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Coming out re the Foundation Stage Profile

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by debbiehep, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. Of course I cannot produce any evidence of lunacy because I 'came out' and therefore have not gone along with this system of providing evidence!!!!
  2. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Sorry Debbie but I don't keep a file as I'm not asked to produce one.
  3. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    i have a file... no post its, but lots of samples and photos. Lots, really, lots.
  4. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    yesterday I was asked by someone who should know better

    "SO, how does the year one teacher know that the children you send to her can do what you say they can do?"

    Well, now, I dunno, maybe it is in the eprofile and been moderated.... do you think they talk to each other these advisors?
  5. ...just to refresh memories...
  6. I am a male reception teacher in my second year of teaching. I trained for KS1/2 and since taking a job in the foundation stage i have undertaken a lot of research. I was assessed in my former managerial career as a creative and inspirational person and thought that i could use those skills to help young children. I read all the journals and have instigated gardening projects, child-initiated learning and creative outside space etc (bit of NQTitus in there somewhere) and thought that this was what the job was about! I then watched, and participated in, the laborious collation of data that makes up the assessment requirement. Thank God that i have found this thread! i thought that i was of reasonable intelligence, but cannot understand some of the vague statements that are contained in the profile document and have raised them with fellow teachers. It seems to me that everyone has been avoiding the big white elephant in the room!Everyone has there own take on the statements, which is ridculous. Oh, and nobody wants to admit that they don't fully understand what the point of it is, lest they look stupid! Ted Wragg's artical is great and Debbie's coming out is heroic (I'm not sure that i will stand up and shout..."I'm Spartacus" just yet though!). I almost feel like an outsider looking in still, having spent 20 years in industry, but something is seriously wrong and needs rectifying before all creative people leave. I have no time to wade into the debate at present (no prizes for guessing what i'm up to my eyes in) but will join your crusade as soon as the reports are completed.
    Feel better for having a rant and knowing that there are people out there who share my views. I sat in on some cluster meetings recently about moderation and thought that either i was in the wrong job, thick and was missing the point, or everyone there was just going along with this crazy charade and not saying anything! Oh Sod it! "I'M SPARTACUS"... COUNT ME IN!
  7. owenowen - how good to hear from you!

    I think your posting is a classic and needs to be cut and pasted on the actual early years petition blog please (speakers' corner).

    How do you feel about that?

  8. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I must keep asking: who wrote the Stepping Stones? Will ANYONE own up to the wretched things?

    And when is a Next Step not a Target?
  9. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Cards on the table: they make us do this because they don't trust us. This is the perfect WAY IN for those WEIRD COMPLETIONIST ROBOTS who think that children who aren't even at school age should be observed and judged on every tiny point.

    e.g. CAN STOP

    That is a stepping stone.

    Why not take it for granted and comment when the blooming kid CAN'T stop?
  10. Debbie, can i be rude and ask how old you are and how long you have been teaching. You are so confident about saying no...Im 26 in my second year of teaching I keep making noises saying i dont want to do the booklet adn the FS coordinator keeps saying oh we wo nt we'll do something diff with it next year then ordering more booklets adn saying well we cant stop using them tillthey are all gone!!!! There is a site with teh FSP on 2 sides of A4! Same amount of work just more manageable as you arent flickking throught o find the points. Its so blinking irritating but each time i say anything she is very set in her way and the LEA back her! If the new plan for each child goes ahead next year im out of the EY and into KS1 or KS2 and even out of teaching. I hate so much paperwork and with 35 children in my class its been a nightmare I dont feel ive taught them properly and I feel Ive been crowd controliing and doing **** to fill in the profiles!
  11. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    Dear Carot

    i am older than debbie...... very old indeed, and at this point in my career I can almost afford to be difficult... in a way, if I do not say what I think about the amount of paperwork and other nonsense in early years then I am not worth my pay as a professional......... when retirment is something you occasionally think about you get a bit more adventurous!

    but in your situation you have a manager who may not agree with you and you will have to let her manage. All you can do to is smilingly suggest that you have too much paperwork and tactfully suggest any changes that could be made......... let her think it is her idea? That is just the way I am afraid. I protect my colleagues from this paperwork and do a lot of it myself at home, so they can get on and teach and not be ground down. But then they do not know the stepping stones so well as they should because they do not consider them frequently.....YOur manager is accountable for how things are done so just be glad of this and try not to spend too much time assessing, best fit is very good you know for speeding up your judgements!

