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Invitation to write a two-side piece on the issues of the EYFS please contribute

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by adora, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. As a Year 1 teacher the EYFS profile is of little material value to me. It tells me nothing of substance regarding, for example, a child's next steps in reading. I have said before on the EY forum, to much barracking from some people on here, that I don't even read the data sent up to me. In addition to this I get delived 30+ folders of ticksheets and photographs, none of which tells me anything either! It seems to me that the EYFS assessment process is a bureaucratic nightmare of paperchasing that is of little use to anyone.
  2. Firstly, there is no statutory requirement to teach synthetic phonics, however the vast majority of evidence demonstrates that it is the most effective way to teach reading and the Government has thrown its weight behind it following the Rose review.
    Secondly, Reading Recovery is the bane of my life too, for the same reasons you set out above. RR undermines the phonic work put in in reception with confusing multi-cueing methods. RR "assessment" is secretive and flawed, designed to show RR in a good light. In my view RR teaches tricks and short cuts, making children good guessers on specially selected repetitive texts that in the short term appears as progress but over time can mask a failure to grasp the alphabetic code. In cases of children with a tendency to be confused, the effects of multi-cueing can be disatsterous; how many of these go on to be called dyslexic when in actual fact they have just been taught badly?
    But the worst effect of ECaR / RR is at an LA / whole school level with the "experts" who advise teachers on reading, effectively saying that multi-cueing RR methods are superior to synthetic phonics thus causing total confusion and chaos in reading teaching.
    I think you make a very good point about children who haven't picked up phonics by the end of reception and so have not begun to read. They simply need more time to pick it up and maybe some extra work, not to be siezed by RR teachers and "taught" using failed multi-cueing methods.
  3. In my LA RR does select some of the poorest children as well as those who you say " are likely to recover" (recover from what?) ie the ones who would have been fine anyway.
    The picture that has emerged is that the ones who it is obvious were going to be fine anyway, were but the ones who would have benefitted from extra phonics tuition, were not. Our RR teacher, a trainee recruited from within the staff, is now beginning to realise this and, now qualified and free from RR tutors, is using SP with these children[​IMG]
  4. teejay - some good news for you to keep you encouraged!
    Thanks to everyone so far - please keep your bugbears coming.[​IMG]
  5. KMD


    To support post 4 - the realities of delivering EYFS as a lone reception teacher with 30 children. Problems exacerbated with mixed age classes where the Y1s are meant to be doing a completely different curriculum.
  6. I am glad I am getting a chance to have a say - Well in my opinion this new EYFS is an unbelievable disaster for teachers and children. Child initiated- where children are left to their devices and what they do is go to same construction and painting areas or hop from one table to another; leave a mess in one corner and in the other. They don't learn anything by going to same construction everyday. "What an utter loss of teaching time!"
    With Enabling environments - children get exposed to hundreds of resources which is beyond their management capacity. They make a mess in free flow areas and when it's time to tidy up they make excuses to leave the classroom e.g. can I have water, use the toilet or like to hide beyond cupboards because they find it too much to clear away. Me and my T.A get absolutely exhausted by the end of each day simply because of the mess we have to clear every day and it is true we end up spending more time on tidying up the classroom than actually on delivering quality teaching.
    Age bands along with eprofile why both? Why can't we stick with one system? We are only teaching 4/5 years old children why so much paperwork and stress to teach these small children. We should be given simple and practical ways to teach and learn in EYFS. Teachers of EYFS are under such pressure; I feel pity on all of us who are getting experimented on this new frame.
    Learning journeys - After spending all year on decorating them; making notes in them; highlight the profile scale points what happens to them. They go home for parents to see, I think teachers spending more time on teaching their children will carry more value to them than spending nights on decorating their children's learning journeys.
    This whole new approach will damage teachers and children's education. Please save us!

