The original project:
At the start of this project, Little Squirrels Play Forest were asked to complete a self-assessment audit of their settings speech and language practice. This was done using the Communication Champions Audit Tool that was designed by consultant, Emma Ferris and which is now available through the Early Years Team at Norfolk County Council. This audit tool requires the user to rate the extent to which they meet 12 categorised statements using a red, mid red, amber, mid amber and green system. In Little Squirrels first audit, they scored 33/36 (91%). This was a fantastic baseline to have achieved prior to any additional support nevertheless, Little Squirrels Play Forest were keen to continue their improvements and reach the 100% benchmark.
In meeting one, the consultant worked with Little Squirrels Play Forest to review their pre-project audit findings and deep dive into their self-assessment. The consultant aimed to ensure that the results of this exercise were an accurate reflection of the setting’s day-day practice, and any supporting evidence was reviewed. By the end of this first meeting, the setting and the consultant had agreed on two areas of practice they’d like to improve – 1. The specialist element of their setting culture and 2. The universal support given to, and given by, all staff.
In meetings two and three, the consultant and practitioners explored these two areas of focus. The consultant offered expertise and guidance to challenge and support improvements as necessary, and by the end of each meeting, Little Squirrels Play Forest had created a minimum of two SMART targets to work on for the remainder of the year. During this time, whilst no further meetings were booked, the practitioners were able to seek further support and guidance from the consultant, via email.
In the summer term, after approximately 8-12 weeks had passed, the fourth and final meeting was held to reflect on the progress that had been made thus far and create an ‘Action and Improvement Plan’ for 2021-22. This contained:
1. The key findings from the pre-project audit
2. The progress made against the SMART targets set
3. The support and advice given from the consultant
4. The recommended next steps for 2021/22 to continue to drive these improvements forward.
Little Squirrels Play Forest then worked with the consultant to re-audit their practice using the original matrix, and positively, as a result of their hard work and commitment to this project over the two terms, they managed to improve their audit score by 3 points (9%). This bought their overall audit score to 36/36 which equated to a fantastic 100% green outcome.