Friday, 22 May 2015

BAND visit the Play Bus Sensory Truck

As part of our on-going commitment to inclusion, BAND has run a pilot session with the PlayBus Sensory Truck to see if improving disabled children’s access to a sensory environment supports their fun, behaviour, enjoyment, relaxation and inclusion and supports staff knowledge in terms of new ideas for activities and creating sensory areas.

What is the Sensory Truck?

The Sensory Truck is a mobile sensory play space with a ball pit, UV area, air bubble tube, and many other sensory resources.
‘Designed specifically for disabled children with additional needs, social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

This unique multi-sensory mobile space gives children the opportunity to control their environment, making choices that allow them to choose the colours, sounds and tactile experiences they want.

A hands-on and exploratory approach to a sensory space allows children to choose the experiences that meet their needs and to discover the sensory inputs that work best for them.’ – PlayBus Sensory Truck Review.

Ashley Down After School club was identified as a setting who are supporting disabled children who would particularly benefit from experiencing a sensory environment. And so, over the Easter holidays, the children at Ashley Down received a funded visit from the PlayBus Sensory Truck.

The plan was that all children at the setting would have a minimum of about 15 minutes on the truck (dependent on numbers).  Disabled children or children who would particularly benefit from access to the truck would be able to stay on by themselves for a while or for a bit longer dependent on the needs of the setting and children.

The Sensory Truck would be staffed by 2 playworkers: Tom who is the Inclusion Lead and Sam who is a Sensory Playworker. Both have worked with a variety of statutory and non-statutory settings supporting inclusion and sensory experiences for children and would share their knowledge with staff with a view to providing new ideas.
A day was identified that most disabled children were able to attend and other families were made aware of the date so that they could bring their children along if they chose. Ashley Down decided to run sensory activities on the day as well, and borrowed the BAND Dark Den for the same time.

On the day.
Feedback from the play setting

‘The setup of the truck works very well, helping children  to explore the different feelings and perceptions by themselves, therefore they can find where their favourite play props are, choosing what they like. We had a really positive experience!
Feedback from the kids: 

‘Really, really good.’

‘I liked the ball pit and the light cube, it would change colours’.

‘Playing in the ball pit was the best bit. I did a backwards flip’.

‘My favourite bit was the ball pit!’

‘The ball pit was exciting to go under the balls and hide’. 

Support worker feedback

The child I was supporting ‘played a lot with the squeeze toys and flexible springs hanging from the ceilings. He explored the truck and discovered by himself where his favourite kind of sensory toys were. The activities he enjoyed the most have been music and lights; playing with disco lights in different parts of the truck and exploring the rooms.’

The child I support ‘loves the music and lights. He had an amazing time, listening to music (choosing the music by himself on the tablet) and flashing lights’.
Feedback from PlayBus
‘The mix of disabled and non-disabled children went very well. We were pleased to see a boy from our Let’s All Play sessions whose face was a picture when he realised that myself and Sam had miraculously popped up in another part of his life; I have never seen him so happy. We were impressed by the leadership and staff (at Ashley Down Club) who were attentive to the children's needs and they understood the role of the truck.'

Feedback from BAND DS Worker
Haidi, one of the DS Team, went along and gave this feedback:
‘I’d been told the Sensory Truck was an amazing space, but my expectations were surpassed. The truck gave the children the opportunity to experience a range of multi-sensory equipment and resources. The Playbus playworkers also had a great way of combining playwork with sensory play to meet the individual children’s needs. The atmosphere within the truck was very calm and relaxing despite there being loads for the children to do. It was a great opportunity for staff at the holiday club to build on their knowledge.’

What’s next?

The feedback we have received supports the Sensory Truck being positive for inclusion as all children were able to actively enjoy the space and play staff were able to see what resources were on the truck and how they were used. Based on the success of the visit, BAND is looking into whether we can fund other settings that are supporting disabled children to receive a visit, and whether we can offer other training about creating and using your own sensory environment. Watch this space!

PlayBus are currently looking at ways for the Sensory Truck to help bridge the gap between school and community groups for disabled children and their peers. If you are a community group looking to do this too, or if you would like to book a visit from the sensory truck yourselves, then contact Playbus on Email: or Tel: 0117 9551561. If you would like to know more about the truck’s first year in action, you can read the Playbus Sensory Truck Review here:

And a big thankyou to the children and team at Ashley Down Out of School Club for their support for the pilot and feedback, to PlayBus Sensory Truck team for making it work so well, to the Inclusive Play Project for their support for the pilot and to Bristol City Council who have provided the funding through BAND for this trial.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Disqualification - Dazed and Confused?

