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.
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:
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.