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This single Word document contains model answers to the Ofsted online Self Evaluation Form. I will email you the document as a Word attachment and you can use these answers as a model for writing your own. This is a great time saver if you are having trouble getting started on this lengthy pre-inspection process!
Ofsted reads your answers to your SEF to give the inspector an idea of which aspects of your provision you think work well and which areas you are seeking to improve. Therefore, if you are hoping to get the top Ofsted grades at your inspection, then your SEF answers need to be really comprehensive.
Remember that even if you choose not to physically complete the online Ofsted SEF for your setting you will still need to have thought through your answers prior to your Ofsted inspection as your inspector may ask you about them.
For many (but not all) of the questions there are two or even three sets of answers provided: The first set of answers are MY answers. The other sets have been provided to me by two other childminders – one who has been judged outstanding twice at her previous inspections and one who runs a larger setting employing various assistants.
You will need to answer questions about outcomes, your curriculum, the views of professionals, partnership working, the characteristics of effective learning, safeguarding and professional development.
I now offer a service where we can write your SEF together. We can do it one question at a time over a minimum of 6 weeks. If you have been meaning to write your SEF for ages and wish you had someone to sit down and help you to do it, step by step, then I can help you to get it done. I also now offer a custom SEF checking service where I can read what you have written and offer suggestions for improvements.
Here are two examples from the SEF Model Answers: the first is an extract from my answer to the ‘Leadership and Management’ section. The second is an extract from the other outstanding childminder’s version of the ‘Promote Equality, Diversity and British Values’ question.
Effectiveness of Leadership and Management
I am an extremely organised person and especially so when it comes to how I run my childminding business. I keep excellent, confidential records for each of the children in my care including a signed contract, policy document and permission forms. All of my policies and procedures are fully in place and I feel are all very effective. I am also organised with my activities, and whenever possible, get things planned and prepared in advance so we can get more done when the children are around. I prepare yearly, monthly and weekly plans for the setting including the needs of each individual child.
Meeting the requirements of the Early Years
Foundation Stage and other government requirements
I ensure my suitability and qualification to look after the children by keeping my first aid certificate up to date. I have had a CRB background check and I carry public liability insurance. I am fully trained as a childminder including EYFS Training and my house has been inspected by Ofsted. My staff-to-child ratios are what they should be. Confidential records and information about the children are held securely and only accessible to those who have a right or professional need to see them. I am also aware of my responsibilities under the Data Protection Act and my premises is registered with the ICO. I actively promote British values through everything we do. I do not employ any staff at this time.
As a childminder I take my responsibility for safeguarding children very seriously and I have been on a Safeguarding Course run by my council. While I am looking after a child, he will normally be within my sight or hearing, but always within either my sight or hearing.
I understand my duties in regards to child protection, have a child protection policy in place and am aware of the Local Safeguarding Children Board procedures and know what to do if I think a child were being abused. The phone number for social services is posted on the bulletin board. I also have a mobile phone and camera policy in place for my house. I actively promote British Values to help prevent children being drawn into radicalisation and terrorism.
In general I feel that I have an ambitious vision for this setting because I like to run an ‘outstanding’ setting. This means that in all aspects of the care I offer children, from activities and learning, to planning and free-play, and quality, outdoor time, I am trying to bring out the best in the children I care for and the best in myself as well. I believe that it is because we (myself and the parents) have high expectations of what children can achieve that they all do so well here. I expect them to behave well, concentrate on the activities I plan and learn new things, and therefore they do.
I have an excellent knowledge of the learning and development requirements of the EYFS. I make yearly, monthly and weekly plans for the children and make sure that my observations in my learning journeys feed into these plans. By carefully monitoring the children I am confident that I am able to spot any gaps that may be developing in the children’s achievements. For example, when I had a concern about X’s slower than expected language development I was able to bring the concern to the attention of his parents (and the health visitor) because I was aware of what he should be doing at his age vs. what I was observing.