You may be aware that there has been growing discussion, debate, contradiction and general kerfuffle over what exactly are the rules regarding disqualification of a worker due to ‘Association’. This means where a worker is disqualified due to someone working or living in their household having been disqualified.

While the story seems to be grabbing increasing national coverage, the Department for Education insist that nothing has changed to regulations on Disqualification which have been in place for many years, it is revised government guidance issued in October 2014 which has highlighted the issue and has led to the current situation.

The Guardian reported that hundreds of school staff have been suspended and that Ofsted is struggling to deal with the number of applications for waivers, it’s possible that a similar as yet unreported situation is developing for play and childcare staff.

There are concerns about asking staff and management committees (yes it applies to them too!) to disclose the disqualification status of themselves, but more particularly, that of the people in their households. Whilst this needs to be asked, the way it is asked, and how staff feel they are valued and supported through this, can make the difference between it feeling accusatory or a way of them further contributing to the safeguarding of children in their care.
BAND issued guidance before Christmas which aims to clarify the situation as far as possible at present, signposts to further guidance from DfE and Ofsted and suggests how play/childcare employers can ensure compliance with the legislation. This can be viewed on our website:

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Update on Ofsted Big Conversation

Last night saw the South West Big Conversation meeting enabling Early Years Providers and support workers and representatives from Ofsted to enter in to a dialogue.
The Ofsted panel of 4 included Bradley Simmons, the South West Regional Lead for Ofsted, they were given a set of pre prepared questions from South West providers about issues that have affected them in regard to their Ofsted registrations and inspections.
One of the first questions was about whether providers should see themselves as educators or carers in EY provisions, Ofsted responded with advice that their ‘teaching’ expectations are laid out in the new evaluation schedule on the Ofsted website (, but that the 2 roles are intrinsically linked, and childcarers are educating through everything they do. Inspectors will look at the quality of learning through play that happens in a setting as well as the more formal ideas of learning when making their assessments and judgements. A question was raised about balancing parental expectation with good practice – the example given was a child attending with English as a second language, the parents were keen for her to be communicated with solely in English, but the setting were keen to engage with the family and learn about their culture and use language and words that are recognisable to the child to help her feel more settled and less isolated when attending – the response reiterated the EY professional’s role was to explain the EYFS and their responsibilities within that, helping the parents to understand the benefits to their child.
Another questions raised the issue of inspectors having an agenda when entering a setting for an inspection. The response advised that the phrase agenda is subjective, but that they expect every inspection to be treated as a ‘unique event’ by the inspectors, and that they enter with no preconceived ideas regarding outcomes. However, that being said, inspectors do carry out pre inspection work where they look at the history of the setting, former actions, their SEF, why the inspection is happening i.e. is it complaints driven etc and this will inform the inspection itself. This led to a discussion about why inspectors seemed to need ‘permission’ to give an Outstanding judgement? Bradley Simmons explained that Ofsted and Tribal have moved to a more robust, evidence based judgement and inspectors have to discuss their chosen outcome to ensure it is fully justified, this is at both ends of the judgement spectrum and will hopefully lead to less adjustment when outcomes go through QA processes.
In Bristol recently, a maintained sector setting was advised by an inspector they would not receive outstanding as they were not from the PVI sector, following the discussion regarding agendas this was raised directly and the advice was to follow it up with a complaint to Ofsted, as statements like this should not be made by inspectors. Another provision asked what settings can do if they are severely concerned about an inspectors conduct at an inspection visit and the advice was to call the Ofsted helpline and ask to speak to the duty inspector there and then, this has happened previously and has led to the issue being resolved on the day and negated the need to raise a formal complaint, saving both time and money for all involved.
There is a lot of work happening at the moment between Ofsted and Tribal to ensure QA is happening more regularly and therefore consistency in inspections is improving. Ofsted are taking school inspections back in house this year, this is due to the Tribal contract finishing. Tribal’s EY contract is not due to finish for another 19 months and there is potential for Ofsted to bring this back in house at this time, but it would need to be assessed.
There will be a couple of consultations happening in the near future from Ofsted and the DfE, the first will be about the regularity of inspections and whether there could be interim visits that are lighter touch, the second is looking at how paid for inspections could work in practice. There seem to be reservations on both sides regarding paid for inspections and it was confirmed Ofsted would charge the full cost of the inspection to the provider.
The changes to the DBS system were also discussed, from September 14 it is an expectation that all applicants for new registrations, on completing their DBS checks, will need to sign up to the update service, if this does not happen, then the registration will not progress. Concern was raised on the impact this will have on Childminders particularly as everyone living or working on their premises will need to sign up to the update service as well. When asked if providers holding existing DBS checks need to sign up to the update service if they are rechecked in line with good practice timescales, this was met with a degree of uncertainty, but the promise of a follow up response.
Modern Britain was also raised, it was confirmed that the DfE are looking at how this will work with regard to the new curriculum and the EYFS and will be taking a view on whether changes need to be made to the document to further embed the changes into early education.
The Ofsted panel agreed that they would still take queries and questions from the Co-chairs of the SW regional group of the Ofsted Big Conversation, and would follow up on those that they couldn’t answer through them as well. There will also be a full transcript of the meeting published, so watch this space for more info.
If you want more info on how the discussions are going nationwide, or to read about why the Ofsted Big Conversation was set up go to or you can follow the ‘hashtag’ #ofstedbigconversation Future meetings will also be advertised through this so you can have an opportunity to get involved and have your own ‘Big Conversation’ with Ofsted!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Celebrate Brazil 2014

