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Coming out re the Foundation Stage Profile

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

  1. Nelly, I'm interested in which union has advised 'just do PSE and CLL Language for Thinking'. I am thinking of asking my union what their/our take on EY workload is (NASUWT)
    Debbie, I think you're spot on with the idea of developing an alternative - even if that is to simply follow the statutory part of current curriculum and no more. When saying 'I'm not doing x,y,z' it helps to be able to say 'but I am doing this'.

    What I find hard is justifying why I am not following advisors advise to the letter. I'm sure many of us just get tongue tied trying to explain our principles. Maybe a brief 'reasons not to do...' would help people to feel more able/empowered to say what we feel.

  2. Say something like:

    "The amount of time, energy, planning and thinking that is being spent on observations and evidencing to address the Foundation Stage Profiles specifically, is taking me away from what I consider to be good practice - not improving my practice.

    There are many more people nationally who are now describing these same professional conclusions and we are sharing our ideas for challenging the current guidance through the TES early years forum.

    We are also approaching ministers and the unions about this issue and investigating for ourselves whether we can come to a professional consensus about early years practice and accountability. We wish to make guidance and national assessment a simple matter.

    Meanwhile, we are exercising a policy of non-compliance with any observations and evidencing which we professionally consider is skewing what we wish to provide in our particular setting."

    How about us printing out something like this and having it available for us all to read aloud or to give to the advisers for them to consider!
  3. But Debbie, I am concerned that the vast majority of E.Y. practitioners may be happy with the way things are. There have been several threads recently on the E.Y Forum which although going on for several pages seem to be supported by only a small group of posters. I wonder if the rest of the E.Y Forum users are either too young to know any different system, are happy with what they have got or are just not politically minded enough to respond.
    I suspect that I might be a lone voice in my school, this must be true in many other schools. Imagine a school with one Reception class, one Reception teacher. They have little to do with any other Reception Teacher and can only do as they are asked. The question is, how do we reach everyone?
  4. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I've had the same thoughts, Piggysue. In the meantime, I've asked just about every other EY practitioner I've bumped into what they think of the profiles and obs etc, and all of them hate them. The one exception is my coordinator!
  5. I read and agree with everything, but as an NQT I'm worried about saying something wrong, so don't always reply to the more 'academic' debates.

    Personally I find the statements in the profile (that you have to tick off and prove with copious evidence) confusing - they're *so* badly worded. I know that people in my school are taking them to mean different things. Also I find it so hard to keep them all in my head! I write post-its of interesting things the children say and do and then can't find a statement to match it to.

    My only concern is that if they get rid of them they'll replace it with something worse.
  6. "- they're *so* badly worded. I know that people in my school are taking them to mean different things."

    You're absolutely right about the wording of the Stepping Stones. It's why I don't like them and don't take much notice of them. It's also why FS2 teachers have to attend moderation meetings. If the wording of the SSs was clear and not open to interpretation in the way that they are then such meetings would be totally unnecessary.
  7. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    sorry same people posting it up... but I believe that many people in early years in my area believe as I do......and some are only beginning to wake up to the consequences esp re OFSTED and SEF forms....we are just at the fore front of the protest that is all
  8. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    I only know of this subject from a parent's perspective but I was astonished at the information collection that went on in my son's nursery. Our 4 year old has a huge portfolio full of the utmost trivia and I was kind of scared that someone might want to go through it with me. The obvious question is, who uses such information and to what purpose? As a parent I don't need a written record and neither I nor Mrs Pee could imagine a primary teacher pouring through it all (an A5 comment sheet would be enough). So who uses it?
  9. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    A few days ago, I offered £10 to the favourite charity of the first person who could give a name to the authors of the SSs. There have been no takers!

    Come on, everyone - somebody must know which robot composed the wretched things!
  10. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    It was obviously a committee
  11. Try and discover the authors of anything coming from on high - you can't.

    So, how on earth can you debate, disagree with them, or hold them to account?

    I think, certainly until such time as we do know who these people are and have proper,easily accessible opportunities to communicate with them, that we should simply conduct our practices the way that we see fit and stop allowing ourselves to be utterly controlled.

    I promise you that people in authority rely on those they have authority over, to simply comply.

    Well - if people comply because they actually agree that the 'guidance' is sensible and doable, so be it.

    But if people comply because they are made to feel they 'have to', they are made to feel uncomfortable (and, in some cases, bullied, intimitated, embarrassed, coersed), they are made to feel that they will be in some kind of 'trouble' if they don't, then this is simply not an acceptable working climate.

    People who work with children need to be calm, happy, relaxed, oozing with common sense, confident and yet confident with humility, capable - and be able to think fast 'on their feet'.

    What they DON'T need is to feel bogged down with paperwork which they think is largely nonsensical in a climate of Big Brother watching over.

    WE CAN CHANGE the climate.

    But we have to change ourselves as much as we have to challenge what is going on in bureaucratic departments.

