Vanessa offers her wisdom, guidance, support and encouragement to all of us who strive to provide outstanding experiences for the children we care for and educate in Early Years settings. This very practical and engaging book is grounded in Vanessa's extensive knowledge, practice and experience, gained through her career as manager inspector, trainer and consultant.
Vanessa has an eye for detail and has a vast amount of experience in this field. This book is an essential guide to help you show IMPACT in your setting and achieve outstanding results.
This book is a must-have for all settings! Written by a former OfSTED Inspector, the insider perspective in this practical guide is invaluable. Vanessa tells you all you need to know, to achieve excellent outcomes for every child.
had been looking for a ‘consultant’ to come in and evaluate the performance of
my staff and the environment of my setting. I felt that my staff were not
performing as well as they have done in the past. I wanted to find a way of
improving performance and practise overall and get the setting back on track to
aim for OUTSTANDING. But it needed to be from someone who had ‘authority’ and
for my staff to hear it from someone other than me.
I decided to sign up to the ‘#Just Quality ADDING IMPACT’ award. It appealed to me as it’s a journey for the whole setting to embark upon, to reflect on ‘quality’ and adding IMPACT – being a recognised accreditation was a Bonus.
However, before starting the accreditation, I felt it prudent to have an ‘unannounced’ Quality Improvement Inspection by Vanessa Dooley, Jigsaw Early Years Consultancy. Vanessa had been highly recommended to me by a fellow Day Nursery Owner who had also had a very effective QII from Vanessa and was also working towards the accreditation. Whilst there are other ‘consultants’ out there, I felt Vanessa’s Ofsted Inspector training, knowledge, background & experience would be beneficial.
On 3rd July 2019 – Vanessa conducted an announced QII. Her findings (as detailed in the QII Report which she provides after inspecting) were shocking and disappointing – however, this was the ‘wake up call’ that was very much needed!!! I was actually pleased that Vanessa’s was able to identify and highlight areas of underperformance and how our biggest resource ‘The Staff’ were missing opportunities to provide quality teaching and learning opportunities to the children. Vanessa has an in-depth knowledge of Tapestry (which we use) and was, therefore, able to identify that our current ‘tracking of children’s progress’ was ineffective. She conducted observations with my Manager who was shocked by some of the Staff’s missed opportunities and immediately realised things needed to change too.
We held a staff training meeting with Vanessa at the end of the day (after the QII) to discuss the QII Report and to use this as a starting point for our ‘#JQAD’ journey. We used the QII Report to put action plans in place to get back on track. The staff training/meeting was very positive and the team were buzzing with excitement to move forward together on improving quality and adding impact.
cannot begin to tell you how incredibly amazing Vanessa is ... She has truly
transformed my setting. My Manager and Deputy have redistributed their roles
and responsibilities to utilise their strengths and the Manager is now going
into each room daily to observe, model, guide and support staff. The Impact of
the QII has been huge and worth every penny and more!!!
If you are needing someone to be brutally honest,
highlight the positives, identify the weaknesses and get your team back on
track, then Vanessa is the person you need! My only regret is that I didn’t
know about Vanessa sooner!
I wanted to share our experience since we’ve signed up with the #justquality accredited award.
Following an OFSTED inspection that graded our setting as requires improvement, we recognised that we needed to show impact going forward. For us, it was all about how can we really show OFSTED what we know we already do well.
I started with a development plan for the recommendations we needed to cover. This is where #justquality has really helped. It’s encouraged us to look at the 6 impacts that basically cover amazing practice. We’ve started with the OFSTED report and then began to work through the specification.
The floor books are the best way of showing our journey. They allow us to be creative while gaining clarity around the changes we’ve made. It’s a whole team effort which has helped to pull everyone together. The staff have said that the floor books encourage us to revisit changes and evaluate if they’re still working for us.
Vanessa’s support during this time has been invaluable. Her passion is so inspiring, it has rubbed off on the staff they all want to impress her and show impact. The stickers in the floor books give us a clear idea of how each development plan meets the specification. This really has shown us that what we do is offer the children in our care the best experience, preparing them for a future of learning. It’s given the staff the confidence that when an OFSTED inspector comes into the setting, we have to be brave and show them we’re amazing.
Incidentally, we have now had our latest visit within the last two weeks. I can happily say that we excelled and have been graded outstanding in all areas. During the feedback, the inspector actually commented that she’d love her grandchildren to attend.