  12. debbiehep.... thanks a lot
    As i wrote it late last night i wondered how it would sound.. but it is how i feel.
    Will do the cut and paste, but right now... i'm only writing 'samey samey' report no.11 out of 26 and i need to stop reading this site!!!!!
    When the pressure is off i look forward to picking yours and your fellow crusaders brains if that is ok? Unfortunately, good advice is thin on the ground and you guys seem to make sense!
    Right now!... where was I?... oh yes! Jonny is a polite and sociable child who......HELP ME!
  13. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    ....who expresses needs and feelings in appropriate ways, takes risks and explores within the environment, has a positive self image and is comfortable with himself, and can stop.

    Will that do?
  14. Thanks a lot...
    This is getting boring...
    i was thinking during a break from writing about how to minimise the workload and still keep everyone happy.
    During some gardening on the plot at school i took a picture of one of my children pointing to a plant that she has been watching grow ( ok... she was pointing to a small spider). What if i copy and paste it loads of times for different profile evidence and just say... Yeah! she commented on how that plant was the tallest! Then she said "plant is spelt..p..l..a..n..t"! Then she said "in some places people only eat plants and no meat"! then she just happen to say a few more profile type statements!
    Honest Mr.Ofsted... she just came out with it all!
    And the repeats of all of the other pics are in the same vein... lucky me eh?
    Would they soon get the message do you think?

  15. Hey Owenowen, take this word of advice. Save all your reports. Next year, change the names and tweak, saves a lot of time!
  16. thanks Nelly thats what i do kinda keep trying to mention it show her things and say oh have you seen this it might be a nice diff from the booklets. I guess i will have to just keep going with it.
  17. OK - a bit of background as to why I present as being very strong, confident and brave:

    I have taught, off and on, over a period of 30 years. Much of that was part-time and supply as I have had four wonderful children, two girls then two boys, spread over fourteen years. The oldest is now 25, is my 'job share' reception teacher partner (wonderful!) - and has provided me with a beautiful granddaughter who is now 16 months old and a delight.

    So, I have such a breadth of experience and have done all the ultra dedicated things of trying to comply with every expectation. It has proved undoable.

    Even before I got involved with the reading debate, I was working every evening, every weekend and every holiday to try and keep on top of my job. I am horrified at my own neglect of family life and leisure because of my dedication. I regret this for my own sake and the sake of my family.

    When I secured a full-time infant appointment, for which I was truly grateful, I learnt that my local authority advisers were not necessarily caring and supportive - that actually they were more like 'inspectors' and some of them proved to be horrendously officious and full of their own self-importance. Others were much more personable and genuinely 'seemed' to want to offer guidance and support.

    I remember my first shock when my Year Two end of key stage one tests were moderated. The school's local authority adviser accused me of cheating. He looked at one of the borderline papers and said that the 'l' letter had been crossed out differently from some other letter (of a different shape!). I was absolutely horrified to be accused of this but even to realise that they were moderating in the form of looking for cheating! This was virtually beyond my comprehension although since then it transpires that teachers have been driven to cheat because of all the pressures and high stakes placed on test results.

    This adviser then told me I would have to do 'formal target setting' for my key stage one children. I told him that if he was interested in raising standards, that he needed to investigate the synthetic phonics method as in the Jolly Phonics programme. I told him that it was based on research, researched in its own right, and that it was much more effective than the searchlights reading strategies which were damaging to children. This man, who is the science adviser for my local authority, said that research can say what you want it to (well - you do have to know how to research the research - that's true) but he really did not want to know.

    Then, I proceeded to get the top results in reading and writing in my authority BY FAR. Did any of the advisers want to acknowledge this? No. Story of my life in West Berkshire and it goes on to this day.

    Then, I took up the National Professional Qualifications for Headteachers and managed to get a headship in a school not far from where I was teaching based on my local reputation - not my CV!

