I played a cruel trick on a dear friend recently. Some may say unkind but it really was unintentional and a joke that initially went too far!

Please don’t judge, a decision made on the spur of the moment as I called my friend to ask for some contact details, quickly spiralled out of control. As she picked up I said…

“Hello, this is Ofsted!”

Now I thought she would recognise my voice straight away but that one word….’OFSTED’ just put the fear of God into her and she went into overdrive! At this point too, I hadn’t even realised that I had called her at midday, another reason why every Manager expecting an inspection would be doing their very best to hide in the role play corner!

At this stage, it would have been a kind thing to do to tell her who I was, but it was, a little bit funny as my friend tried to barter and negotiate a visit on any another day or century other than the next day that is common practice with an Ofsted inspection…

“No, I really think we will be doing it tomorrow” I said.

Panic and fear rose in her voice as she said…


and at this point, I realised I had to stop this joke before my friend had a heart attack. Now what she really wanted to do was use every expletive known to man but children were around and she controlled her emotions enough and ever the professional, told me I was a little ray of sunshine in her life!! I don’t think she meant that at that moment in time but she did give me the information I had initially set out to get.

I did feel guilty enough to send her a message apologising, I really am a nice person and not prone to playing unpleasant and life-changing tricks on people, especially friends! Later that evening I got a phone call and I learnt new words, words that a kind, caring and professional Manager should not know but after the initial tirade of abuse I got a

“thank you.”

Definitely not what I was expecting.

The thank you was that I had made my friend realise that  she isn’t ready for an inspection; bartering with an Ofsted Inspector, albeit me, was something she would never have done if she had been prepared and although our priorities and day to day focus is on our children and families and meeting their individual needs, Ofsted is a big deal and we all want to know that when we get that call, we are ready, proud, enthusiastic and eager to show off the IMPACT we are making in our amazing settings.


If you get the call tomorrow, can you say with hand on heart you can prove and evidence your outstanding practice?

Can you tell the Inspector everything they need to know on that first phone call, giving them reassurance and encouragement that you are the Manager who knows what they’re doing?

Remember, it is those first impressions, the call is the first!

Check out what information you need to have ready, have a laminated list by the phone that prepares you for the following day, numbers of children in, any SEN and EAL children, staff and ratios etc.

To get yourself and your staff members well and truly ready for your Ofsted Inspection there are 2 invaluable tools which will give the information, step by step guidance and tracks to run on – so what tools am I referring to?

Are You Ready For Your Inspection?

#1 Best Selling Book written by our very own award-winning author Vanessa Dooley – You only need to read the reviews to know that this book is an invaluable tool for your setting – why not order multiple copies for your staff members.

Get your copies now from Amazon: Click Here

and the other tool you really should not be without is:



Purchase your settings access to this award winning programme and get immediate access TODAY: Click Here

Once purchased you will have access to the following:

  • Each staff member will have access to the programme.
  • Over 20 Videos linking to each judgement of the new framework.
  • Over 10 BONUS downloads which we have been using within our own Quality Improvement Inspections.
  • Evaluation workbook to each area of judgement for you to download, print and work through either by yourself or with your team.
  • Ideas and tools to help you show the impact you are making.

I will take this opportunity to apologise again to my friend but perhaps it was a blessing in disguise as sometimes that wakeup call makes us re-focus and prioritise our intentions.