When might I be inspected?


There is a long-standing myth that settings will be inspected every 3 years and the new EIF is adding fuel to that fire.


Under the new inspection framework, a setting that receives:

  • an inadequate judgement will be inspected within 6 months 

  • a requires improvement judgement will be inspected within 12 months

All providers on the Early Years Register should be inspected within each 4-year cycle. "The last inspection cycle ran from 1 September 2012 through to 31 July 2016. The current inspection cycle runs from 1 August 2016 through to 31 July 2020.” (DfE, 2018). That means that if you have been inspected between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2020, you have been inspected in this cycle and are unlikely to be inspected again unless there are concerns about your provision.


Anyone that was inspected prior to 1st August 2016 should be inspected in the remaining months of this cycle.

Intention, implementation and impact

It's really important for staff to understand where the 3 i's occur in practice.

Intent is no more than having a reason, aim or rationale for what we do, implementation is what we do and how we do it and the impact is the difference that our actions make.

They can be seen at all levels of an organisation and reflective practitioners do it all the time without thinking (which is why it can be hard to talk about it).


The power of the 3 i's cannot and should not be reduced to a display board because it's about the way we work. Good practice is based on sound reasoning - we don't just do stuff because we fancy it, there will be a logical reason for why we do what we do, but we need to get into the habit of talking about our 'why' or rationale.

If it makes it any easier, the language of the 3 i's can be reduced to a set of questions:

Intent - Why are you doing this? Why is it important?

Implementation - How are you going to do it? What are you doing?

Impact - What's the difference? What has changed? Did you achieve what you set out to do? Has the situation improved? If the answer is yes - how do you know?

The Early Years Inspection Handbook

Read and become familiar with both parts of the Early Years Inspection Handbook.

As a sector, we have tended to gravitate toward the second part of the inspection handbook because it contains the grading guidance that inspectors will use to make their judgements.

It is really important for us to become just as familiar with Part 1 as Part 2 of this new framework, as Part 1 contains useful information on what inspectors will look at and for. This was historically found in Part 2 of the old inspection framework under 'sources of evidence' but in order to reduce perceived prescription, the 'sources of evidence' have been removed. Part 1 is, therefore, the place to gain valuable insight into what inspector will look at and for.