posted by on Childcare

Self- refection is one of the most important ways of evaluating your setting and self-evaluation is one of the most important valuation tools in the manager’s toolkit. Research including the original Effective Provision of Pre School Provision (EPPE) under pinned the value of self- reflection and evaluation. It supports good practice, drives up standards and improves outcomes for children.  Completing a SEF is not compulsory, however settings are required to show that they are evaluating their practice, consulting with children, users and staff and that they know and understand themselves well. The SEF is a good way of providing all of this in one useful document. The SEF should be a document that is continually developing and evolving. It is not merely a leaflet advertising  your setting but a valuable development tool.  A setting with a good SEF knows its self well and has plans in place for development. It is likely to have a less onerous inspection than a setting without a clear evaluation process. Here are some of my top tips for completing your EYFS SEF.

– The SEF is usually completed online but do keep a paper copy in the setting as sometimes Ofsted inspectors do not have sight of a copy before they come to your setting.

– Do make good use for the Ofsted documents; the Evaluation Schedule and the early years provision SEF guidance. Use the Evaluation Schedule to bench mark your setting with evidence.

– Use short clear sentences or bullet points to write your SEF remember it is not ‘War & Peace’.

– Look at your key strengths and weakness and evaluate these critically. Ask yourself what is it that you need to do to improve?

– Don’t write your SEF on your own in two weeks, do involve your stakeholders , including parents, staff and the voice of the child. Discuss sections of your SEF with staff and ask for their contribution.

– Break your SEF down into small chunks and write it one piece at a time. Don’t be over whelmed by the task.

– Support your judgements with evidence from your practice and be honest.  It is better to be honest about your practice and to show what you are doing to improve, rather than  aspirational  judgements that are not realistic and do not reflect your setting honestly.

Your SEF is a working document and not something that you write and never look at again. Before writing your SEF it is worth taking the time to reflect on your setting and asking yourself what’s working well and what you could do better. Settings where reflective practice occurs find completing their SEF a much easier task.  For further support or an evaluation of your current SEF or for any help in your Ofsted early years inspection contact Tel 07999936086

The Change Agency

MA, ILM, Childcare consultant, trainer, life & leadership coach find me on Twitter @changeagencynw  & LinkedIn