Celebrate Brazil 2014

As Brazil hosts the World Cup from the 12th June, we have pulled together some Brazilian themed activities and ideas that you could try out in your setting, alongside their top sport of football!

Brazil Fun Facts
  • Brazil received its name from the tree brazilwood, which is abundant in the country.
  • Brazil was under the rule of Portugal from 1500 to 1822, which is why Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, not Spanish.
  • Brazil is home to approximately 2500 airports; it is the third largest airplane manufacture in the world!
  • The Amazon River runs through the majority of the country.
  • Every time a child loses a tooth the mother throws the tooth outside for birds, and says a little rhyme. Birds will only take clean teeth, and then the child receives a prize. If the tooth is not taken, then it means it is too dirty, which gets the child to brush their teeth more often.
Brazilian Foods
Brigadeiro: These are sweet chocolate truffles that were created by the wife of Brigadeiro (Brigadier) Eduardo Gomes, who was a Presidential candidate in Brazil in the 1940s. His wife would cook the sweets and serve them during their fundraising events. The guests loved the treat and soon enough people started asking: "Have you tried the Brigadeiro's candy? Where is the Bridagier's candy?" And that is where the name Brigadeiro comes from.
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, 2 tbsp. heavy cream, 2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk, 3 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped,1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder,1 cup chocolate sprinkles
What to do:
  1. Bring butter, cream, and milk to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add chocolate and cocoa powder, and reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is the consistency of dense, fudgy batter, about 16 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; let cool. Chill until set.
  2. Using a tablespoon, portion out fudge and roll into balls. Roll each ball in chocolate sprinkles until evenly coated. Chill until ready to serve.
Thanks to: They have a great video of making brigadeiros that you can follow.
 Obrigado/Obrigada - Thank you.  A bit of politeness goes a long way!  If you’re male you say ‘obrigado’ whereas females say ‘obrigada’.
Fique tranquilo - If something doesn’t work out someone will probably say ‘fique tranquilo’ which means don’t worry!  If the bus takes off just as you arrive to the bus stop, don't worry. Fique tranquilo, there'll be another one in ten minutes!
 É mesmo? - A reaction to an interesting new fact, it’s like saying ‘really’.
 Gringo/gringa - What the Brazilians call foreigners, gringo for a male, gringa for a female. This isn't an insult!
Games to play
Queimada, the Portuguese word for "burned," is a popular game similar to dodgeball. To play, form two even teams and divide the players on each half of the field. At each end of the field mark an area called the "cemetery" and place one player from each side inside their team's cemetery. The game begins when one of the players in the cemetery launches a ball to the other side of the field. Members of the opposing team try to catch the ball and throw it at a player on the side from which the ball was launched. If a ball strikes a player, he is "dead" and must spend the remainder of the game in the cemetery. The game finishes when all of the players on one side are "dead."
 Luta de Galo
Luta de galo is Portuguese for "fight of the roosters". Any number of children can play. Split the children into pairs. Unlike other games, partners are not teammates, but opponents. Have each child tuck a handkerchief or piece of cloth into their belt or waistband, cross their right arm across their chest, and hold up their left leg. Players must hop around one-legged and use their free arm to snatch their opponent's handkerchief. Disqualification occurs if a child puts their left leg on the ground or unfolds their right arm.
Cinco Marias
Cinco Marias can be played with two to four children. All you need are five flat, smooth stones. Throw all five stones on the floor. Pick up a stone, then toss it in the air, pick up another stone, and catch the tossed stone before it lands. Repeat this process until you have all the stones. In the next round, you must grab two stones at a time, and then three, and then all four, so the difficulty increases as the game goes on.
Hit The Coin. This is another popular game among Brazilian children that requires steady aim and concentration. To play, fix a short bamboo stick or dowel (12 to 18 inches in length) into the ground so it doesn't move. Draw a small circle about 5 inches in diameter around the stick and place a small object (coin, bottle cap, toy soldier, etc.) on top of the stick. Players then take turns trying to knock the small object off of the stick by throwing coins at it. To win the player must knock the small object completely out of the circle.
Crafts and activities
In the Amazon jungles of Brazil, native people called Yanomami use bird feathers to make headdresses and armbands. Make your own headdress and armband using supplies from a craft store. Buy a bag of colourful feathers, or cut feather-shaped pieces out of coloured construction paper. Draw lines on the paper to resemble the markings of a feather. Cut a 1-inch strip of cardboard to fit around your upper arm or your head. Glue or staple the feathers to the strip and staple the band closed.
The pandeiro is a Brazilian tambourine. Make your own with two small, white paper plates. Paint the bottoms of the plates in bright colours and designs. Decorate with stickers, jewels and foam shapes. Face the insides of the plates together and punch six to eight holes through the two thicknesses equidistant around the edge. String small jingle bells on pipe cleaners and tie the plates closed by putting the pipe cleaners through the holes. You are ready to shake the pandeiro.
The word "maraca" is a Brazilian word meaning "percussion instrument." Make your own maracas from two clean, recycled yoghurt cups. Paint the cups, the lids and two ice cream sticks in bright colours and let them dry. Fill the cups half-full with uncooked rice, popcorn kernels or beans. Glue the lids to the cups with a glue gun. Make a slit in the lids and glue the sticks inside the lids. When the glue is dry, the maracas are ready for shaking and music making.
Further information:
There are some great printable resources at These include a good map and kids leaflets on different aspects of brazil.            

