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‘Leaders and managers of settings should have an accurate view of the quality of their provision and know what to improve. This should be summarised in their self-evaluation.  Inspectors will use the self-evaluation to evaluate how well a setting knows its own strengths and weaknesses and how it can improve or maintain its high standards.’
Early Years Inspection Handbook, Ofsted (2018)


Self-evaluation is an important element of effective early years practice. Leaders and Managers need to ensure they have an accurate understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their setting, so that they can plan sharply focused improvements which make a real difference to children.

You may already have a process for self-reflection and evaluation in place which works for your setting, if not there are lots of tools that can be used to evaluate your practice.

Previously, Ofsted provided an optional self-evaluation form for early years providers but from April 2018 the Ofsted format is no longer in use and has been archived. However, Ofsted have acknowledged that there are providers who will want to continue to use this document within their self-assessment processes and it can be found here Ofsted Early Years Self Evaluation Form (SEF). Further information about changes to the Ofsted SEF can be found here.

Quality Improvement Plans/Action Plans

A setting improvement plan helps you to identify priorities and actions to be taken. When devising the plan consider:

  • What needs to change/develop?
  • How is it going to be done?
  • How long will it take?
  • What resources are needed?
  • Who is going to do it?
  • What difference will it make to the outcomes for children?
  • Evaluate the actual impact. Did it meet the identified need?


You can find information about our bespoke training packages, in-house training opportunities and training courses in our Services for Early Years Providers Brochure 2018-19. The training calendar for 2018-19 has information about dates and venues for each course.

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