Spending time outdoors forms a major part of my curriculum here. We practice Forest Childcare and take weekly outings to outdoor ‘wild’ spaces so that the children can spend time in nature. I also plan and teach “topics” to the older children including topics from the Be Safe, Be Healthy Pack which gives me structured activity ideas for topics such as healthy eating, staying active, understanding their bodies and how to make friends. I like the pack because you can adapt the activities to the youngest children – they just colour the colouring pages in – but with the older ones I enjoy challenging them with some interesting new ideas and concepts. An example of how I adapt a project for different ages was when we were doing ‘snails’ as a topic. Even the youngest children enjoyed looking at our snails and feeding them. We did this during the school holidays and the older children set up a snail race with the pre-school children helping. It was a nice topic because it worked well for a range of ages and abilities. Spending time doing these sorts of structured activities and encouraging the children to concentrate for short periods of time on a particular task I feel is a great way to get them prepared for when they start school. The children also get plenty of time for free play so they can explore their own interests.
Promote Equality and Diversity
Accessibility: Where possible I try to make my home accessible to everyone. I am aware of certain problems associated with welcoming disabled people into my home, such as I currently have an upstairs toilet and steps down into the playroom; these would make my setting difficult to access for a severely disabled person.
Admissions policy: Within my policies I have taken into account multicultural and inclusion issues. Copies of these are discussed and given to parents from the outset and updated as and when required. I am happy to include any child into my setting, while taking into account meeting the individual needs of the children I currently mind and providing I can offer the care to meet their individual needs.
I have no specialized training in caring for a child with additional needs but would be more than happy to learn new skills. I am aware of the Senco handbook and have recently attended Senco handbook training; reinforcing where to seek help/support for a child should I need to.
Boys and Girls: All children have access to all resources through a mixture of planned and free play opportunities. Photos of boys and girls engaged in cooking and crafts such as finger knitting can be seen in my activity folders. I help children learn about equality of opportunity and inclusion through, play and resources, etc.
Inclusive: I have many toys and resources around my setting that promote inclusion including toys, games, books, posters. For example, dual language books and posters help the learning and development area CLL. If the images in the books show different skin tones and abilities then the learning and development area would be UW, stories about children sharing or taking turns would be PSE, while children doing exercise and eating healthily promotes physical development and children colouring pictures of children with disabilities would be creative and if they also used skin tone crayons would be UW.
Positive Contribution: When a child starts in my setting I collect all relevant information and knowledge of the child and their family as I can. This is to enable me to adapt my setting and resources to suit the child’s individual needs. I provide opportunities for children to learn about and value the lifestyles, cultures and beliefs of others. I ensure children have access to a wide range of planned activities and resources which promote equality of opportunity, for example, boys enjoying role play as hairdressers and teachers, and girls enjoying being workmen or builders.
We celebrate festivals and events which reflect other cultures. For example, we celebrated Chinese New Year by going to Wing Yip our local Chinese supermarket (after school) a few weeks before the event. We found out about what types of foods it sold, the different types of noodles, rice, meats and fish. The children loved watching the lobsters move around the tank. We learned about the utensils to use when eating the foods like the chopsticks that were available in lots of different colours. We found some decorations to decorate our playroom. (This also gave me the idea of making our own). We also found Chinese New Year cards and learnt about the tradition of giving someone a red envelope. We purchased some lovely decorated rice bowls, plates, spoons and bright red chopsticks along with some noodles, rice and fortune cookies, decorations and the small red envelopes. Before we left we went to the Chinese bakery and all had a lovely moon cake. Leading up to the event we printed resources off the internet using the computer and decorated them in red and gold. We also researched the words for Happy New Year in Chinese on the internet and practised how to say them to each other. We walked to the library another day after school to find books on Chinese traditions and more about the little red envelopes. On the day we greeted each other with our new words, we had a Chinese New Year Lunch of chicken with rice and noodles which we attempted to eat using the chopsticks. We gave each other a small red envelope containing money to wish each other prosperity for the coming year and we ended the lunch by eating fortune cookies. This activity provided the children with the choice of foods to buy PSE, Physical skills (using large motor skills) in walking to the library, reading the labels and learning new language CLL, looking at the prices on the labels PSRN, creative-making the decorations and UW was portrayed through pushing the trolley, using the computer and using the pelican crossing on the way to the library.
I present children with opportunities to develop their personal independence and also in taking responsibility for themselves in daily routines like putting on their coats or feeding themselves and in helping the younger children. I get the children involved in the community through events like the big toddle, party in the park etc. We take an interest in the environment and take the recycling to the recycle centre weekly. This opens up many conversations and themes/activities on how paper is made, what are land fill sites etc.