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

First Response launches its city-wide service from 16th December 2013

From 16th December 2013 First Response will be the place to call in Bristol if you are concerned about a child or young person or think they need support.

When you call, the team will ask you questions to work out the best route for helping the child or family. This may result on a referral to Early Help or directly to a Social Work Team

It has been piloted in North Bristol since March 2013.

First Response: 0117 903 6444

So change that telephone number on your child protection policy.
This poster shows more information (PDF versions available from BAND, contact your DS Worker for more info):

Monday, 16 September 2013

The Ofsted Big Conversation

The Ofsted Big Conversation

On the evening of Friday 13th September, despite the awful weather, we were fortunate enough to be able attend one of the National Ofsted Big Conversations that had been encouraged to take place by June O’Sullivan from London’s Early Years Foundation.

In May 2013, June O’Sullivan started the conversation on Nursery World’s Linkedin page, due to her concerns about the new Ofsted approach to regulation and their aggressive tone. In response to this nearly 400 comments were received with practitioners contributing a whole host of stories and concerns about Ofsted. So it was decided to take action and try to engage Ofsted, get them on board, share the sector’s concerns and consider solutions.

The ‘conversations’ have been supported by Early Years practitioners, organisations, trainers and consultants. They were hoped to be a collaboration of those passionate about EY and an invitation to share experiences, support one another and vitally – engage Ofsted! A gathering place for all those interested in the fairness and quality of Ofsted inspections.

Over the weekend of the 13th and 14th September Ofsted Big Conversations took place across the country, an agenda was set for us all to follow with a number of questions to focus our discussions and hopefully find some ways forward and suggestion sector led solutions for the issues that seem to be of concern for the sector.

The evening in Weston Super Mare was very passionate, and it was highly apparent that childcare was not just a job for any of those present, with comments regularly coming back to the impact on the children and families, as well as other staff and management in settings. The Ofsted Big Conversation gave a welcome platform for expression of concern, but also some very positive ideas and suggested guidelines for improvement

We were part of a group of 20 practitioners from across 3 counties, the meeting took place in ‘The Campus’ ( a community facility and children’s centre in Weston Super Mare. Childminding was well represented; there were a number of group providers as well as us from a development and support agency and even an Ofsted trainer, so we were lucky to have a breadth of knowledge and experience.

Although we knew we needed to try and answer the questions and suggest how we would like to see the inspection process change and improved, inevitably is was hard to stay focussed when listening to the vast experiences (unfortunately mainly negative) that practitioners had had with Ofsted over the last few years. It was great that people had a space to vent their frustrations as this led to discussion about how to affect change in the sector.