    The local authority was dead against it. The school was in a dreadful state and the children were anarchic. The job was very difficult indeed but within a couple of terms, much of the scenario was transformed. I was told that I could not do synthetic phonics and that I had to do the national strategies. I told them that I would rather lose my job than follow the NLS.

    After two terms there was an Ofsted inspection and I did not object to the Special Measures judgement because this poor little school really needed some financial help and other support. I totally objected, however, to the nature of the Report. It was brutal and not fair. My little staff body was nearly all new and had worked day and night to bring order out of chaos. We had huge parental, community and governor support and the numbers wanting to attend the school rose significantly.

    One of the inspectors comments were that the standards were not high enough because we did not follow the strategies. Rubbish. The school had declined for years and the synthetic phonics intervention delivered by non-experienced teachers had already had dramatic impact as evidenced by pre and post testing by an outside special needs teacher. No-one wanted to know about our in-house statistics of success as they only used end of key stage national tests to measure with. Having been there for only two terms, how could this be an appropriate measure? It was explained to me that the Ofsted inspection had to be a judgement according to the previous inspection, not from the state the school was in when all the new staff took up their posts. What a farce.

    The local authority adviser and the Oxford Diocese adviser to the school were registered inspectors in their own right. They had presided over this school during its lengthy demise and yet they sat alongside the Ofsted inspector and took no responsibility for the state of the school. In fact, how come they had not raised various issues and concerns with me as the school's advisers prior to the inspection?

    I stuck this school out for nearly two years and no matter what the improvements, they were never 'good enough'. I began to suspect that it was on their agenda that I would have to be driven out. I approached my union to say that I was on my knees as I was working day and night and the rep said, "What do you expect - it is a special measures school."

    I began to suffer symptoms of over work and stress. I could lose my breath (asthma? panic attack?). I would get gripping pains across my shoulders (stress?). I was getting 'weepier' during incessant meetings with advisers of one description or another.

    My time was entirely taken up with 'advisers' and my staff were taken out of the school for 'training' leaving us with a constant stream of supply cover.

    It was a farce.

    The only thing of true value was the support of a couple of local heads who rolled up their sleeves to bring their experience and good practice to the school. We were all pleased with this practical advice.

    All the bureaucracy was debilitating and nothing to do with raising standards. The meetings, including a horrendous number of governor meetings, were taking me away from supporting the school children and staff.

    I had disagreement after disagreement with the local authority advisers. They wanted me, for example, to look at teachers plans on a Monday morning and tell them immediately if their lessons were no good.

    I told them this was not an acceptable way of approaching staff development. I had no difficulty with the notion of informal monitoring and staff development and had good relationships with the dedicated people who worked above and beyond to improve the school. I would not dream of telling a teacher after all his/her hard weekend work that their plans were no good. They had every right to tell me to "F... off if I had!"

    This went on and on and then during one HMI inspection, the very dappy inspector gave me positive feedback during the inspection (green 'trafficlights' on her previous report) and then all the final formal feedback to me and the school's advisers, she said that it 'was not good enough'.

    That was me done for. I was utterly incensed at the whole scenario and ludicrous situation. No-one questioned what she said and yet dramatic improvements were evident in the time I had been there. I said that I had never felt less like my own person and that I wanted to leave. My oldest son had just broken his leg and was in agony. I put him first and left.

    They couldn't get rid of me quick enough. There was no gesture of telling me to have a week or two break to look after my son. Just the handshake.

    Then I went to a local struggling school and became upper junior team leader. I was very glad of the job. There were three upper junior classes. A third of the children were illiterate, a third were poorly literate, a third were fine. Behaviour for many children was very poor.

    My colleagues and I worked like Trojans in difficult circumstances. I battled to bring in synthetic phonics. Many teachers and teaching assistants were readily persuaded because they could see the results. I was originally on the senior management team but I asked to step down because I agreed with NOTHING that the local authority brought in to address standards. I just wanted to focus on the teaching.

