While there is no requirement to write out a written self-evaluation, the reason many people do written reflective practice is that it can make it easier for you to think through the different aspects of your business and monitor what you need to change. Writing things out can help you to focus and get organised. It can also be a great way to prepare for your inspection.
Remember that your Ofsted inspector will want to discuss your setting’s self-evaluation during your inspection. Even without the online form, you are still expected to reflect on your practice. The Early Years Inspection Handbook outlines exactly how an inspector will use your setting’s self-evaluation during your inspection: “59: Inspectors will use the self-evaluation to evaluate how well a setting knows its own strengths and weaknesses and how it can improve.”
For help with self-evaluation, try my Guided Self-Evaluation Pack. This pack is organised as a series of questions and model answers about you and your setting, with one question per page. You can use it as a structured way to set up a complete evaluation document for your setting from scratch. Or you can pick and choose questions that you feel are helpful to your setting to complement any other form of self-reflective practice you already do.