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Help.... going into reception and feeling out of my depth

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by annamellor, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. Dear all- I am sending a plea for advice. I have just been told today that I am moving to reception. I haven't taught reception and have been in Upper key stage 2 for yrs- YEAR 6!!
    I have been handed the EYFs and been told to improve practice before jan as the current teacher and TA have just been taken through competency after ofsted said the FS stage was unsatisfactory! The head is new and didn't ask me if I wanted to move but I am okay now. The classroom is dire- it really is a mess and completely disorganised, there is no planning to speak of, and I can't ask the teacher to help me with the EYFS set up because clearly we won't be seeing her again. It has all been very uncomfortable in the staffroom as you can imagine.
    I am pleading for help- please could you help with a couple of things?
    What will ofsted look for in classroom layout? organisation? planning? How do I organise free flow play? What does a typical timetable in a good setting look like? what are learning journey books? Do you have topic books? I am so sorry if this all sounds desperate but there are only 2 weeks left of term and I really want to get sorted in my head what I am doing before the hols. Please, i realise this is a busy time for everyone but I don't know who else to ask. I have tried our LEA advisor but the EY advisor is on long term sick until aug.
    Many thanks xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx anna x
  2. You sound as stressed as I was this time last year! I have a Foundation Stage Unit so nursery as well as reception but the provision should be just the same. You will need your classroom sorted into areas of continuous provision - (sand area, water area, playdough/modelling area, small world (train set/garage/doll's house type play), construction area, role play area, writing area, reading area, creative area, maths challenge area (jigsaws, shape sorting, items to count etc.), ICT area, listening area, music area - am sure this is not an exhaustive list) you could display your long term plans for each area next to it, you should also provide these activities outside so that the children can choose to learn outside if they want, free flow basically means that the children can self initiate (choose) from all the options on offer (inside and out - all the time whatever the weather) with adults to support/extend as required. I plan weekly based upon observations of the children from the previous week and also around a half termly topic (which is based upon known interests of the children).Learning journey books are the files you keep on each child (photographs, post it note observations, timed observations, photocopies of any work, e.g., from writing/creative areas - you shouldn't really have work books, info. from parents) recording how they develop over the year.