  7. i agree 100000000%!!!!!

    as a nursery teacher with one TA who is not early years trained and has not got the foggiest of ideas about what to look for, what to observe, how to assess, etc etc, i am literally key worker for all 52 children and the paper work is a nightmare and ruins my family life. yes i know i could leave it to the TA to do whatever she can but what about when the LA and HT and OFSTED all come in! it is me who gets it in the neck, all blame is put on my shoulders for there not being x, y , z in the children's files. lets just forget the fact that i begged SMT for a qualified and experienced nursery nurse in order to have the paperwork they wanted and to the standard they want it. We are in a highly deprived area where on average, children enter nursery woring within 8-20 months band, they have poor speech and 65% have receptive language probelms, they are not toilet trained and pse is just a void all this along with our EAL and SEN children dosn't seem to worthy additional staff

    SMT put the blame and faults found in our eyfs ALL down to the class teachers when the reality is they refuse to spend the eyfs budget on early years resources/training/staffing, the SMT in most schools DO NOT understand the eyfs yet TRY to tell us what we should with of our planning/teaching/environment/rastios (of which they have a total disregard and repeatedly break the statutory requirements) how can someone who is unable to open the bonnet on a car, tell the mechanic what he needs to do? its like saying "fear not! i'm a teacher, i can easily mend this broken JCB! all i need do is tell you and hey presto"

    the ratio of 1:13 is a total killer - i do not support play or teach (beside the initial input), instead, i manage behaviour, clean soiled children, clean up after continuous snack around the entire nursery because the new starters just dont understand that when i'm being attacked by an anti-socail 3 year old am i unable to stand over them and order them to stay at the table with the food and not to deposit it in the sand/water/dough/instruments/duplo. I waste time setting up enhancements/interactive displays for chldren's interests because they get destroyed and dismantled at least twice during the session to point that i dont even bother setting them up some days because i just think what is the point, there isnt an adult to support it what with the continuous indoor/outdoor freeflow play and inbetween i stalk the children with a camera and clipboard. this is how i've got to know snippets about the children who started after april because when numbers grow so does the time spent on manning and managing areas and problems.

    if we had the staff and the basic resources (i.e. replenished blue tac, cellotape, card, large paper, masking tape and string, felt tips, paint, etc) then i think the eyfs would work wonders for children in our school. but its getting head teachers to put the money in to nursery ASWELL as reception.

    what i am ABLE to provide is not quality! we are failing our children, especially those who need it most!
  8. Just a quick thought. Did you hear the government are bringing in a website where you can suggest which laws you would like to abolish? Would this be a way to press a case for making EYFS into guidance only. I think the statutory nature of the beast has put pressure on everyone to jump to the beat/tick the boxes etc.
  9. Thank you for your comments - I agree. I shall do my best to address this very strongly.
    You have helped with your contribution.
    The more comments I have with people's experience and views, the stronger our case will be.
  10. I think this is the website you're referring to. It's certainly good to see the government asking for our opinions, but I wonder if we'll actually be listened to.
    I'm about to embark on my NQT year as a Nursery teacher, so at the moment I don't have much on-the-job experience to draw on. I did have two teaching practices in the Foundation Stage though. One was in a mixed Reception/Year 1 class. I know mixed-age classes are a necessity in some small schools where low pupil numbers don't make single-age classes feasible, but I found the Reception/Year 1 class very difficult to manage because the two different curriculums don't complement each other particularly well. Even the class teacher, who had years of experience in that class, admitted that she often felt unsure about whether she was meeting the needs of all the children effectively, and she was constantly changing things in the classroom to see if it made things any easier. Another placement I had was in a Reception class, which was much easier to manage but nevertheless had its own difficulties. As a trainee, I was instructed by my university to produce learning journeys for 6 children so I could get a taste of assessment in the EYFS. Even with just 6 children out of a class of 30, I found the learning journeys very time-consuming. I definitely see the value of learning journeys, but I can't imagine how hard it'll be to keep on top of them when I have 53 children in September!
  11. Thanks for the link Becca.It's interesting you talk about mixed curriculum classes. There have been some previous threads suggesting that reception children should actually work with Y1 within the N/C. I certainly think that 3-4year old's needs are generally quite different from 4-5 year olds and in mixed aged EYFS settings the very youngest and the very oldest don't always get what they need. The R/Y1 curriculum could still have elements of EYFS and would provide a good transition into N/C. Then perhaps Learning Jouneys would be <u>all </u>you need with 3-4's and perhaps not so necessary/ briefer for 4-5's.What do people think?
  12. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    I very much agree toobusy.
    Phonics teaching could be better used spread across two years - if children learn to crack the code in YR and Y1 then they are away for the rest of primary education and beyond. To balance this hard work! they could have a creative play based curriculum, topic based or whatever.
    There is a bigger difference between 3 year olds and rising 6's than any other time in the primay stage....
    .... and I think some children are bored with exploration play and sand and water and need little of this through YR. (Some do need it though).
    The Foundation Stage has become a bit of a prison. The idea of high quality learning environments has led to duplicated provision throughout several years of a child's education. Differentiation is a big challenge in Foundation Units. Four year old and five year olds have more in common, especially if less developed and mature children could remain in nursery type settings until ready. Oh er, reading readiness reopened!
  13. JEH

