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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 this is an extremely good point NellyFUF.
    However, I tend to think the ethos of early years is about describing children rather than assessing them. We observe the child and build a picture of him/her in our minds. We come to know that child well and use our knowledge to decide what we need to put in place for them to help them develop further along the path they are taking.
    The idea of 'assessing' children immediately puts us into Key Stage territory where assessment is about comparing a child with others and finding them wanting. Then it is a short step to developing targets and aims for that child to get them to a standard point where we want them to be. This is (or should be) very different from EYFS where children are valued for where they are, not for where they need to be. This is why the development matters uses age bands rather than levels and to try to translate it into levels is to totally misunderstand what early years education is all about. In the early years perhaps we can trust that children have a huge potential for learning and not act as if they need to be forced through certain hoops or they might not get 5 A to Cs at GCSE.
    Of course children reach a stage where they have to be assessed and even given targets to check they are progressing well through the curriculum and getting a balanced and appropriate education, but this is not right for young children. With young children it is essential to foster and support their personal developmental paths to make their education truly rich and meaningful to them.
    So, please - no targets for 3/4 year olds. And I think my FS2 colleagues will probably add 5 year olds. Behaviour targets might be a little different, but in any other of the areas the targets should be for the adults, not for the children, and should be about providing the very best of experiences for each child.
  2. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I could read your post at a staff meeting and it wouldn't make a jot of difference if the HT had been told to get baseline DATA on nursery entrants that might be significant later on...
  3. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    ....by our SIP, for example...
  4. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    I don't disagree with your sentiment, but is this the reality? The previous Government was obsessed with measurement ... this one promises not to be, but we shall see. The issue is that people behave according to how they are measured. I've mentioned before the company I used to work for where call centre staff used to cut off callers because their target was to deal with a call in 90 seconds. Ever wondered why checkout staff at some supermarkets sit and wait until you are ready to start packing before scanning any goods and don't bother to scan and pack themselves? They are measured on how fast they scan. Like I said our behaviour changes according to how we are measured. EVEN IF WHAT WE END UP DOING MAKES NO SENSE. Our school's demographic is skewed towards the bottom of the income scale compared to our LA. Therefore, our results (at Y6) are generally slightly below the LA average. The only way we can avoid getting stuffed under the current Ofsted regime is to prove very good progress at each stage. Therefore, we do need to be able to demonstrate this and do so by robust assessment at the end of F1 and the end of F2. And I'm sure we are not alone in having a SIP and LA EY Adviser who is down on us like a ton of bricks if our %s differ too much from the LA average. And it's no good asking the SIP if he thinks the differences are statistically significant, because he doesn't know the answer ... but still says we aren't good enough.
  5. thumbie said:
    "Like I said our behaviour changes according to how we are measured. EVEN IF WHAT WE END UP DOING MAKES NO SENSE."
    I think you are so right - and I think this epitomises where people 'are' in the early years with regard to succumbing to the whole regime of constant observation, assessment, evidencing, being scrutinised, 'over providing' for the various areas beyond what is practical to maintain on a daily basis - and so on.
    The Foundation Stage Profiles are also a classic example as they do not have a consistent rationale and go far beyond what the state should need to monitor and what people need to measure and collect for formal record-keeping purposes for teenies.
    But worse than this is the way I think we have crossed the line with our need to ensure we provide for children appropriately and keep an eye on the effectiveness of our teaching whereby we have reduced the labelling of primary children to curriculum levels (he/she is a 2a, 3c etc.) and where we have reduced Reception children to profile points.
    Not only have teachers succumbed to these ways of marking the children in this way, they are then in danger of labelling and 'thinking' of the children in this way.
    Worse than that, with primary children, the teachers let the children know which 'level' they are and put this into the marking system for marking books etc.
    I have no problem with engaging children in what they need to learn - and I do believe we are accountable for our teaching effectiveness - but we have gone too far and it has skewed our behaviour - which is the point that thumbie makes.
    There's something much more holistic about a thumbnail sketch approach to describing children and sharing conversations with colleagues who are teaching them next - and just 'measuring' numerically the barest minimum of what needs to be measured to track progress or flag up worries - and to plan accordingly.
    I have never, to this day, told a primary child what 'NC level' they 'are' - but I have always engaged children with their learning - with the proviso that if they don't know something yet, or can't do something yet - then I haven't taught them well enough or I haven't given them enough time to learn and practise the information or skill they require.

  6. perriwinkle

    perriwinkle New commenter

    Finally, I feel as if there may be a tiny ray of hope.......let's hope the proposed review takes into consideration the views of so many of us........or am I being incredibly naive?!

    Just as so many others have said, I do believe in the basic ethos of EYFS, and even to a degree in some elements of the profile i.e. celebrating and acknowledging children's achievements with a view to helping them progress even further.

    However, why are there are SO many opportunities to:
    Spread confusion?
    Undermine the professionalism of GOOD TEACHERS (no matter what their job title might really be)?
    Overwhelm the conscientious?
    Drown people with paperwork? and
    Create hierarchies of over-opinionated public sector workers who can't seem to synchronise their versions of training and support?

