Our consultants have inspected thousands of Early Years provisions and Hopscotch have helped hundreds of settings to achieve their goals. As inspectors, we’ve seen the very best and worst of the sector – so we know exceptional practice when we see it. And as consultants, we’ve worked on every kind of project – from settings in danger of closure by the authorities, to settings who wish to offer something that has never been done before in Early Years, to settings that are marching towards their goal of that Outstanding grading at inspection.
Our mock Ofsted inspections are conducted by experienced, current Early Years inspectors against the current Inspection Framework - they're the closest thing you'll get to the real thing.
Our consultant-inspector will call the setting the lunchtime before their visit and speak to the manager, requesting information including number of children on roll, the timetable of the day and any other operational information required for the planning of your visit. They'll give your manager the opportunity to set the scene for the visit and experience the feeling of an Ofsted notification call.
Getting into nursery around 9am (confirmed during the Notification Call), our consultant will meet with the management team and discuss the action plan for the day, creating a timetable to include the Learning Walk, Joint Observation, Leadership and Management Interview and Feedback, whilst still allowing your setting to continue their usual daily routines.
Your Learning Walk is your first opportunity to show our consultant-inspectors what really matters the most in a setting and how your vision is embedded into daily practice. It also allows you to show us how you build on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to decide what you intend children to learn and develop, how you teach and implement the curriculum and how you will evaluate the impact by checking what children know and can do.
The purpose of the Joint Observation is to enable our consultant-inspector to gain an insight into the effectiveness of the setting's CPD programme for practitioners; assess the management's view of staff interactions with children; and to have an in-depth view of an example of the quality of teaching and learning taking place. We will discuss any observed strengths and areas for development before suggesting recommendations on how to further develop.
Throughout the day, our consultant-inspectors will continually observe and discuss with staff (and children) their knowledge and understanding of their key children, the curriculum, routines, the learning taking place, safeguarding and more!
Nearing the end of the visit, we will discuss with the management team how they support the nursery, their vision and aspirations, current actions plans and developments, staff wellbeing and compliance checks.
Where possible and appropriate, our consultant-inspectors will take time with parents and staff members to discuss their perceptions of the setting and to establish the dynamics of relationships between practitioners and stakeholders.
At the conclusion of the inspection, full verbal feedback is given, touching on strengths, areas for improvement and any specific concerns our consultant has. We will also give you a grading against the Inspection Framework.
Within 72 hours we provide a full written report with detailed, bullet-pointed observations, actions and recommendations. This can be used as the jumping-off point for an action plan and further support from our Hopscotch subject matter experts.
Croydon Day Nursery contacted Hopscotch to aid them in their journey towards Outstanding. They requested a mock inspection as a dry run for the real thing and to highlight any areas they needed to focus on to strengthen their practice, with their inspection due within the following 6 months.
During the visit, our consultant:
Croydon Day Nursery gained their Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ grade within 4 months of their mock inspection visit - with three areas suggested for development by Hopscotch highlighted as a strength by Ofsted.
*name of setting changed