We've often talked about how Ace Early Years was created as part of a long journey but we thought it might be useful to explain the background behind our long overdue Ofsted!
We had an Ofsted inspection 3 years ago. At the time we were in a very different place in terms of freedom to explore our own best practise. We were heavily tied to how the rest of the school planned and expectations were very different to how they are now. During the inspection we were observed several times - during phonics and maths sessions. The feedback we had criticised the amount of time the children were outside (not enough!), the amount of free play the children had (not enough!), the lack of challenge for the more able and the lack of progress unsupervised groups were making. While we didn't agree that the observations were fair or accurate (for example the inspectors assumed we didn't provide enough access to outside based on the fact that during their short observations they didn't witness the children outside) when the report came out the entire school entered special measures.
The result of entering special measures was that the school became an academy and there was a change of leadership. It was an incredibly hard time but we value the many lessons we learned during this time. The changes to the school meant that we were able to apply for money to make changes to our provision and this was spent in two main areas: knocking down a wall between the 2 Reception classrooms and developing the outside provision.
In combination with the 'structural' changes, our new leadership placed a lot of faith in us and we were given freedom to explore different ways of planning and delivering our provision. We made changes to our assessment processes, planning, timetable, visited lots of other schools and also did a huge amount of research and reading around to find different ideas. We firmly believed that children were at the heart of our provision so to reflect this our provision continued to change steadily over time.
We had an interim Ofsted visit and this informed the school that we were making good progress and our academy sponsors arranged for us to have a 'Mocksted'! We were pleased with how this went but continued to adapt and change our provision. Eventually in March 2015 we had the call that we were going to have our long overdue inspection the following day. Unfortunately due to a bereavement it was postponed and we continued to wait.
Finally, 7 months after our initial call from OFSTED, on October the 19th we received the call that we would have our inspection over the following 2 days. Of course panic mode sets in but we knew that we were totally ready to prove to them that our school, provision, assessments systems and ethos are working and we were certainly NOT a special measures school!
Inspection Day One.........to be continued!