Why we suggest childminders complete Ofsted’s SEF (and how we can help)

December 10th, 2012

Ofsted’s self-evaluation form

Why we think you should complete self-evaluation and how we can help you to complete Ofsted’s self-evaluation form.

What is the Self-evaluation form?

Ofsted’s self-evaluation form (SEF) is provided by Ofsted as part of a process of continuous self-improvement for all registered childcare providers on the early years register.

Do I have to complete self-evaluation?

The form is not compulsory and you can use other methods to record self-evaluation, for example your local authority may have their own form and we have a simpler ‘Achieving my potential – self development plan’. However we strongly recommend that you undertake some self-evaluation. By taking a few moments to reflect on your provision, you may well identify areas where you can improve and gain renewed momentum (if you need it) to make your practice as successful as possible.

Although there is no clause in the EYFS 2012 framework which states that Childminders must undertake self-evaluation, there are various clauses which relate to it, for example:

Clause 1.12 – “… Providers should regularly consider training and development needs of all staff members to ensure they offer a quality learning experience for children that continually improves”.

Additionally Ofsted’s ‘Framework for the regulation of provision on the Early Years Register’ document refers to self-evaluation:

Clause 48 – “Providers are able to complete and regularly update an optional early years self-evaluation form. Whether or not providers complete this form, inspectors will expect providers to reflect upon their practice and have plans to improve their early years provision”.

Further Ofsted’s ‘Conducting early years inspections’ document states that inspectors will ask for your record of self-evaluation:

Clause 11, bullet 7 – “When the inspector arrives at the provision s/he must ask for the provider’s self-evaluation, if the provider has not submitted a self-evaluation form to Ofsted, or where they have done so, confirm with the provider the date of the form being used”.

Ofsted’s ‘Evaluation schedule for inspections of registered early years provision’ includes the following as evidence to support a ‘Good’ grade for the judgement of the effectiveness of leadership and management of the early years provision:

“Thorough self-evaluation takes into account the views of parents and is the result of careful monitoring, analysis and self-challenge”.

It also includes the following in the descriptor for ‘Inadequate’ for the judgement:

“Self-evaluation is weak and has too little impact. Any actions taken to tackle areas of identified weakness have been insufficient or ineffective”

Finally and importantly, there is a purpose to completing self-evaluation, other than just because Ofsted wants you to. By taking time to really consider and reflect on your own practice you should personally benefit. This would be both from the satisfaction of acknowledging how well you are already caring for children but also from understanding how you can further improve in ways you may not have otherwise thought of.

Given all this, we recommend you undertake self-evaluation and make sure you can demonstrate that you have acted on the results of that evaluation.

How we can help

We have developed a comprehensive guide taking you step-by-step through each element of Ofsted’s SEF, including each point suggested in Ofsted’s SEF guidance document. Members please click here to download it now.

Thanks for reading,


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