We now look forward to finishing the accreditation and wowing Vanessa in her last visit, showing just how far we’ve come.
Vanessa spent a full day at our nursery and I can honestly say it was the most interesting, beneficial experience we have ever had. Vanessa has to be one of the most knowledgeable and experienced professionals within the early year’s sector I have ever met. She simply oozes with passion and to quote Vanessa herself, she very definitely has ‘fire in her belly’ for everything early years.
We gained so much from Vanessa’s visit, she gave us lots of useful pointers and ideas to enable us to further improve some areas of our practice. Most importantly for us though, she boosted our confidence in the work that we have been doing surrounding loose parts and evolving our learning environments to continue to inspire our children’s natural curiosity.
Thank you so much, Vanessa, spending a day in your company was for all of us truly inspiring.
Jigsaw Early Years Consultancy helped me by doing a quality assurance inspection at my setting. Vanessa was very knowledgeable and gave us confidence in advance of our first full inspection which took place just 1 month after she visited!
I would recommend Jigsaw to anyone looking to improve their overall practice.
Vanessa is very professional, positive and shows her knowledge and expertise strongly.
Our setting had a Quality Improvement Inspection (sometimes called a ‘Mocksted’, but don’t tell Vanessa I said that) by her, and felt very confident in her feedback - she built us up, but pointed out what we needed to do clearly and positivity, leaving us feeling excited and enthusiastic about setting her ideas and recommendations into motion.
We have been really inspired and enthused and are ready to attack our action plan with gusto!
You are amazing!
Thank you very much, Vanessa, we thoroughly recommend you!
As a nursery owner, it can be an ongoing challenge to maintain staff motivation and many had commented that they had become overwhelmed by the increasing demands and ever-moving goalposts within the industry. We had a disappointing OFSTED inspection in 2018 and while I had full confidence in my management team, I felt that their passion and good practise didn’t filter right through to every member of staff.
We enlisted the help of Vanessa and signed up for the
‘Just Quality’ accreditation.
I can wholeheartedly say that it was the best business decision I had made to
date. I believe we already had some strong foundations to work from but taking
on Vanessa’s advice allowed us to gain clarity on what needed to change, fully
understand why it was necessary and how we could achieve it.
The floor books are a fantastic tool to demonstrate how our thought processes evolve and how we continually reflect on our practice. All delivered in a clear and digestible format that serves to inspire and motivate the staff. As a result, my entire team has united, striving toward a common goal. It really was a pleasure to see.
Happily, in our latest inspection, we achieved ‘Outstanding’ and the inspector praised the staff for their knowledge, confidence and tangible passion.
I have no doubt that Vanessa’s support has been paramount in this
Background to visit. After a very disappointing Ofsted visit, needed a thorough rethink. I was made Early Years Lead in February and began to analyse how the department could be improved. My own personal remit was to make it an ‘outstanding’ provider.
I had already started to implement changes but the enormity of what I had taken on was beginning to become apparent. Endless nights of trawling through Government requirements, joining chat groups for Early Years practitioners, visiting other providers…...I needed help, support and guidance.
Late one night I came across a competition for a QII and entered. Blow me down, a week later I received an email to explain that I had won! I never win anything. Thinking this could possibly be some kind of hoax, I phoned Vanessa at Jigsaw Consultancy. It wasn’t a hoax. She really wanted to help. Vanessa listened to the background of the setting and wanted as much information as possible before her visit.
On the day of the visit, Vanessa arrived and immediately I could see her quietly assessing every aspect of the department. She spoke to staff in what appeared to be a very informal manner, but she was consistently acquiring an overview of the areas that needed to be addressed. As we talked throughout the morning I made notes of her recommendations (5 pages!). However, at the end of our meeting, Vanessa bought up every single point I had noted and also made more suggestions.
I had been ‘Jigsawed’! I had a list the length of my arm. However, Vanessa followed up her visit with friendly emails to ensure that I was dealing with issues in a systematic and achievable way.
I have recently written a list of changes that have been implemented following her visit and I could now see that the department had changed and was moving forward in the right direction. There is still a lot more work to do, but Vanessa helped to shape these changes in a manageable way.
We are due a monitoring visit from Ofsted and also Vanessa is coming back to help some more!
P.S. Vanessa is now known as my Fairy Godmother