Tips to be Ofsted ready

Having previously provided some tips on what Ofsted will be looking for when they evaluate ‘how well children and young people are helped and protected’ and ‘the effectiveness of leaders and managers’, I will now turn my attention to ways in which homes can evidence ‘the overall experiences and progress of children and young people’.


One of the area’s that Ofsted will examine is the quality of relationships between professionals, carers and children, and their parents. Inspectors are able to draw conclusions from observing interactions between young people and their carers but examining the quality of the relationships that staff have with the wider system can be less straightforward, particularly if certain individuals are not reachable over the inspection period.  A good way to encapsulate this is to ensure your Regulation 44 visitor contacts professionals and relatives on a monthly basis. Not only can this be useful at the time of an inspection but it can serve to develop and maintain positive relationships throughout the course of a young person’s placement.

The progress children make in relation to their health, education, and emotional, social and psychological well-being is another area that inspectors will always report on (unless there are exceptional reasons not to do so). There are a number of things that can be done to provide evidence of a young person’s progress in relation to these areas including documenting any attendance, filing reports/correspondence, and recording achievements/milestones.  However, arguably the most powerful way of evidencing progress from a young person’s starting point is to provide the reader with easy to read graphs, charts, and/or statistics. For example, one way to successfully demonstrate a young person’s progress in relation to their health might be to do a weekly/monthly weight chart.

Finally, inspectors will also consider how the home ensures that the needs of children and young people who live far from their home are met. Is the young person able to return to his/her area for family contact and how often does this take place?, has the home taken steps to ensure the young person has memorabilia and/or items of sentimental value from their home?, are contact arrangements happening in line with the young person’s care/pathway plan and are they happy with them?, do the staff team show an interest in what the young person has to say about their home area and could this somehow be celebrated (e.g., a culture evening may include some cuisine from the young person’s home town).  All homes should ask themselves these types of questions if they have a young person whose placing authority is a significant distance away.

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