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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. I think your comments are completely pertinent to this thread - so thank you very much!
    Keep them coming please. I am definitely going to draw attention to this thread and some of our other revealing threads.
    This is the evidence I need to show what people find in reality and think professionally.
    I have read nothing but common sense so far and agree with everyone's points.
  2. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    You mean there are children in windowless rooms?
    DO you mean teaching students or people on Social Care-type course placements?
    What do you mean by qualifications?
  3. Very simply - I agree with the principles of EYFS and the philosophy but there are 2 main problems:
    1. Ratios. It is not possible to support play as effectively as is intended by EYFS with a 1:30 or even 1:15 ratio. However I realise this is not going to change with current budgets.
    2. If the government want to get rid of bureaucracy start with the EYFS profile. The time spent for a Reception teacher to fill in the 3510 boxes for a class of 30 4 -5 year olds and provide files of evidence for each one is disgraceful.
    Just think how much better these children would do if all this time was spent on the kids? What makes it worse it that the local authority can come along and says you haven't got enough evidence to support your professional judgement. What a waste of time and money
    It needs to be got rid of or at least slimmed down to a smaller document with say, 30 key points to assess.
  4. We should maybe look at what they do in Sweden. I haven't seen for myself but have been told that the early years 'curriculum' consisits of one A4 side of statements which take the form of aims for teachers, starting "We strive to...." followed by some bullet points which encapsualte a child-centred approach.
    The big problem here is that we don't seem to trust that our children can and will learn, despite the fact that this is what children are pre-programmed to do.
  5. vannie

    vannie Star commenter

    I am just coming to the end of a 4 year stint in Nursery.
    I have loved - seeing the fabulous progress that the children make between the ages of 3 and 4.
    Working closely with parents, forming good relationships, offering advice, making a difference.
    Interacting with the children, playing, listening to what they say, laughing.
    Working with a dedicated team of knowledgeable EY staff - TA's and NN's - and learning from them.

    I have hated - the overwhelming and unmanageable demands for 'evidence' - feeling like a stalker with a clipboard and knowing that ultimately this is denying the children access to quality interaction with me.
    The ridiculous and repetitious nature of assessments - ROA, Learning Journey, Development Matters - just paperwork for paperwork's sake and enhances nothing.
    The huge pressure from above and from the LEA for children to do things earlier and earlier - and the assumption that by doing this somehow magically they will start to achieve 6+ points.
    The way that children are now seen to be failing at the age of 4!

    The EYFS was a wonderful opportunity to get things right in EY education. It's been wasted because of lack of understanding of EY at local, national and individual school level.
    It's been watered down due to concerns about funding - staffing levels are a joke
    And of course the elephant in the room is that it's completely unmanageable and impossible to deliver - but EY staff are too scared and overworked to say so. And let's face it - who's listening anyway?
    I love EY but I'm off to KS2 for a rest!

  6. Thumbie, I agree very much with your last two posts. We need a radical rethink (by people like ourselves) on appropriate curriculums for children at certain ages(with flexibilty for stages too if possible). The swedish curriculum sounds very much like the desirable outcomes which were around when I first started teaching and were well worded as I remember and more for guidance and planning, not so much for assessment. The profile points are as many have said, wooly and repetitive. Many are also subjective, what does "begining to understand" mean? The other poster who said "I could write them better myself "is right. We should! But we need to sort out, as you said, at what point the emphasis should change from EYFS to N/C or from holistic phonics approach to phonics for reading. The EYFS is trying to do too much, with too wide a range of ages and stages, with too few staff , often in large, rambling areas, it just doesn't work!
  7. I've just done a year in EY and it has been really tough. I trained as a GTP in a Reception Class 4 years ago before it all changed
    The bad parts
    Doing profiles and learning logs for 30 children the amount of printing ink used to print out the photos
    getting so much evidence (to please SMT and moderators)
    getting resources made, printed, laminated and bought (out of my own money) for the weekly or fortnightly changed topics
    coping with 2 children who were often aggresive to adults and to other children and who kept on running out of the classroom - in different dirrections
    changing the indoor and outdoor role play areas fortnightly or more often
    TAs not EY trained and doing observations which were useless
    doing formative assessments at end of each term ( as required by SMT) - numerals known, objects counted, sounds recognised words known
    being part of a LA programme for disadvantaged area- more paper work involved (although it did help having an LA bod coming in and giving me positive feedback which my own SMT didn't.
    Loads of twilight training sessions which all seemed to be miles away
    Half day training sessions which meant that I got back just in time to start the afternoon session and had to eat my lunch in the car as I was driving
    Moderation visit to the school which was even more stressful than the Ofsted visit.
    Even though we meet the parent nearly every day we still had 3 parents evenings.
    My TA and I worked in school much later than any other year group due to the need to print out and stick in photos, tidying up the classroom and outside area (and she wasn't even paid any extra hours)
    I wish that some of the younger children could have had a slower start to their school year. I don't think it made any difference to some of the children that they had to be in school full time from about week 4.
    the feeling I needed to keep looking over my shoulder because I wasn't 'doing it properly'
    the good parts were -
    The wonderful children and getting their parents on side
    the children made really good progress and enjoyed thair time at school
    the wonderful children (oh I think I mentioned them)
    I did get some additional support with the aggressive children and they are now much more managable.
    The fun we all had when I forgot to stand around with my clip board.