Prior to the meeting we looked at 10 questions, then collated these into 7 responses suggesting actions that could be taken;

1          Ofsted dual roles of regulation and improvement – Can we all agree what this should look like?

Two words during this discussion kept reoccurring - consistency and transparency. There were definite concerns about how Ofsted can regulate their own advice? And at present, providers feel they are well supported through their LAs and support agencies, who understand local and individual issues and can advise accordingly – will this more personal support that recognises our individuality in the sector be lost? Will this then have an impact on parental choice and diversity in Early Years? There was already a feeling that inspections outcomes can be influenced by inspector’s individual opinions, if the advice from one area of Ofsted is not agreed with by the inspector how will this affect the outcome?

We want to see: clearly defined roles; separate teams; differentiated training; external and independent QA of each role (with sector representation); each role to be a positive one supporting morale within the profession;, the knowledge and skills of existing LA staff is not lost; clarity of information around the level of support re quality improvement settings can expect.

2          Ofsted rationale for complaint initiated inspections which go back over 10 years – Can we agree what this should look like in the future?

We did discover that the inspectors that visit settings on the back of complaints are from a different department from those who carry out ‘normal’ inspections. Again, information and transparency about this would be useful to providers, as there were concerns that one department’s knowledge of the sector might be wider than the other. A guarantee that all inspectors come from an EY background and have an understanding of all areas of the sector including childminding and specialist nurseries such as Steiner and Montessori.  

Also, we want assurances that any inspection that is triggered for whatever the reason can result in any outcome. There is fear that an inspection triggered by a complaint can only result in a ‘satisfactory’ outcome – we want to know this is not the case and that settings can retain their grades if their practice at the inspection reflects this.

We want to see: greater transparency regarding how the decision to re inspect has been made when it is due to a previous complaint that has already been investigated and a full inspection taken place, reasons for inspections clearly presented to the provider; exact reasons for a reduction in grade; separate investigations of complaints to better support quality improvement; complaint driven inspections not being grade determined by no children present.

3          Ofsted Quality Assurance Process - Can we agree what this should look like in the future?

There was definite confusion regarding which organisation carries out the QA process on inspection reports and outcomes. Feedback suggested that providers who have followed up a change in Judgement or even the publishing of an inspection report that has taken longer than the Ofsted targets on timescales, have been told conflicting information on where their reports have been held up and who has been responsible for the QA process that has affected their outcome given in feedback at the end of an inspection visit.

We want to see: greater transparency – who is QA’ing, what is the QA process, how may are QA’d; figures relating to outcomes of QA to feed in to inspector training (see also Q4); specific reason for grade change from informal feedback to post QA; clarity if any QA process has upgraded an outcome?

4          Ofsted inspector training and support - Can we agree what this should look like in the future?

The question here really focussed on how 2 organisations (Tribal and Prospects) that act on behalf of a third (Ofsted) can retain the consistency needed across the board to ensure everyone feels they are treated in the same way at inspections, and have equality of opportunity to reach the higher outcomes.

We want to see: inspectors with specific breadth of knowledge inspecting settings e.g. Childminders, specialist nurseries and pre-schools; QA on the consistency of training; all inspectors trained by the same organisation.

5          Inspector decision making and feedback - Can we agree what this should look like in the future?

Whilst we all acknowledged, informal feedback and outcomes are not official, it is difficult to understand how an outcome can drop so significantly when the report goes through QA.(sometimes 2 grades).  Is it better that inspectors give no outcome judgement at the end of a visit, but agree the outcome will be shared formally, within agreed timescales and Ofsted stick to these timescales rigorously?

We want to see: greater transparency about the decisions re grading – why not higher, why not lower; inspectors not having to ask permission to give outstanding (this infers there are quotas and create unease within the sector); feedback to be a 2 way process.

6          Significant indicators – What constitutes a managerial judgement?

This was the point that we all realised the importance of reading the Ofsted guidance and keeping up to date with any changes – the clarification in the guidance from Ofsted re significant events is comprehensive in places, but it was felt that this could be even more explicit.

We want to see: Greater clarity around the term significant; terms such as other, significant, is likely, regular etc all to be quantified (see ‘Records, policies and notification requirements of the Early Years Register’ Ref 120412).

7          New inspection regime in November – What will this entail and how much information will we expect in the light of heavier emphasis on keeping children safe and teaching and learning?

There were concerns about the amount of publicity and information that would be given to the public about another change to the regulations, and parents not understanding that this could lead to a ‘blip’ in outcomes as we have to change our practice again. Also, a clear explanation of the change from ‘satisfactory’ to ‘need for improvement’ as a judgement. Where will the emphasis on play come from?