    JEH New commenter

    &middot; Learning Diaries / Journals &ndash; exactly what others have said &ndash; yes they look lovely but are they really worth the stress and time? &ndash; 10% PPA time does NOT cover even my weekly planning. We know our children &ndash; why all the paperwork?? (actually, we&rsquo;d know them even better if it weren&rsquo;t for the paperwork). These are just off the top of my head &ndash; will probably add more as they occur to me!

  14. JEH

    JEH New commenter

    sorry last posting is not easy to read - <u>was</u> in bullet points but they've all disappeared!
  15. I have been teaching for many years at Reception, Year One and Two. For the last few years I feel have become/demoted to a 'Foundation stage practitioner'. Actually I do not disagree with the general ideas of EYFS but while more and more demands are made of our poor Nursery and Reception teachers, we are not well resourced and have insufficient staff (qualified or not) to implement it properly. I am lucky as I have a T.A who works 9-3.15pm.
    Add to this, Letters and Sounds, increased confused interference/moderation and desire to use our evidence to suggest a child's future performance. The result is that the children do not get enough guidance in any area and the result can often be badly behaved children who too readily say, "No, I don't want to do that" when they get to year One. Of course they don't! Wouldn't you rather play and do your own thing rather than 'work'. Don't kid yourself...paper work is work unless you choose to do it. Children are coming into reception younger than ever and many are just not mature enough to be one of a large class with only one or two adults. They need someone to help them play, to talk to them one to one (without an agenda).and explore their environment for a long time..before being taught. I think that children should only come to Reception when they are truly ready and eager for adult directed activities. Only then will the present adult:child ratios will be appropriate.
    Letters and Sounds is effective but it takes up a lot of teaching time and as my T.A is also involved this means that often no one is available to facilitate and develop children's child initiated learning. The age adult:child ratios are also a hinderance. they mean that I, as the teacher cannot take an appropriate sized group anywhere unless I borrow more staff to leave with my T.A. Or she does the teaching for that group and I cover the rest of the class! In the pat I could easily take half at a time.
    I like letters and Sounds as i have always used phonics within emergent writing. However, I despair over the idea of setting for phonics across a year group. This is a step too far.
    I am also highly irritated over the insistence of pointless transition visits. They are inconvenient, happen at inappropriate times and have no real value. Home visits are also of very little value and waste a lot of time which could be better spent preparing rooms and resources. Sorry..beginning to rant but I could go on. I guess I am not a happy bunny and what happened to the so called 6 weeks holiday I so desperately need?
  16. For me, the issue is the match between the EYFS and KS1. In my experience, the year one children in my class this year were great at occupying themselves, from the fantastic child-initiated play they received in Reception, but were not very good at following instructions independently, listening to whole class sessions, working in small groups, or writing. The balance between child-initiated and adult-led is also very frustrating. The guidance says that when children take an adult-initiated activity and make it their own, it can be classed as child-initiated, but the advisers disagree. I would like to see a 0-11 curriculum that is more like the EYFS, and the obsession with the 80/20 split to be relaxed to what suits the children. If the EYFS can be continued into Year 1 if children need it, surely some of the principles of Year 1 can be inputted for children towards the end of Reception if they are ready for it? I'm not suggesting too much direct teaching in Reception, but for the PSRN points, some teaching is needed, surely?! Good luck with the document!
  17. roise

    roise New commenter

    I've taught in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. I wish they would let teachers teach. Assessment should mostly be to inform planning not just for it's own sake. Summative assessment should not be allowed to take up such a huge proportion of teacher time. There is far to much importance on providing evidence for outside observers so that they can judge the teacher and create data bases rather than producing something that will help to improve children's outcomes. As I year 1 teacher I did read them but they are not really of any practical help at all and I got more useful information sitting down with the Reception teacher and discussing the children which took about two hours.

