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This is the first of a series of articles on Self Evaluation. They have been written to offer support and guidance to Childminders.


Why complete a SEF?

There are several reasons why every childminder should complete a SEF.

  • How many times have we moaned that the Ofsted inspector didn’t get a chance to see all that we do? Well SEF provides you with the opportunity to tell Ofsted about everything you do...a real chance to tell them how great you are! It is so easy to forget things when under pressure during an inspection, SEF gives you time to record it all.
  • Completing a SEF is a great way to review your practice. It really focuses in on the five Every Child Matter Outcomes and EYFS. It provides a good framework for you to look at the service you provide, evaluate it and then make plans for improvements.
  • Completing a SEF will allow the Inspector to get a good ‘feel’ of your practice before they visit you. Hopefully this will make Inspections more focused and less pressurised for the Childminder.


Available downloads

Early years self-evaluation form.doc 508.50 kB

Early years self-evaluation form.pdf 109.28 kB

Early years self-evaluation form - guidance.doc 523.50 kB

Early years self-evaluation form - guidance.pdf 105.40 kB


How to complete a SEF

DONT try and do it all in one day! It is a big piece of work.

We recommend that you put time aside each month to do one section at a time. This will enable you to break the SEF down into ‘bite-sized’ chunks and thereby make it more achievable. And remember that it isn’t just a one off project, it needs to reviewed and added to as your service changes and develops to meet the needs of the children in your care.


Put the five Every Child Matters headings on pieces of paper:

  • Staying Safe
  • Being Healthy
  • Enjoy and Achieve
  • Making a positive contribution
  • Achieve Economic Well Being

Whenever you think of something that you do that relates to one or more of the 5, note it down. This may be part of the service you offer, or it may be something that you have taught the children to do. For example if you do a healthy eating session with the children, or you visited the local fire station. These notes can then be used as a basis when you come to that point in completing the SEF.

Take lots of photos-these can’t be included in the SEF, but they provide great visual back up when the Inspector is looking for evidence of what you have written.

Ask other people what they think of your service (there is a section on how others view your practice)

Ask parents to complete a questionnaire (Download our sample ones)

Think about how you will find out from the children what they think of your service, asking them, using photography as a tool, drawing pictures, interviewing them with a Dictaphone or a video camera.

Talk to other childminders about their practice, it will give you an idea of how your service compares to others and may also give you some best practice ideas that you can implement.

Obtain a copy of the Ofsted publication Are you ready for your inspection? and The Early Years Foundation Stage Pack (if you haven’t already got one)

And DON’T panic.


In our next article we will be looking at:

Setting details and views of those who use the setting...

Self Evaluation