We want to see: Clear information to parents that inspections are taking place under a different criteria of grading – possibility of stating this at the top of the published reports; there is greater differentiation within ‘requires improvement’ for minor and major improvements; consideration given to the suggestion that outcomes should all be ‘meets requirements’ or ‘does not meet requirements’ a simple pass or fail.

Reflection and feedback on the evening from those present included "more opportunities like this with current structured questions please", and a plea of "additional opportunities to meet and discuss freely current childcare related issues across county and across sector in future". Others commented on how good it was to know that others shared their feelings and thoughts, and also how productive and positive it was to work together to suggest solutions and improvements to current systems. Overall everyone agreed that more transparency and clarity was required from Ofsted to enable improvements and trust.

Changes are coming to the sector again and Ofsted are currently consulting on what these will finally look like  -

From 4 November 2013;

For all early years providers:

  • the satisfactory judgement will be replaced by ‘requires improvement’
  • ‘inadequate’ settings are likely to be re-inspected after 6 months
  • if an ‘inadequate’ setting fails to improve sufficiently and is found ‘inadequate’ again after re-inspection; Ofsted may take steps to cancel that setting’s registration.

For pre-schools and nurseries:

  • there will be re-inspection within a year for those which ‘require improvement’ with the expectation that the setting will get to ‘good’ within two years
  • those that fail to improve after two years are likely to be judged ‘inadequate’.

Over the coming weeks the information from all the conversations will be collated and shared via the Ofsted Big Conversation website – so check this out to see what other areas were discussing and the solutions they suggested.

The social media approach has meant that the opportunity to connect with people has been really valuable.  We have had a great connection with one another and the vibe is lively and positive. People in the sector are genuinely supportive of each other and believe that good pre-school care and education is beneficial for all children but especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.  We want to get it right and recognise the need for a regulator which can be trusted to support this desire in a way that is fair, accountable and effective.

And if you are a tweeter you can follow the conversations through the ‘hashtag’ #ofstedbigconversation

BAND will continue to tweet, retweet, blog and post on facebook as new info and updates become available so you can keep up to date through any of our social media platforms as well. To find these go to our website and click on any of the social media buttons.

Let’s hope that through the consultation and the big conversations we have a collective voice that is listened to and acted on to ensure that Ofsted and the sector can work more cohesively and continue to improve outcomes for children.
Collated and written by Jenny Winfield and Ellie Frake and includes excerpts from the Ofsted Big Conversation website.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Members Questionnaire 2012/13



“I think the support offered from BAND is a great service, it gives peace of mind knowing you can speak to someone who knows your setting and has knowledge of Ofsted etc"