    Hope this helps - good luck, x
  3. That is brill thanks andrea. It is just such a huge change from yr 6!
    So do the children not write in books at all?
    I am getting 1 TA we will have 29 children but they have only just advertised due to the circumstances so at the moment I feel a bit alone and yes, stressed. Have spent hours on here searching old topics for bits of information.
    Do they still do baseline in reception? How long should I wait before formal teaching?
    Oh god- I think I am going to be giving everyone a headache over the next few weeks with this!
  4. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I suggest you ask your head if you can visit examples of good reception classes.
    There isn't a definative answer to planning or classroom layout it depends very much on individual schools, heads and teachers.
    In reception there should be a ballance between Child Initiated Learning and Adult Initiated Learning. The answer to your question about formal teaching depends very much on your idea of formal teaching as it is very very different in reception to Y6 (or any other year in KS1/2).
    Have you got copies of EYFS and EYFSP?
  5. I have got the EYFs and a curriculum guidance for the foundation stage- i know this sounds silly but are the profile points still the same as the curriculum guidance is from 2004? Mathematical development is now prsn?
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  7. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    I can't believe that
    if your whole foundation stage is Unsatisfactory
    that there are NO advisors in your education authority who can help you, push in the direction of a nearby school in your cluster, find you an Advanced Skills Teacher, etc etc
    and if they cannot, then it is the Authority who is unsatisfactory.
    This situation you find yourself in, is ringing warning bells for me on your behalf, because your SMT are in fact, responsible for this problem and they are dumping on you quite a burden that will take its toll on you if you do not have the support that you need.
    Somewhere in this picture is a poor teacher who did not get the help and resources and guidance that they needed. Or something.
    It takes a long time to set up a classroom well for early years. Get out and about straight away before people take down their provision and tidy up for summer, to look at settings which are good so that you have concrete knowledge of what you need to do.
    There is very good planning on the Durham website amonst other places. The planning for early years is not hard but can be copious because of the long term plans for example sand and water areas. It should not be too complicated.
    I'm feeling very sorry for the staff who have had to leave. What a waste of personnel.
  8. Do you have any schools with good early years practise in your area? I would definately expect your head to allow you time to have a good look at how established & successful early years practice looks in the classroom.
    I think you should not think in terms of what Ofsted will be looking for & just concentrate on establishing good practise, I know it will be really hard with such pressure on you but ... good luck!
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  10. A big thankyou to you all!
    The teacher and TA in FS have been in there 20 yrs- they have had 3 LEA obs- unsatisfactory - the limited progress made in FS was flagged up on eprofile hence LEA visits. Then they brought the advisor in (the one who is off sick) to advise and help improve practise. The teacher was not happy with this and didn't change really. Then OFSTED came in and said she was unsatisfactory and because the focus of the visit was FS (very unlucky) it was deemed as unsatisfactory- points being-
    no free flow
    limited CI activities
    poor teaching/care
    v low progress- children in past 4 yrs made v little progress in FS. Ofsted said unless there was drastic improvement we would be in special measures. we have been given notice to improve. the teacher and TA had already started competency when our new head came as she was responding to LEA observations. The teacher left on monday and the class is now being taken by a supply teacher for 2 weeks. The head called me in and said she was putting me in there even tho I said I had many reservations as I didn't know if I could get it up to ofsted/lea standard in time. She said a few nice things to me and then rang around 4 schools to help me find a school to observe as ofsted didn't like anything that we do. Schools said no to visits tho. Then we rang advisor and she is off sick. Then I cam home and purt my plea on here. Hence the panic. This has caused so much ill feeling in the school and I feel in an awkward position as I am expected to change practise of a very established member of staff.
    I realise I must sound very dense in terms of my EYFS knowledge but I have been stuck in year 6 for years! I just don't know what to look at or who to guide me.
    I have set up my to do list- 6 areas of learning areas, displays. timetable, planning. but I was getting confused as to which resources are old and which are new etc. Going to do 'myself' as a settling in topic. Just need to work out what to do for the first couple of weeks till I find my feet!
    Do I have to do baseline?
    Do they go out even in rain?
    Do they need books? If so what as I need to order?
    do I have to do long/med and short term plans or is FS different?
    jolly phonics or letters and sounds- what is the difference. I know JP but I have obviously had no training on L&S.
    But a sincere thanks to each of you both for your advice and moral support. I just feel really scared- which is stupid I know but it is daunting! Please please keep adding anything you think of- it will really help me! Even if it is to stop me from making a mistake by doing something I shouldn't!!
    Thankyou so very very much xxx Anna x

  11. Msz- they were both really useful- I am just printing them off now as a bit of bedtime reading.[​IMG]
  12. Elj


  13. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    You will find my LA planning and other EYFS resources HERE
    The Long Term has been done so just needs a slight adjustment to match your setting.
    The MT /ST have instructions and examples which you might find helpful.
  14. EYFS site is very useful and ofsted have specific EYFS guidance on their site. You are lucky - you have free reign - look up some outstanding early years schools in your area and visit. Chat on here. Look ath the foundation stage forum - very Early Years and very helpful. You can do it!!![​IMG]
  15. We're in Oxfordshire if that's anywhere near you - you're very welcome to visit
  16. OOOh- they're useful- they are very different to Year 6!
    How much detail should you put on them?
    Thanks Msz.
    I went to uni in Durham!
    Never thought of looking on other LA sites- thats my job for this morning.
    I have spoken to the year 1 teacher this morning and she has decided to hand her notice in- she thinks she is next as she only got satisfactory- I just feel really shocked by this. People I have known for years leaving. It really is going to be all change.
    Sitting back last night I really did think how much I have isolated myself to KS2 practice. I haven't really been involved in anything KS1- perhaps schools should do more joined up thinking.
    Thankyou all...again!

    I'm in North Cheshire- bit of a trek down there Cat but thankyou so much for the offer. Mind you if I don't get a school close by to agree by mon/tues I may have to take you up!
    I can understand why settings don't want me in- it is the wrong time of year- but then I had a brainwave- Is foundation 1 much different because I thought I could ask a local nursey as private ones are open all summer. What do you think? Will it be lots different?
    Would I find outstanding nurseries through the same ofsted site?

  17. sorry - should've said caz xx
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  19. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Private Nurseries are uually very different I'm afraid.
  20. Just emailed the head a lovely letter- hopefully I may hear back on Monday. I've never heard of that school and it is only a few minutes away! [​IMG]
    Thanks x

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