    Imagine that these departments, who need ordinary schools to laud over and write guidance for in order to exist, are actually a parasitic state of affairs.

    Simply be conscientious, caring people and do your utmost to be considerate towards the children, their parents and your colleagues.

    Ignore the rest and, when necessary, stand up and be counted.

    At home, if you can find a minute, simply give yourself some thinking time and write a list of what works for you (what is 'right') and what doesn't work for you (what stands in the way).

    Only when, and if, you do feel that paperwork and pressures are something which handicap you, that is the time to ask yourself if you are going to do 'nothing' - or 'something'.

    If you are ready to do 'something', start with working out what you will change in your practice, what you will say if, and when, those in authority start asking you questions, asking to see your records and so on.

    Who is entitled to see your class records?

    Your headteacher - yes, you should certainly have discussions with your headteacher about your practice. This person is very much directly responsible for what goes on in the school and standards.

    But when did your headteacher last ask you if you have any practical worries about your class and classroom management? Does your headteacher take a genuine interest in your practice and the quality of your working life, or does your headteacher merely act as a conduit for the local authority and government, expecting you to comply with over the top paperwork including FSP evidencing and formal target-setting and tracking, for example?

    In other words, does your practice evolve from the roots upwards, or from the sky downwards?

  12. Tigger1962

    Tigger1962 New commenter

    I notice that some of you are trying to find out more about the Swedish pre-school and nursery system. I don't know whether I can help you regarding Sweden. I have lived in Sweden for the past 12 years and I have 2 children who have gone through the Swedish nursery system. I also did a placement in a Swedish nursery a few years ago when I was on a Swedish teacher training course - although I am not actually an early years specialist.

    It may be helpful to follow these links to find out more about the organisation of nursery and the preschool class:


    However I would be glad to answer any questions if anyone wants to post them.

  13. tigger 1962 - anything you can tell us re the differences in approach to teaching young childen would be great. do you know where we can get hold of the curriculum for early years?
    did you feel children were less stressed than ours when at school - or is it the teachers that are less stressed?

    there are lots of things that i would like to find out but anything you can give would be gratefully recieved.
  14. Tigger1962

    Tigger1962 New commenter

    The early years curriculum is available in English if you click on the pdf link on this page.

    (sorry if that streched the page)

    Like most Swedish policy the curriculum provides a framework rather than a prescriptive set of goals that should be achieved. There is usually great flexibility for pre schools to decide how to achieve the aims.

    There is a relaxed atmosphere with lots of emphasis of developing oral skills, vocabulary and practical skills needed for school as well as preparing to write skills. My children started in nursery between the age of 1 and 2 until 5(most nurseries do not accept children under 1.

    Then at 6 there is a preschool class which follows an early years curriculum for preparing for formal learning - usually for 3 hours a day. And then children start year 1 at age 7.

  15. Thank you Tigger1962.

    i can't believe that's it! in fact i'm speechless and am too shocked to write anything now - shall get back to you, i'm sure!
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  17. Tigger1962

    Tigger1962 New commenter

    Nursery is subsidised in Sweden since the introduction Maxtaxa (maximum fee reform) in 2001. The maximum you can pay under the maxtaxa is 1240 SEK/month for full time nursery - at current exchange rates about £91 per month - this covers all meals (breakfast/mid morning fruit/ lunch/ afternoone snack/ fruit). There are discounts for part time, low income parents and for 4 and 5 year olds who have the right to 3 hours per day free nursery.

    The staffing levels at the nursery my children attended was split into 2 departments - a small childrens department for 1-3 year olds which had 14 children and 4 members of staff and an older childrens department for 4-6 year olds which had around 20 children and 3 members of staff. Special needs children also had personal assistants above this staffing complement - although many local parents regarded these staffing levels as too low.

    The nursery provided a variety of activities including all the usual singing, painting, puzzles , building, drama, indoor and outdoor play. In addition there were unusual activities such as woodwork, skating, sledging, skiing, paddling in the lake etc. Each group spent one moring a week at the forest - the younger ones taking a snack of hot chocolate sanwiches and fruit with them wheras the older ones would sometimes barbeque sausages on a campfire. They also learned to identify plants and trees and personal safety such as what to do when attacked by a bear!

    The staff also created different areas out of the indor space. In some ways they were lucky as there were lots of possibilities as the nursery had been created by knocking 4 council flats together. There was an art and craft room with a wet room floor (also used for indoor water play with a paddling pool). Each department had a "walk in wendy house" created in one of the smaller rooms for ceative play. There was also a "chill out area" created with net curtains, floor cushions, fibre optic lamps and harp music for those who wanted to escape noise and bustle and relax for a while.

  18. This needs to be back UP!

    I moved school recently. I'm now in a school where very experienced staff are more tied up in doing their 10 minute observations and doing what they've been told to do (following poor ofsted)than basic training and teaching.
    I feel saddened that it has come to this. Observe away, but not at the expense of common sense, experience and good practice.

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