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A week in the life of an Ofsted Nominee, by Frances Drew – Quality and Skills Director

Frances Drew - Quality & Skills Director
Frances Drew - Quality & Skills Director

One word…whirlwind!

It’s Friday morning of the 4th of February and I’m driving on the M1 with the intention to go to our Nottingham Office, as I am approaching Junction 23 I come off the M1 and decide to head to the Derby office instead. One hour later DBC’s Quality Manager rushes into my office, white as a ghost and tells me Ofsted are on the phone! I think it was my spider senses tingling that sent me to Derby.

Even though we were expecting and ready for this call it still didnt take away that sick feeling of panic in my stomach as I approached the phone to be notified of DBC’s Ofsted inspection. Once I had the call and understood what days we would be inspected, by how many inspectors, I just went into fight mode (even though I was very tempted to jump onto the next flight) with a million thoughts rushing through my head:

1. I need to tell the MD, who was working from home. When I got hold of her she was sat in her PJ’s oblivious to the whirlwind ensuing in the office;

2. Notify the NED – who by now was on her 16th inspection;

3. I need to notify the business – this needs to be done in a way to motivate the team, not scare them;

4. Do I have any staff off next week which could impact this?

5. What have I got planned in my personal life I may need to rearrange – we all know Ofsted means working slightly extra hours!

Following the above and having a mini breakdown, it was all hands-on deck to get everything prepared for the following Tuesday. Due to the team being well prepared for this inspection, all staff including managers and delivery staff understood what their priorities were and what they needed to do.

As a nominee the preparation time is critical and requires good project management and communication skills to ensure that the team are clear on what they are doing and are on track, know where any potential risks are as well as keeping good communication with the lead inspector by providing all requested information and data timely, keeping them informed, and just generally being organised.

Tuesday morning quickly came around and the inspection started promptly at 10.00am. Myself and Kerry (MD) opened the inspection with a mini PowerPoint presentation to the inspection team. This is really important to set the scene. After this the real work started - managing the inspection team and motivating the staff. Our SMT and Exec team camped out in our large training room, also know internally to DBC as (The Disco Room).

Early feedback for the first 2 days tested the team and we admittedly put in some late nights eating Pizza and Doughnuts. Those who regularly read the DBC blogs know we love doughnuts and cakes at DBC! Day 3 all was going well, until the fire alarm went off! (that’s another story, possibly one for a later blog).

After working nearly 60 hours in a short space of time it was a relief to get to Friday feeling fairly positive, after receiving the formal feedback and the GOOD grade it was then on to our annual Apprenticeship Awards. We had over 100 people attending our celebration event in Derby. However, after a really successful week we celebrated in true DBC style with more cake and a glass of fizz. Then everyone went to spend the weekend with their loved ones who were very neglected during the week.

Reflecting on the week, I don’t think we would have done anything differently, in fact the whole experience was a great team building exercise and the team really learnt a lot from it!

For more information on our inspection you can view the full report here:

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