The Famly Interview
Sue Asquith

We talk Ofsted, self-evaluation, communication skills and much more.

Sue Asquith is one of the most respected early years consultants in the UK.

Having spent many years as a childminder, she moved on to work with Local Authorities, deliver DfE projects with PACEY and NDNA, and now gives training and consultancy throughout the UK.

In this wide-ranging interview at the Childcare Expo Manchester, we talk about the new Ofsted Inspection Framework and how to help your staff get ready. We also go over self-evaluation post-SEF, self-regulation, and how to teach children vital communication skills.

If you’re ready to watch the full interview, just click right here and you’ll be transported to the bottom of the page where you can find the full 21-minute video.

Otherwise, simply scroll on down for more bite-size videos, information, and our five key takeaways from the chat.

Sue has an upcoming book, all about self-regulation, and you can hear updates on that and everything else she’s doing by following her Twitter here.

Sue Asquith: The 5 key interview takeaways:
  • If you’re doing something just for Ofsted, stop doing it. The new framework is intended to empower your pedagogy, so unless you’re using it and it’s purposeful to you, it has no role.
  • Staff need to be prepared for more pedagogical conversations with Ofsted. Prepare them for the new Ofsted terminology by using the words Intent, Implementation, and Impact in your day to day interactions with them.
  • Just because Ofsted no longer require a SEF form, it doesn’t mean you can’t document your self-evaluation. Find what works for you when it comes to self-evaluation – just make sure the whole team are involved.
  • Don’t shy away from the big words with the children – they are capable of saying them, just look at the dinosaur names some of them know! Can we model bigger words to give children that broader vocabulary?
  • Pitch and volume are really important skills for children to learn, but it doesn’t always come naturally. Make sure that you’re modelling these in your storytelling and day-to-day interactions.
Ofsted Inspection Framework: The big changes

You’re probably already up to date with the changes in in the new Ofsted Inspection Framework, (if you’re not, check out our interview with Ofsted’s Gill Jones here). But it’s not always so easy to work out what they’ll really mean come inspection day.

In this clip, Sue explains how she thinks the new concept of Intent, Implementation and Impact will be inspected, and why Impact is the most important of the three. She also talks a little about cultural capital and why it really is time to stop hoarding useless paperwork ‘just for Ofsted’.

Preparing staff for the new Ofsted Early Years Inspection Framework

One of the most important thing to consider with any major policy change is how you communicate the new way of speaking to your staff.

Sue explains how to get staff used to having more in-depth pedagogical conversations, and how you give them an understanding of the new language of this Ofsted framework.

She talks about using these new words in your everyday conversations with staff so that they become second nature, and why you need to help staff learn that they can ask for a minute, stop and take the time to relax if their brains start to shut down on the big day.

How to do self-evaluation

In the first part of the full interview down below, Sue and I discuss the many different ways you can do self-evaluation in an early years setting.

She talks about why many leaders still find it useful to have a written plan even though there’s no need for the Ofsted SEF anymore – and that now you have the flexibility to call it and shape it however you want.

She also talks about the power of getting staff involved in the process, and asking them to reflect on specifics in the environment. That way, they’re on board with the changes you make and you can make progress with the whole team passionate and empowered by what you’re doing.

Communication-focused practice in the early years

Having been involved in the Every Child A Talker programme, communication in the early years is something that Sue is really passionate about.

She talks about some of the problems facing children, and why we’re seeing so much preventable speech delay in the early years. She also recommends that practitioners don’t shy away from opportunities to model more complex vocabulary, and the importance of being an active storyteller by involving the children in the telling.

The Importance of teaching children pitch and volume

In this final clip, Sue talks us through a really important but often forgotten aspect of speech development – pitch and volume.

We all know that experience of hearing a child say something inappropriate in public in a slightly too-loud voice, and it makes sense – children aren’t just born with an innate understanding of volume and pitch.

That’s why Sue says you need to make sure practitioners understand the importance of modelling pitch and volume in stories and in everyday interactions with children.

The full Sue Asquith Interview

Sit back and enjoy the full interview, including:

  • What Sue learnt from Thailand
  • Different cultures
  • Her new book
  • Behaviour and self-regulation
  • Ofsted
  • Self-evaluation
  • Giving staff confidence
  • Communication
  • Language
  • Pitch, tone and volume
  • Modelling good language skills

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