Preparing for Ofsted

“Inspection will consider how well you evaluate the impact of what you do on children’s care, learning and development, and use that evaluation to bring about improvement. You may capture the outcome of your evaluation using any tool you wish, including the Ofsted self-evaluation form, any forms or tools provided by your local authority and any quality assurance scheme you are part of. You do not need to complete multiple self-evaluation forms but the inspector will always check what evaluation you carry out and how effective this is.”
Are You Ready for Your Inspection? (Ofsted, August 2012)





How can using the Environment Rating Scales help me prepare for inspection?

Using the Environment Rating Scales can help you to prepare for your inspection and to complete your self-evaluation evidence (whether you are using the Ofsted SEF or other formats). The ERS help providers to work towards improvements in all areas of the EYFS, and to evidence the improvements made. They can:


  • Help you to identify what you are already doing well

  • Provide evidence to support the judgements you make about your own provision

  • Help you identify priorities for improvement, and to be clear about why you have chosen those areas to work on

  • Provide measurable evidence of improvements you have made to the quality of your provision

  • Provide the reassurance of using a research-based tool


“I’m not just a sitting duck waiting any more, I feel in charge of my own provision and empowered to talk to Ofsted about what I’m good at and what I want to work on next before they raise it with me” 



“Strong leaders identify accurately what works and what needs to change.  They never lose sight of the link between the quality of the provision and  its impact on children’s learning and development. They involve staff, parents and children in the process of self-evaluation and they welcome challenge from other professionals.”

Getting It Right First Time (Ofsted, July 2013)


  • Use our SEF maps to help identify which elements of the ERS can provide you with evidence for each section of the Ofsted early years SEF

    • Download the SEF-ECERS/ITERS map
    • Download the SEF-FCCERS map

    • Attend one of our training courses to help you:

    • Improve the quality of your provision and carry out effective self-evaluation
    • Prepare for your Ofsted inspection
    • Complete your Self Evaluation Form

    Please contact us for further details

  • This Ofsted report from 2011 shows how an outstanding childminder uses FCCERS as part of her self-evaluation process, and how this was recognised by the inspector during her visit (see pages 4 and 5). Download the report here

    If you are a practitioner and have used the Environment Rating Scales to prepare for Ofsted we would love to hear from you. We are always looking for examples of good practice to share with others.

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