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SMARTpd: Supporting members to improve practice

Two women having a meetingIn November 2017 the Chair of a member setting contacted the Alliance to seek support in preparation for an imminent Ofsted inspection.

During the initial telephone conversation it became clear that there were many complex issues that would need to be addressed before they would be Ofsted ready.

The group was put in contact with a member of the quality improvement team who discussed their needs and began to formulate a package of SMARTpd support.

It quickly became apparent that the committee was unclear about their responsibilities in the management of the group and the role of the appointed manager.

An initial meeting was arranged between the Alliance’s quality and practice manager and three members of the committee, including the Chair.

At the meeting the committee expressed how stressed they felt by the overwhelming (and unexpected) responsibility they felt to ‘get it right’.

The situation was made even more fragile by a breakdown in the relationship between the committee and the manager of the setting, who, it appeared, was not fulfilling her obligations as manager.

The quality and practice manager discussed the responsibilities of all parties involved in the management and day-to-day running of the setting and the support the Alliance could offer as follows:

  • A one day consultancy visit to the setting in order to assess their compliance with the requirements of the EYFS and to action plan for Ofsted inspection.
  • A written report and action plan with a key focus on the leadership and management of the setting.
  • Access to free resources such as webinar recordings specific to the needs identified.
  • Suggested publications to be published (in particular Essential Policies & Procedures for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

The consultancy visit took place as planned and an action plan was drawn up.

The committee has since commented that they feel ‘a huge burden has been lifted.’

They are now clearer about their responsibilities and also acknowledge that a lack of clarity and poor communication has contributed to a ‘strained’ relationship with the appointed manager.

They still have some way to go before they are fully compliant with the EYFS, but they are making progress and have requested a further consultancy visit in the coming weeks to assess progress and suggest further improvements.

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