    I did love it but I would have loved it even more if there had been less paper work - I knew the children and I could have told you which profile point they had achieved without writing observations all day and them cross referencing them, then having to check that what I thought matched with the quality assurance.

  8. eal2 - your post has just given me goosebumps.
    Before long, I am going to contact Sarah Teather and ask her to watch this thread.
    Thank you - everyone. Such common sense and everyone's humanity showing through.
    I've just coined an idea in a private post with someone about the early years.

    We need humanity and sanity brought to the EYFS.
  9. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    I am always sorry to post after you Deb because I think people read your posts and I don't want to obscure them but I need to add this
    What was wrong with Baseline Assessments. The old scheme for the start of reception? Surely this was more appropriate - we assessed children on entry to the first year of full time education and then built on what we found. The assessment was manageable and could be administered easily.
    The EYEFSP Profile - is unwieldy and unfair. We now assess children at a random point... after a year of full time schooling / at an 11 months difference in age / after phonics teaching /or not / So there is not a level playing field for this assessment. The EYE FSP Profile has been fiddled about so much over the last few years, that no one is particularly sure what the various numbers mean... and then we aspire to mediocracy (those 6 points eh?) as if it is desirable that our little children should be all the same..........
    In Denmark the children play outside. They have little planning and assessment. They start school at 7. They have the highest levels of well being in the world. And they don't have labelling and displays and workshop areas etc etc......
  10. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    We had a Finnish supply teacher recently. She was appalled at the clipboard stalking and paperwork.
  11. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Should have said - the Finnish system is much admired.
  12. inky - I totally agree with you for the helpfulness of a simple baseline assessment for the beginning of the Reception year.
    In my last Reception post, the records for a Reception baseline had 'disappeared' (the previous system was using the Suffolk baseline I think) so any continuity of records for the school was wiped out at a stroke because the Foundation Stage Profiles for the END of Reception replaced the previous system.
    I think that the nonsense of the content and format of the Foundation Stage Profile, as highlighted in previous postings (descriptors which don't make sense as they are so wide and subjective compared to those which measure the minutiae) and as highlighted on Marj Newbury's Power Point above, shows clearly what a re-think is necessary.
    This is what this thread is for. Not only do I appreciate people's descriptions of what is wrong - what I also would like is people's suggestions for what is 'fair-enough' in terms of planning, assessment and NATIONAL record keeping.
    For example, is it really necessary or appropriate for national record keeping to have profile points so far-reaching as those described in postings above? Can someone please give the details of the ludicrous ones in the next few threads.
    Please raise the specifics of what is ridiculous for measuring at all, and for measuring for national record-keeping.
    Imagine what you would want to point out to Sarah Teacher if you had a face to face meeting and wanted to quickly highlight the daft stuff in the Foundation Stage Profiles please......
  13. Oops - Sarah Teather, not teacher!!!!
  14. littleredbird

    littleredbird New commenter

    I think my biggest issue with the whole EYFS framework is just how unmanageable it all is. I agree with it's core values, but the workload is absolutely unacceptable, and I don't think people outside of the sector realise just how hard the staff are working to reach these ridiculous targets. Everything about teaching in early years requires that bit extra- from planning and resourcing (using your own money) enhanced areas of provision, profiles, learning journeys, ensuring regular contact with parents, home visits, flexible provision, responding to childrens interests, meeting welfare requirements etc etc, is just way above and beyond the normal realms of 'teaching'. I work 7 days a week throughout term time, and probably not far off that in holidays...and I still don't achieve it all.
    I think my other issue would be the pressure to gain evidence on children, to the detriment of my interactions with them. As feared when this was introduced, I find myself steering conversations and actvities to grab those insights I 'need' to fill in gaps. It's totally unnatural and I know it's not the right way to go about things, but I don't see how I can do it otherwise. On paper the EYFS is great, in practice it is a total nightmare. I am failing my children because I am exhausted.
  15. Not sure if it has been said already but my big AAHH at the moment is time. Key stage one and two have key stage leaders who have additional PPA to meet with external agencies, write policies, assess new resources, talk to staff, meet parents, oversee planning etc etc.
    Most reception teachers in one form entry schools just get normal PPA while also doing another subject co-ordinators role. This cannot be fair. Teachers often ask me why I come in so early or am in at the weekends. How can I do it all if I don't. We need proper recognition of the job that has to be done and give us contracted time to do it. Too many good early years teachers are moving to different year groups because of the overload/work-life balance.
  16. Hi Inky, sorry not to reply sooner but my computer is playing up.
    The worst I've seen was in a 3 story building, children were on the top floor with only one small skylight in the roof - couldn't see out and needed electric lights on at all times. The standards say "Daylight should be the mian source ofl ight, Where, in exceptional circumstances this is not possible..... " This is a major loophole for unscrupulous nursery owners.
    Students training to any qualification but usually level II or level III in childcare and education.
    50% of staff in daycare need to be qualified to level II or above with a level III in overall charge. Therefore 50% need no qualifications of any kind.
    Should state here that most day care nurseries keep to the spirit of the law rather than the letter but a significant minority jump through every available loophole.
  17. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Ta, Gilldyson
  18. I agree!
  19. I also think a MAJOR important thing is clearer guidance of transition to Y1...this is something that many schools brush by and have the chn sitting at desks on day one...it makes me so angry!

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