1.   If you received support from BAND to start up or expand your childcare setting how would you rate the service?
Excellent: 24 (63%) Very Good: 14 (37%) Good: 0 (0%) Okay: 0 (0%) Poor: 0 (0%)  
·   A very helpful to have to use to guide you through all the requirements and to stop you getting bog down with it all
·  Not used this year but had support last year
·       We feel 100% supported by BAND
·       We had help from BAND with applying for Children In Need Grants. Very helpful!
·       Excellent support throughout our expansion process, advising, measuring the available space as well as providing follow up support when Ofsted made mistakes following the expansion
·       ***** is very helpful
·       We had support to start up breakfast club before my time but I hear that all went very well
·       ****** has been really helpful with our latest expansion and has supported staff and trustees with all areas of the process
·       Excellent help with on-going expansion etc.
·       Help from ****** to apply and win sustainability grant
·       ****** helped us out with answers to our questions and took time to come in and have a meeting with the setting.
2.   If you received advice / assistance from BAND's development and support team, how would you rate this service?
Excellent: 41 (63%) Very Good: 23 (35%) Good: 1 (2%) Okay: 0 (0%) Poor: 0 (0%)  
·       Everyone is always very helpful and accommodating
·       Always receive a prompt service and very good helpful advice from the team on all aspects
·       Not used this year but had support last year
·       She always spots our needs as an organization. We wouldn't be able to feel as comfortable as we do in our performance without her support. It helps a lot
·       ****** is great and very knowledgeable
·       On several occasions we have called the BAND team and they were very helpful and quick to respond
·       I really value having a support worker that I can turn to with any sort of query. They are always very encouraging and helpful
·       Always at the end of a phone or email. Support given in and out of the setting and to the Management Committee too
·       Always at hand for advice
·       Excellent, advice and support over the last 4 years, received from *****
·       I get emails keeping me up to date with regulation changes and items of interest
·       ***** is always very helpful when we call for advice regarding a range of issues relevant to our centre. Thank you *****
·       I am constantly amazed at the support which is available and how reassuring to know we have all our legal requirements for paperwork totally covered now we have the BAND examples amended for our setting. I definitely would not have taken on this job without knowing our development worker would be with me all the way
·       First class response. supports us in lots of practical ways as well as theoretically
·       Help with policies
·       Always responsive and quick and have a wealth of knowledge
·       A visit to our new preschool and lots of follow up emails offering support. It’s reassuring to know there is always helps and support available when we need it
·       Would be lost without *****!
·       ***** and ***** are fatabuloso! Couldn’t survive without ***** calm generous and knowledgeable time. Thank you so much!
·       Always a prompt and helpful response to any queries or requests for help / support
·       Always happy to help and support / visit
·       Have only used DBS service which was excellent
·       Brilliant communication and help with reviewing policies.
3.   If staff / managers attended BAND training courses, how did they rate this training?
Excellent: 28 (44%) Very Good: 29 (45%) Good: 6 (9%) Okay: 1 (2%) Poor: 0 (0%)    
·       Staff who have attended have found courses easy to understand and follow also know they have a reliable back up with the team
·       Every staff member of the club has undertaken mainly all the courses that BAND have released. All these knowledge make us to have a better performance every day
·       Our staff have enjoyed the training they have received at BAND and feel that it has really helped them during their work
·       BAND training is always relevant and staff are very professional. Training sessions are very welcoming and this facilitates good participation from attendees
·       Always up-to-date, valid and valuable information as well as opportunities to network
·       Great, but could do with more of the essential training e.g. First aid training
·       Smaller organisations like ours wouldn't exist if we had to access training from other providers who are much more expensive. Our management committee are made up of volunteers and many have children. BAND subsidise the cost of this as without this financial support many of our volunteers wouldn't be able to access the training programme
·       Some courses are oversubscribed e.g. Paediatric 1st Aid
·       Training is always relevant and practical making it very useful
·       Safeguarding CP training was excellent
·       Always enjoy training is the comment made by my staff team
·       Sometimes courses are not at the most convenient times – I know this must be difficult for you though
·       I would love to see BAND putting on an Administration of Medicines course
·       Last attended marketing and publicity, regularly attend CPD, very useful.
4.   In your opinion is BAND News
Excellent: 22 (29%) Very Good: 46 (60%) Good: 8 (10%) Okay: 1 (1%) Poor: 0 (0%)  
·       The information is useful and relevant at the time of printing
·       Glad you are going to email - was a waste of paper and stamps
·       It's nice to read the tips and articles in and use the ideas in it
·       We take a lot of ideas
·       I probably find this my most useful resource for keeping up to date with changes and management issues
·       Informative and fun. A celebration of PVI settings
·       Lots of info - if we didn’t have this we would feel extremely isolated
·       Interesting to hear about the news of others
·       Sensible decision to distribute BAND News electronically in the future as printing / postage costs must be substantial
·       It is invaluable as it flags up new developments which may otherwise be missed
·       Very helpful
·       Really useful for keeping up to date and funding info
·       Very pleased to see you are moving to e-news!
·       Sad to see it move to online. I am old fashioned and prefer magazine format!
·       Keep up to date
·       Excellent to keep up to date with legislation especially.
5.   If your setting received funding and / or fundraising support from BAND, do you feel this was
