Bristol Standard Case Studies
In recent years Karla has begun working in the childcare sector, quite a change from her original career as an electronics and communications engineer! Karla explains that she had no experience of children apart from bringing up her son and daughter. At the time her neighbour was running a childminding setting and Karla was interested in finding out more about this, so she approached her to find out what was involved. Her neighbour was in need of a childminding assistant and Karla took on that role ‘it was a win win situation, I could get into it, get a taste for it and find out what it was all about’. Karla stayed in that job for 6 months, learning about the role and responsibilities of a childminder and discovering that she really enjoyed it. This also enabled Karla to meet potential families, one of the children that she provided care for as her neighbour’s childminding assistant, transferred to Karla’s own childminding business which she began in July 2015. Karla now runs a successful childminding setting along with her husband as her assistant. They care for up to five under 5’s each day.
In the summer of 2017 Karla completed her first full Bristol Standard submission. Karla explains that she found the monthly support sessions really helpful ‘being able to exchange different ideas’. Karla describes how she benefitted from the reassurance that she got from others who were attending the sessions ‘to hear that the things you are doing instinctively are the right things and that you are on the right track is great’. Each month’s session would cover a different dimension and Karla would write up her submission soon after that, ensuring that she was staying on top of things and not becoming overwhelmed by the potential amount of work involved ‘where I was doing it in chunks, I found it was fresh in my mind and all I had to do was type it up’. Karla intends to continue the Bristol Standard journey and is planning to return to the monthly sessions when she embarks on her second full submission as she found them to be so valuable and inspirational. As well as the support sessions, Karla found the help that she was able to get from Joanne, her Childminder Support Worker, really beneficial ‘it was really helpful that Joanne was looking at each of my dimensions as we went along and providing feedback’.
Karla feels that the most beneficial target that she set was to switch to a digital childcare management system. Karla explains that the parents, the children and herself have all benefitted from the switch as the system enables Karla to record observations, chart children’s development and share this easily with parents ‘it’s helped me with the planning and next steps, it helps me keep track of their development and I can work from that’. Karla explains that prior to using the Baby Days system, she struggled to get feedback from parents, but now parents are really benefitting from and liking the system ‘they felt like they were more involved in their children’s development and that they could read the diary and see photo’s before collecting their children and then they could talk to the children about what they’d done that day’
Karla used the e-submission facility and found it relatively user friendly. She liked that she could share it easily with Joanne ‘being able to submit each dimension to Joanne and have her comment on it and send feedback, was really helpful’.
Karla has recently had an Ofsted inspection and felt that the inspector was aware of the Bristol Standard and appreciated that Karla was reflecting on her practice. Karla has enjoyed her Bristol Standard experience so far and is looking forward to continuing her reflective journey.