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Discussion in 'Early Years' started by debbiehep, Feb 27, 2007.
I provided some training for a local college today giving an overview of the synthetic phonics teaching principles, the Rose Report and the issues in the foundation stage naturally cropped up.
One attendee described just how much evidencing was being done in her setting (I believe it was three pieces of evidence per pupil per point). Apparently they have just been told that this was 'not enough'.
Oh my goodness - it gets worse.
I told the group with great pride how I have 'come out' and stated to the local authority moderators that I will not comply with the observation and evidencing regime of the profiles.
No-one in the room agreed with the FSP and the monitoring system.
Looking at the paper to-day and reading between the lines, it looks as if there will be a move to start 'formal' school later. The point is, unless the people who introduced this draconian regime stand up and be counted, debate the issues, and remove the pressures, it may be teachers who will be downgraded and the little bit of skills-based literacy and numeracy introduced into EY obliterated.
The Education and Skills Committee in the House of Commons are evidently going to look into starting formal school later: 'Do tiny tots start school too young'.
Does this mean that the Early Years promotion of more and more observations will be increased in the mistaken belief that it does NOT lie at the heart of the problem.
Also, I would love it if a single one of these 'experts' would address the problems of illiteracy in the UK. Steiner schools start formal learning v. late, the London primary schools of the 1970s were extremely 'progressive'and child-led . The literacy levels in the latter were quite appalling, and they are poor in Steiner schools, by all accounts.
Was interesting to read more about the Swedish curriculum. We had a fascinating speaker for INSET last year who was talking about the bigger educational picture. I remember him talking about poverty being the single highest indicator of level of educational progress. He discussed the high levels of taxation in Sweden means very low poverty, which impacts very positively on children's progress. He was saying that he believes we have got to the stage when many schools are doing fantastic work but they can't improve much more. It needs something a lot more radical and far reaching to take the next step.
First of all, as a Reception teacher, let me say I whole heartedly agree with Debbie both in respect of teaching synthetic phonics and her view of Profiles, gathering evidence, portfolios etc. including reams of written observations all are an outrageous waste of valuable teacher teaching time and a strain on most teacher?s home life. I would be delighted to see the back of them and would sign any petition to have the Profile assessment changed by law.
With all of this stated, I feel it useful to copy the statutory instrument (law) concerning Profiles and the legal requirement on schools, governors, practitioners and LEAs.
With reference to: Practitioner assessment 4 (sections 4 and 5 and Monitoring of assessment arrangements 5
These should be read as they would seem to be extremely important sections to read and understand before we get too carried away with not collecting evidence.
However, with reference to these sections, the definition of REASONABLE, would seem to be at the crux of the matter; perhaps we should be claiming the demands being made are totally unreasonable.
Statutory Instrument 2003 No. 1327
The Education (National Curriculum) (Foundation Stage Profile Assessment Arrangements) (England) Order 2003
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2003 No. 1327
The Education (National Curriculum) (Foundation Stage Profile Assessment Arrangements) (England) Order 2003
Made 14th May 2003
Coming into force 1st June 2003
In exercise of the powers conferred on the Secretary of State by sections 87(2)(c), (5), (6), (9) and (10) and 210(7) of the Education Act 2002, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills hereby makes the following Order:
Citation, commencement and application
1. - (1) This Order may be cited as the Education (National Curriculum) (Foundation Stage Profile Assessment Arrangements) (England) Order 2003 and shall come into force on 1st June 2003.
(2) The provisions of this Order apply to maintained schools, maintained nursery schools and persons providing funded nursery education under the arrangements mentioned in section 77(2)(b) of the Act.
2. - (1) In this Order-
"the Act" means the Education Act 2002;
"the 1996 Act" means the Education Act 1996;
"Assessment scales" has the meaning ascribed to that term in the Document;
"the Document" means the Foundation Stage Profile Handbook;
"foundation stage profile" means a summary record of a child's attainment based upon practitioners' observation including an assessment in relation to a child in the final year of the foundation stage in relation to each of the early learning goals specified in The Education (National Curriculum) (Foundation Stage Early Learning Goals) (England) Order 2003;
"foundation stage setting" means a maintained school, a maintained nursery school or establishment where nursery education is provided under the arrangements mentioned in section 77(2)(b) of the Act at which the foundation stage is taught;
"practitioner" means any person who teaches the foundation stage in a foundation stage setting;
"relevant local education authority" means the local authority by which a foundation stage setting is either maintained or funded; and
"responsible person" means the head teacher of a maintained school or maintained nursery school and the person responsible for the provision of funded early years settings under the arrangements mentioned in section 77(2)(b) of the Act.
Timing of assessment
3. - (1) Subject to paragraph (2), a foundation stage profile shall be completed in respect of children in the final year of the foundation stage in accordance with article 4 during the final term of the foundation stage.
(2) Where for reasons outside the control of the responsible person the foundation stage profile in relation to a child cannot be completed within the period in paragraph (1) it shall be completed as soon as practicable thereafter.
4. - (1) It shall be the duty of the responsible person in a foundation stage setting to make arrangements for each child in respect of whom article 3 applies to be assessed throughout the year by a practitioner in relation to each of the areas of learning and early learning goals, to enable a foundation stage profile and a record of attainment to be completed in the final term in accordance with the provisions of this Order.
(2) The purpose of the assessment shall be to determine the level of attainment achieved by the child in each of the areas of learning and the early learning goals that apply to him and to complete a foundation stage profile of the child.
(3) The record of attainment shall consist of the statement of the level of achievement attained by the child on each of the assessment scales in relation to each of the early learning goals set out in the Document.
