Mock Inspection

Mock Inspection

Our early years mock inspections will help providers to improve the quality of their practice and prepare them for their Ofsted inspection. We will conduct our inspections in line with the education inspection framework, identifying key strengths and areas for improvement on the 4 key judgements Ofsted inspectors make at inspection. Our mock inspections will help to develop providers confidence and empower them and their team to take control of their inspection and showcase their practice.

Two early years advisors who are experienced in inspecting early years provision and/or have been early years inspectors will conduct the inspection. Throughout they will give support and advice about the process of an Ofsted inspection, how to conduct yourself at inspection and how judgements are made and evidence is collated. Advisors will support providers in drawing up an inspection preparation plan and help prepare for the meeting which providers have with the inspector. Advisors will arrive at the setting at 8.30am and feedback will take place 1-2pm.

Prior to the mock inspection:

Advisors will contact the manager/proprietor to discuss the process of the inspection and determine what their priorities are and if they have any particular needs. We will determine if there are any areas providers would particularly like us to focus on and give them the opportunity to send us any improvement plans or SEF’s to look at prior to the inspection taking place.

A copy of Quality 4 Early Years  ‘inspection preparation plan’ and ‘Managers meeting with Ofsted inspector plan’ will be sent to the provider prior to the mock inspection taking place. We will also look at the previous inspection reports, actions and recommendations. Both advisors will use the information to plan the inspection and make notes about the lines of enquiry during the inspection.

During the mock inspection advisors will:

  • • Complete a learning walk around the premises with the manager/provider
  • • Spend time in the rooms observing staff interaction, activities, children and care routines
    • Evaluate the quality of education, focussing on teaching and learning
    • Case track children to determine progress made from starting points
  • • Talk to staff, ask questions, give advice and encourage staff to be confident and to showcase practice
    • Evaluate procedures and staff’s knowledge of safeguarding and child protection
    • Hold a meeting with the management team to discuss performance management processes, self evaluation, the settings vision, curriculum intent and implementation, how they support staff continual professional development, basically everything an Ofsted inspector would evaluate and more!
    • Evaluate the learning environment and share photographs with staff of learning environments rated ‘Outstanding’
    • Speak to parents to gain their views about the setting
    • Undertake joint observations
    • Gather evidence under the 4 key judgements in the common inspection framework:

1. Quality of Education
2. Behaviour and Attitudes
3. Personal Development
4. Leadership and Management and Overall Effectiveness

  • •  Look at documentation
    •  Look at policies and procedures


Advisors will always share their findings throughout the mock inspection so there should be no surprises at feedback. We usually allocate an hour for verbal feedback, where we will share our findings, discussing key strengths and the key recommendations for improvements. We are fortunate that we get to visit lots of early years settings so we will always give advice and share our ‘good practice’ ideas!

Following the inspection we will send an impact based action plan detailing the agreed key recommendations for improvement and a list of other points observed during the inspection which will help improve the quality of the settings practice.

We give you a CD Rom with useful up to date Ofsted documentation and Quality 4 Early Years materials which will support you in preparing for inspection and developing your practice. These include, for example, a safeguarding audit, an inspection plan for managers and staff, reflective questions, peer observation format and more....

Also, we give you a CD Rom with photographs of environments in settings rated ‘outstanding’ at Ofsted inspection.

Following our mock inspection providers will have a clear vision of what they need to do to improve.

What settings have said about our mock inspections….

‘Honest and straight forward inspectors whose conduct was very good and put us all at ease.’

‘Absolutely brilliant, the whole team found it useful’.

‘As a result of the mock inspection we have a much clearer vision’.

‘The best thing about the mock inspection is how it helped us feel more confident and prepared us for the real inspection. We got a good grading because of the mock inspection as we had met all the recommendations and the Ofsted inspector commented how she could see the progress we had made’.

‘The mock inspection motivated the staff to make improvements, Deborah and Denise gave advice and support to the staff throughout the day.’

‘The mock inspection helped us to reflect, clarified where we are going and gave us direction. It taught us to measure the impact of our practice and know why we do things’.

‘Both Deborah and Denise are very professional with a lovely, friendly and approachable manner'

'Deborah and Denise were both very professional and extremely knowledgeable and helpful, both on the day with with follow up information. I used the day as one big training experience for the staff team in each nursery to identify, where and how we can improve our practice and future training needs. Definitely, money well spent.'


To book a mock inspection or to find out more information please email your request to Deborah Sutton at or ring on 07966 366342

Cost: £595 per inspection