Excellent: 12 (63%) Very Good: 6 (32%) Good: 1 (5%) Okay: 0 (0%) Poor: 0 (0%)   
·       Kept us informed and guided us through all the process
·       Not used this year but had used last year
·       Funding which we have received over the years has been well received for the group; staff, children and parents all benefiting!
·       ***** always helps us find sources of funding
·       It has been offered, but we didn’t use them
·       ***** did a very good job.
6.   Do you feel the book or equipment loan service is
Excellent: 4 (21%) Very Good: 8 (42%) Good: 5 (26%) Okay: 2 (11%) Poor: 0 (0%)
·       I have borrowed books to help with my recent studies - I now have EYPS and am completing my forest school leader qualification. Your books were very appropriate
·       We should use the books offer more often
·       Not so far used this service but something we will look into
·       The service is great, but in reality a lot of the equipment is broken or missing or mixed up. Considering it's free it's still pretty good
·       Used it once
·       Mainly because we are so busy and it’s hard to collect and drop off
·       I would like to use this in the future
·       Some items are missing or need repair
·       Never used but sounds great
·       It’s hard for us to provide a deposit f £50 as we are a small charity we have to have funds signed by three trustees which is time consuming. A small amount would be easier.
7.   (Full members with BAND insurance only) Do you feel the insurance service is
Excellent: 7 (32%) Very Good: 13 (59%) Good: 2 (9%) Okay: 0 (0%) Poor: 0 (0%)
·       Keeps us up to date with it
·       Quick to apply and get covered. Reasonably priced
8.   (Full and Affiliate members and Childminders running DBS checks through BAND only) Do you consider the DBS check service to be
 Excellent: 19 (48%) Very Good: 14 (35%) Good: 5 (13%) Okay: 2 (5%) Poor: 0 (0%)   
·       Sometimes seem to take a while to come through
·       We don't use it but it is a good service to have there if you need it
·       Excellent advice on the end of the phone, quick service
·       Not used this service
·       Obtain DBS checks through another agency, although may look into using BAND reflecting on changes/prices
·       Always really helpful to assist with the questions we may have
·       ***** is always understanding when I get things wrong or forget to include something
·       ***** is always very helpful
·       Good service
·       We are going to apply for it soon
·       It is sometimes difficult to get hold of someone to talk to but the support and service has been good.
 9.   Do you think the BAND website is   
 Excellent: 14 (22%) Very Good: 29 (45%) Good: 17 (27%) Okay: 4 (6%) Poor: 0 (0%) 
·       Good for information and job vacancies
·       Easy to use. Good information
·       Lots of info - thank you BAND
·       The information and service it provides is excellent; the actual interface and appearance is okay
·       I do use it
·       Could be more streamlined, could ‘look’ better
·       Very informative
Any other comments you’d like to add about BAND services?
·       Always found the service a god send for support and information to stay legal
·       When our preschool was having financial and managerial difficulties last year and the previous year BAND were an invaluable source of information and support. Without their help we may not be here now - so thank you
·       We wouldn't be able to improve as we have done it in the past 4 years without BAND support
·       I really feel supported by the development workers they keep us up to date and relevant and legal. Thank you very much
·       Such a valuable resource for any setting
·       BAND provides an invaluable service which I would hate to be without. The support is second to none. Thank you for all your help!
·       Thanks for being there as a fantastic supporting organisation!
·       BAND is invaluable as a support and training mechanism for our setting
·       Invaluable support
·       We would not have survived without having the back up of BAND - always happy to recommend
·       The whole support our After School provision receives is of the highest quality. As parents there are many areas relating to the statutory requirements that we need support with and this could not be achieved within the capacity of a Voluntary organisation. The help provided has been invaluable
·       It would be good to see different training being offered in the New Year as we have completed all that's currently on offer
·       Smaller organisations like ours wouldn't be able to run so efficiently without the expertise and support of BAND
·       My support worker ***** has always been helpful and friendly
·       I honestly don't know what I'd do without them. I doubt I'd be able to do the job I enjoy
·       Glad to have the support of BAND it stops you feeling isolated as you can become aware of what other settings similar to ours are doing
·       We've only very recently signed up as Affiliate members of BAND so it's very hard to answer these questions meaningfully
·       Glad they are on the end of the phone for advice. It is very isolated running early years provision in the voluntary sector, no networks to support you, BAND is great for that
·       Keep up the good work – we would be lost without you!
·       BRAC loves BAND!
·       As a small organisation we are able to easily access very relevant info and training
·       Thanks you’re all fab!
·       I think the support offered from BAND is a great service, it gives peace of mind knowing you can speak to someone who knows your setting and has knowledge of Ofsted etc
·       Excellent work all round, keep it up
·       Lovely supportive service to have access to training
 Stats Report




Number of questionaires Sent out



Number of respondents to date

84 (44%)

81 (41%)

% of respondents that rated BAND's overall service as Very Good or Excellent


Rated service Very Good or Excellent




Support from BAND to start up or expand childcare setting

32 (87%)

38 (100%)

Received advice / assistance from BAND's development and support team

52 (85%)

64 (98%)

Staff / managers attended BAND training courses

58 (84%)

57 (89%)


59 (75%)

68 (88%)

Received funding and / or fundraising support from BAND

10 (38%)

18 (95%)

Book or equipment loan service

11 (100%)

12 (63%)

(Full members with BAND insurance only) insurance service

7 (70%)

20 (91%)

Full and Affiliate members and Childminders running DBS checks through BAND

38 (89%)

33 (83%)

BAND website

43 (71%)

43 (67%)