Early Years Practitioners’ Perceptions of Ofsted Inspection

Ward, Michelle (2019) Early Years Practitioners’ Perceptions of Ofsted Inspection. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/9YF32TY7

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This research explored the perceptions of Early Years (EY) practitioners in England regarding the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) inspection. While a significant amount of previous scholarly literature focuses on primary and secondary school teachers’ perceptions of this phenomenon, less is known about the views of EY practitioners, especially those working in private, voluntary and independent (PVI) settings. This study addresses this gap, whilst also incorporating the views of other practitioners working under the umbrella of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (Department for Education, 2014 – at the point of interviews). Working within the interpretivist paradigm, I engaged in thirteen semi-structured interviews with EY practitioners who had all experienced at least one Ofsted inspection. The key theorist employed to help with navigating through this study, was Foucault (chiefly 1977), and my interpretation of his ideas about panopticism provided the analytical framework. Prominent findings indicated that participants often considered their practice to be similar, irrespective of the presence of an Ofsted inspector. While the panoptic mechanism might have offered an explanation for this, participants also held some shared pedagogical values and beliefs with government requirements for EY settings. This raised the question of whether panopticism could explain all that they told me about their practice. These practitioners generally accepted that some kind of monitoring of settings was necessary in order to ensure quality in EY. In addition, they shared suggestions on how improvements could be made in relation to quality assurance. Regarding inspection, their chief recommendation was for Ofsted to prioritise the training of inspectors. This study will be of interest to all individuals grappling with their own thoughts about Ofsted inspection, as well as the decision-makers involved in EY quality assurance policy-making in England.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Fuller, Marymfuller@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Nichol, Lynnlnichol@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Uncontrolled Keywords: Early years practitioners; Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) inspection; England
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1139.2 Early Childhood Education
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2024 15:21
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2024 15:23
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/13938

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