have monthly meetings; they might discuss typical ages and stages of child development, specific areas of learning or what a typical learning journey looks like for example. The report says:

“Staff found this process to be most valuable when it involved looking at video material, to imitate making an observation. Staff appreciated the opportunity to constantly practise and refine their skills in the safety of a training exercise.”

Apply to practice

Ofsted’s inspectors found that this sort of training gives the best results when staff use what they’ve picked up in their training and apply it straight away to the observations and assessments of their own children in their setting.

So although observation and assessment isn’t easy, it’s the key to improving outcomes. Successful leaders will make continuing discussion and training in the area a must – and an enjoyable and very satisfying part of the job.

Quotes from Ofsted’s report ‘Teaching and play in the early years – a balancing act?’

< Click to read the full report

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