    I have written a bit about this school in the latest Reading Reform Foundation newsletter no. 60. I left the junior job because they wouldn't let me downsize slightly to do my synthetic phonics teacher-training. I was asked to return temporarily to do some special needs work and had some spectacular results. They got rid of me prematurely and the local authority advisers told a teacher that they needed "something different from Debbie's influenc".

    The sent some staff to the 'Catch Up' intervention programme so I got this reviewed by an RRF member. Those poor children. I have endeavoured to hold the local authority to account for this action and now the Corporate Director, Margaret Goldie, has written to me saying, "...I am writing to you to say that as far as the Council is concerned this matter is now closed, and I have asked officers not to participate in any further discussion with you on this subject."

    So - the gloves are off. I am now writing with formal complaints to both my local MP, Richard Benyon, and the government, about the continued promotion of intervention programmes which promote the searchlight reading strategies. You can read my latest blog about this on www.syntheticphonics.com .

    I was told by my union chap not to upset my local authority or "You will never get another job locally". Therefore, I decided that I must base all my work on the premise that if they don't employ me there are political reasons not to do so because I am a good teacher!

    Once I made the conscious decision to fear no-one and nothing (apart from tragedy), then I felt unbelievably liberated. It is uplifting.

    I have reached this position because I have totally lost respect for those in authority who deliver all the government and local initiatives in a climate of losing sight of humanity and compassion. We have become a profession whose preoccupation is being accountable to the paperwork and inspection and not to the children.

    Quite simply - everyone has lost the plot.

    There is no where worse than the early years right now which is where I am focusing my attention.

    Nowhere are advisers more pedantic about the nature of provision for children.

    Nowhere is there more bureaucracy for observation and assessment.

    Nowhere is there more policing and scrutiny of personal files to evidence the blasted and unnecessary Foundation Stage Profiles.

    Nowhere is there such a case of 'The Emperor's New Clothes'.

    It has got to stop and I am determined to play a part in that. I can do this with everyone's support but not if it looks like I am a one-woman complainer.

    As to my final bit of strength:

    I mentioned once on the forum that I had lost one of my children in April 2006. Oh my goodness what a personal blow. My beautiful (second) daughter drank and drove with a pre-birthday celebration and crashed into a tree and died instantly. I don't know how I have managed to function since then, but I have.

    But now I know that nothing at all can hurt me except tragedy. How I regret all that neglect of my family and family life with all the dedication but, also, all the necessary time spent just to keep up with paperwork expectations.

    Now I am totally dedicated to the move towards NO PLANNING and additional work outside of the teaching week. All teachers should have a routine Monday so that they can walk into school and just follow the 'Monday routine' with no plans. Then they can get stuck into their week and have their weekends free.

    If the teaching job is not doable within the working week, then we must simplify the job and simplify the expectations of teachers.

    It is no good just complaining about the bureaucracy - teachers must vote with their feet and actually down tools at weekends and holidays.

    Observing and assessing are a part of a teacher's job but justifying and evidencing unreasonable bureaucratic initiatives are not.

    Teaching and providing for children should be pure job and based on practicalities.

    The advisers have made an absolute monster of the guidance and assessment - it is so bad that everyone should join in the early years petition even if they are young in service or old in service.

    We need to bring practicality and humanity back to our profession and tell the advisers and politicians to BACK OFF.

    You can do this by voting with your actions:

    Don't go to extremes - we have always kept simple records for our children - continue to keep records that are needed and helpful and sensible.

    Only fill in the profiles at the end of the year and refuse to provide additional 'evidence' specifically point by point.

    Refuse to allow local authority advisers to spend hours scrutinising your personal files. Allow them to come in and see your provision and talk to the head about that provision. It is up to the headteachers to be satisfied with your provision. That is THEIR job.

    Sign the petition and email Beverley Hughes, Andrew Adonis, Nick Gibb, Jim Rose and Alan Johnson with your view and experiences.

    I have managed to gain some interest from someone with current influence. I cannot say more at the moment but I am working on this.

    I am hoping that the TES hard copy will include a piece about the early years petition this next Friday.

    Be brave even if you are young in service. Don't wait until you are like me and have gone through the dedication and stress. Don't put your families 'on hold'. Put them first.

    Have a life and have strength and courage and develop an analytical mind NOW.

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