(4) A foundation stage profile shall be completed in relation to each child referred to in article 3 and a record of attainment made by the practitioner by the end of the final term of the foundation stage and not later than 4th July falling in that term if earlier.
(5) Practitioners who are responsible for the completion of foundation stage profiles and responsible persons who are responsible for ensuring the proper conduct of such profiles shall have regard to the Document in conducting the assessment of children and in relation to the completion of foundation stage profiles.
Monitoring of assessment arrangements
5. - (1) The relevant local education authority (referred to in this article as "the monitoring authority") shall make provision for the monitoring of the assessment process undertaken pursuant to article 4.
(2) The monitoring authority shall have regard to the Document in the exercise the functions conferred on it by this article.
(3) The monitoring authority shall exercise the functions conferred on it by this article in any school year in relation to all relevant foundation stage settings.
(4) For the purposes of this article, relevant foundation stage settings comprise all foundation stage settings maintained or funded by the monitoring authority at which in any school year foundation stage profile assessments are administered to children under article 4.
(5) It shall be the duty of the responsible person and of the governing body of a maintained school or maintained nursery school-
(a) to permit the monitoring authority to enter the relevant foundation stage setting at all reasonable times in order to observe the implementation of the arrangements for the completion of foundation stage profiles under article 4;
(b) to permit the monitoring authority to inspect and take copies of documents and other articles relating to those foundation stage profiles and assessments; and
(c) to provide to the monitoring authority such information relating to such foundation stage profile and assessment as they may reasonably request.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills
14th May 2003
Thank you for this - most helpful.
There are several issues here:
One is whether it is the interpretation of the local authority moderators that is causing the most duress. We have heard testimony to a wide range of different attitudes to 'quantity' from those moderators.
Two is whether the Foundation Stage Profile is a sensible and reasonable document for pre-schoolers in a wide range of different settings in the first place.
Three is whether practioners such as pre-school leaders who are not teachers should have to undertake such a mammoth procedure and be under such scrutiny.
Four is whether or not the observations and evidencing is beneficial to either the children or the practitioners.
Five is whether it is actually detrimental to children and/or practitioners.
Six is whether parents would choose us to listen in to their children and constantly writing down every word to match it up to some arbitrary points on the profiles rather than conduct our sensible practice interacting and/or teaching their children.
By the way, I met once with Baroness Ashton over the question of whether the Early Literacy Support programme had been tested with pre- and post-standardised testing and comparison groups to 'justify' its national roll-out. (It hadn't.)
Three members of the Reading Reform Foundation committee attended accompanied by Lord Jim Prior who was championing our cause.
We were afforded an extremely short space of time, we received no clear answer, Baroness Ashton did not fulfil her promise to visit some exemplar synthetic phonics schools and nothing came of this matter.
Lord Prior asked two questions in the House of Lords and the RRF called for the withdrawal of the Early Literacy Support programme which we evaluated in minute detail as to the efficacy of its for intervention. You can read these in the RRF newsletters.
Here we are, five years later, and I see that Gordon Brown has just pledged millions of pounds to support the Every Child A Reader project which is Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Support I believe.
So, not synthetic phonics then.
How can this be acceptable?
We even heard recently how one person described her school wanting to bring Reading Recovery into reception.
I truly believe that we have to do something about all these contradictions. If you look at the last point on the petition, you will note it is about holding people to account in authority over us.
It is virtually impossible to even gain attention when you wish to challenge anything coming from on high or anyone in authority over us.
Believe me - I've tried.
"It needs something a lot more radical and far reaching to take the next step."
Yes - make it simple - and advisers and inspectors butt out.
With modern-day online forums, we could have such an amazing self-motivating and supportive network.
What is the corny expression (but most apt) - we would 'take ownership' of everything in joyous creative environments working for the benefit of all stakeholders without that sense of Big Brother.
Here's a suggestion that would save a lot of time and bring more significance to the scrapbooks that at present take up so much space and time in FS1:
Each parent/carer is presented with a blank scrapbook at the beginning of their child's time in nursery, plus a complimentary stick of tippex. A meeting is held during which the purpose of the scrapbook is explained.
Work is sent home as it is done and while it still means something to the child. Any teacher comment can be written unobtrusively on the work or on an attached post it.
Could we suggest that the parents only keep what they think is relevant?? Ha ha
Wouldn't it be great, brilliant idea!
Seriously tho, I'm learning so much from this forum - much more than i ever did at college or even at work!! thank you everyone.
I really mean ity, though it started out in a jokey way.
Tippex? I'm bonkers. I meant pritstik!
Oh, and you'd maybe mark with a star the work you thought they should keep in the book so that the books didn't get filled up with any old stuff during the first threee months. I don't know. I just really believe that the current hoarding of work until the end of the year is a waste of time and space.
And, in fairness, I know that lots of settings acknowledge this and engage the children in building up their scrapbooks as they go on.
We keep only one bit of something each half term, and that may not be a piece of work but a photograph. Any creative work that is destined for a display I try to put on the wall while the child is watching so that they know where it's gone and why, particularly with the younger childern, but the vast majority of their work goes home with them.
The majority of legislation aimed at nurseries is, in my opinion, a waste of space when you consider that the children don't even have to be there. Yes, I teach them numbers and letters, but the most important thing I can give the children in my nursery is language and the ability to get along with others.
I'll suggest thast at our FS meeting next week, Soft.
Have you signed the petition?
Have you seen that great letter from a parent of an 18 month old? It's really good reading.