    I also feel there should be more room for diversity in practise rather than a narrow view that all setting should be exactly the same. For example Montessori or Steiner setting can be fantastic even though they do things in different ways. In the same way two different Nursery teachers can be amazing but not necessarily doing identical things.
  18. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    I want to say a little bit about Inclusion and disadvantage and well polical agendas too.
    Inclusion is great. But in some inner city schools a lot of the children have borderline special needs and there are also more children with more complex special needs. However, often there is no extra staffing for such classes and yet such a school is compared with other more advantaged schools ................ there is a burden there for early years staff that is not recognised and a further problem for the other children who are already struggling.
    Where the assessment of a cohort indicates that major delays are apparent in the local population of children and families, extra staffing ratiosshould be a matter of some urgency. Not, oh, they are only playing so no need for extra pairs of hands.
  19. I think maybe what is at the bottom of the problems with the EYFS many have posted about is that it tries to do too much, and sometimes to do contradictory tasks.
    For instance:
    There is clearly a will for children to be able to play freely without their play being limited in order for strictly measurable teaching and learning to happen, however there isn't enough commitment and faith there for it to be accepted that this will lead to progress. At heart, the powers that be just don't seem to believe and trust that progress will happen. Hence the punishing regime of assessment, recording and reporting. Because it is believed that children should play but also that they should be proved to be progressing it is demanded that they be assessed through and on a whole plethora of standards (the profile).
    Similarly learning to read is still seen as paramount and this does not really gel with the learning through play philosophy, because direct teaching is the most reliable way of teaching phonics. However no-one seems willing or brave enough to start recommending that the structured teaching of reading and writing should start later. The teaching of phonics and reading in early years leads to the situation of reception teachers struggling desperately to do justice to too many things- supporting, observing and recording child initiated play and teaching small group focuses based on the framework, and hearing readers, guided reading, teaching and following up on phonics and doing some form of guided writing.
    It is this too crowded curriculum which leads to an unmanageable workload. The government needs to decide what it wants - children reading and writing at age 5 or children learning through play at age 5, achieving readiness to read so that reading takes off at a rapid pace in year 1.
  20. Hi, don't know if you're just interested in 'school' issues but there are a few major problems with the standards regarding day care which allow terrrible practice where providers are ruthless enough to use loopholes. Advisory teachers and Ofsted inspectors need specific laws which they can enforce. Where nursery owners refuse to follow anything but legally enforceable rules, it is impossible to enforce good practice.
    1. there is no legal requirement for rooms to be lit by daylight - the wording is woolly and needs to be tightened up.
    2. there is no specific requirement for day care settings to have their own outdoor play area, or to use it if they have one- again the wording is woolly allowing outdoor play to be accessed in nearby areas which prevents free-flow access and in some nurseries, where staff are reluctant to make the effort, children stay indoors for long hours, sometimes not accessing the outdoor environment at all for days at a time.
    3. New students are often counted into ratios as wording around this is vague. Ofsted have told me they cannot do anything about it if a nursery owner says they feel a student is 'competent and responsible' and is on a long term placement (even if the student has only just started this long term placement)
    4. Last but not least, Where there is a QT or person with relevant level 6 working in a day care setting, between 8am and 4pm the ratio can be 1:13. In practice this can mean that in a large nursery there can be a teacher working on the ground floor and in separate rooms on other floors there could be 26 children with only 2 staff, only one of which has any qualifications, the other may be a level II or III. Again, the wording is too vague and open to abuse.

    I have to say I've seen all these loopholes used to the detriment of the children. It wouldn't take much effort just to tighten this up and thus allow Ofsted to enforce good practice. Please put this in if at all possible

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