When the internet goes down on inspection day

24th May 2016

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Andrea Turner, owner of Andrea Turner’s Childcare, runs a team of qualified and experienced Childminders and Childminding Assistants for the last 12 years. Andrea will be attending Childcare Expo Manchester this June and here she shares her experience with other childcare practitioners of when the internet goes down on inspection day:

My own learning journal system crashed days before my last inspection (2014) and I’ve never been an aficionado since. What amuses me though is how people assume that going paperless automatically means going online anyway when, in fact, we can go entirely paperless with just a digital camera and a dry wipe pen. Most people, however, do use a computer or a mobile device of some kind and so even those with the most basic skills can create and share evidence of what they do and how they do it. And if you do your SEF online then quite frankly you’re laughing.

My first piece of advice to you is to get into the habit of photographing everything. And I mean everything. That observation you wrote on a post it note? Take a photo. That note to self-reminding you to tell the nursery school teacher that Lucy is being picked up early to go to a dentist appointment? Take a photo. Sid’s first attempt at writing his name? Take a photo. And get into the habit of uploading the images to your preferred storage space because you’re going to use them later. (Do I have to remind you to be registered with ICO?)

Next, I’m reaching out to those of you who fill out your SEF online. Nobody likes reading chunks and chunks of text – not even me and I love reading. We like it broken up with photos, infographics, things that make us laugh out loud. so here’s your chance to showcase your evidence and now you want examples right? Well, how about you insert a photo of Franky finger feeding himself in the highchair with a photo of your post it note observation and next steps? Do try to write next steps after an observation. It doesn’t have to be every single time or even immediately after because you know how it is, sometimes we just can’t for the life of us think that quickly on our feet but do come back to it if you can. Then insert another photo – one where perhaps he’s sitting at the table, say a month later, with the other children using a fork, with a photo of your observation and next steps and so on.

They don’t always have to be of him eating though. His development can be seen in other areas too but what you are showing is evidence of tracking his learning and development. You don’t need to do it for every child for the SEF – you’re just giving a snapshot of your practice. Now it doesn’t matter if your online system is down on inspection day, the inspector has already seen what you do, that you know what you’re doing, and she knows what to expect to see on the day. The tone is set, she’s already impressed, and she can’t wait to meet you and your little treasures.

You can read more of Andrea’s experiences on her blog here.

Andrea Turner plans on visiting Childcare Expo Manchester taking place at EventCity on 17 & 18 June. Click here to register for your free tickets to the show.