I find that showing an interest in the children’s learning motivates them to learn more. I have decorated my playroom walls with posters depicting diversity in the community, such as sign language posters of key words showing the actions/signs, welcome posters in different languages showing people from various backgrounds, pictures of cultural festivals like Eid and Diwali and posters showing children in non-stereotypical play situations such as boys playing with dolls.
I actively source toys which represent the diversity of people and/with additional needs, and have many toys ranging from dolls, skin tone crayons/paper, left handed scissors, role play clothes, hair pieces/wigs, play foods, jigsaw puzzles, character toys, small world toys. I organise my playroom environment to develop opportunities for children to make decisions. I help them to become Active Learners by providing free access to a wide range of resources, therefore supporting child initiated play.
I discuss my behaviour policies with parents and children and work together to overcome any issues. I find that by including the child into these discussions helps the child to understand that it is their behaviour that is not liked and not them as a person. By supporting the child in this way often alleviates the negative behaviour. I learnt how to allow the children to resolve their own quarrels and misunderstandings whilst completing an 8 week course. I support the children to acquire these skills, as this helps them to take responsibility for their actions and makes them aware that their actions have consequences.
I have attended a short course about inclusion and completed several workshops about supporting young mums and every child. I am aware that as the manager of my setting I must have regard to the Senco handbook, so I have attended a course on the Senco handbook and have one in my setting.
I do not tolerate discrimination of any kind in my setting and all children are encouraged to respect each other and treat each other how they would like to be treated and to value each others opinions and differences. I have a list of toys/other resources that promote inclusion such as dual language, Braille, audio books, skin tone crayons, a few traditional costumes, multicultural play food, jigsaws and small world people with additional needs to name a few. These resources are important because they encourage children to understand about respect for the needs of others. For example we build play towns with the little people and create zoos etc. with the animals. Within these games we include the small world people with additional needs, and the school bus that brings the school children (one of whom uses a wheelchair) to visit the zoo. We talk about making sure that there is enough room for the little boy to get through in his wheelchair and that there is space at the front for him to watch the animal displays, because if there wasn’t he wouldn’t be able to see the display and therefore how would he feel?
Hi Kay, thank you for the swift send. They are just what I need to help me write my SEF. Fantastic and in plain "English"! You make the questions much easier to understand. Thanks again, Sharon. Xx
I'm just writing to say 'thank you'! I ordered the updated SEF from you, as I was stuck for ideas on writing my own. Your SEF gave me inspiration, not only of what to write, but also an idea of what good practice should be. I have just had my Ofsted inspection, and have been upgraded from 'Satisfactory' to 'Good'. My inspector said that my inspection time was drastically cut down because my SEF was so complete and informative, and that many of her questions had been answered before she had visited me. If I had not had your SEF to inspire me, my SEF would have been very short, and my inspection time very long! I am thrilled that I have a 'Good' grading. Thanks again, LizThanks Kay. I've already completed my SEF, but wasn't sure if I had done too much/too little, and ticked all the boxes. So great to have this as a point of reference/sanity check. Have a fabulous weekend, Karen x
The very thought of completing a SEF has been so daunting I have put it off for a long time. I am now more enthusiastic and in fact completed one section already. Mine does look quite different to either of the two samples, it is such a relief not to be faced with the ‘blank piece of paper’. The model answers are a great idea and give a good starting point. Thanks, Jane
The sef pack is amazing. I have the best sef ever after purchasing it! After reading it, Ofsted only asked me one question in the three hours she was here. Sarah
I have received SEF form, so much information that I wouldn't have thought of mentioning, will be a great help. Thank you, Paula
I have found your SEF really helpful to make a starting point on each section, and to know what sort of information to include. Thank you, Jackie
Thanks to the SEF model answers I have now completed my SEF which has been 80% completed for the past year but there were bits I didn't have a clue how to fill in. Thanks for this great service, I feel it is money well spent. Alison
Just to say a BIG THANKS because I got an OUTSANDING at my Ofsted Inspection this week and the Inspector particularly praised the thoroughness of my self-evaluation form. I’ve mentioned you to several other childminders and so you might be getting more business your way soon. Kind regards, Caroline
Just wanted to thank you for the Sef model answers which I found very helpful. I spent several weekends working on my Sef and it was worth it as it helped me focus on my business and prepared me for the questions Ofsted asked. I have now had my inspection and I got a Good - really chuffed as I have only been minding 4 months. With best wishes, Tracey