    With apologies to any of you who may be a supportive advisor, but having gone through every hoop available recently, I'm not feeling very positive about the system. A colleague, who is bravely entering into EYFS territory for the first time in September, attended an LEA training day yesterday and received a very harsh introduction into the farce that has become the FSP.
    Interestingly enough, the chief advisor (who hasn't had REAL classroom experience in the last 10years) was full of advice that contradicted that of her two moderators who had attended our setting and scrutinised all of our evidence just 2 weeks ago. We do have a relatively supportive SMT, albeit their practical knowledge is somewhat limited, but I feel as if I am fighting a losing battle and dragging my team along with me.

    PLEASE, PLEASE can we prioritise and streamline the necessary, discard the useless, and enable others to realise
    that these LITTLE children can have the most wonderful opportunities, if only we were allowed to teach them as we would like to.
  7. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    I have always quite liked Sarah Teather. Fingers crossed.
  8. I like many others, like some of the EYFS ideas. I am a nursery nurse, who became a teacher and now working at the LA...dont hold it against me!!! One of the biggest issues is lack of decent training for early years people: either at uni level (how does teacher training prep you for early years teaching) or at college level: bring back the NNEB..learning on the job balanced with theory and a course with high expectations where poor students were failed......
    CHILDREN ARE COMING INTO SCHOOL FAR TOO EARLY! Look to Europe for good models: reggio, forest school etc.
    I think that the profile totally needs looking at, as some of the points need you to have an "a" level to interpret them let alone achieve them.
    Better levels of staffing are needed..ha ha that wont happen
    The principles of EYFS are sound, child development based, child led learning, meaningful learning, whole team approach. They need to be looking at Leuvens work around well being and invovlement and scrap some of the ridiculous things children are being asked to do at 4 and 5 yrs old. That said this has huge implications for ks1 and 2 which are a total nightmare with no new curriculum now coming in!!!!
    I just hope it becomes easier for eyfs practitioners, if it becomes harder...we may all lose the will to live........
    Good luck!
  9. Having read through the previous posts I would like to say that I agree with many of the issues raised and would like to add the following comments.
    I think there are many aspects of the EYFS curriculum I love, I love the emphasis on child led, learning through play, learning outdoors etc. I applaude the fact that we are supposed to be providing what the child needs NOW in this place and time to meet their current needs.
    I am concerned by the wording of today's statement about getting children ready for KS1 as I think that should happen at the beginning of KS1
    I also get very frustrated with the FSP and the fact that some of the statements are so wide for many children, for example CD takes no account of children's preferences, they have to be all round performers and some children just don't like certain things and so do not choose them in CI play.
    I always find CD Scale point 3 'tries to capture experiences' a difficult one for many children as they may not choose to dance like a butterfly, or dress up like one or imagine they are one in any way, shape or form. For many children this needs a great deal of adult encouragement to build their self confidence. Why then (as a previous poster said) does this come before point 4 singing songs from memory which many children find much easier?
    In PSED I find children are far more likely to consider the consequences etc SP7 as this is something they deal with on a daily basis - x won't want to be your friend if you throw bricks at him! Whereas if you live in a rural area with 99% white british population it is incredibly difficult to award point 6 except through manufactured adult led scenarios.
    Why the duplication and overlap of PSED ED 6 and PSED SD 7?
    Why is CLL LSL point 7 easier to achieve than CLL Reading point 6? and why is Reading point 6 harder to achive than Reading point 7? I have children who can 'use their phonic knowldege to blend and read simple regular words' which surely is easier to achieve than 'read a range of ..... and simple sentences'. I have children who find blending a challenge still yet can retell a narrative, act it out and organise their friends into the various characters.
    I know we do not have to award the points in hierarchical order but surely it would be sensible to at least arrange them more appropriately in the first place.
    I like the Development Matters but find it frustrating that although we have to use these to plan with and for formative assessment, the FSP scale points were not altered to match. I have to assess my F1 children using one programme (Progress Matters) and then for F2 I have to reenter the data onto another programme which does not quite match up (eprofile). Why can't they produce one that covers the whole process? Perhaps picking out less strands as suggested, focussing on the key ones and then tracking through from an earlier start point so the very low achieving SEN F2 children can show the huge progress thay can make that still only gets the FSP 1 or 2 and the data for F1 children can flow seamlessly into F2 with less work for me!
    I'm sure I will think of more to add but am off for a drink!!!! ....... Don't even get me started on extended flexible entitlement!
  10. LimboBimbo

    LimboBimbo New commenter

    I completely agree! Also, to add to the grumble, we have RE advisors, music advisors, etc etc in to the school to help with planning for KS1, and they write LESSON PLANS for us in year R with no reference to the profiles, unless we push for them, and with NO KNOWLEDGE of how we work in Year R! Just makes me cross to think how much they are being paid, and how little they know!
    Oh, and I'm doing APP for the children who achieved point 9 in Reading and Writing, as well as having to fill out forms for subject managers for those children who have Achieved, Working towards, or Exceeded in their area.
  11. When the EYFS came out I was delighted to read 'The Unique Child', meaning that as a teacher I could actually plan for the unique child, those that needed time and space to play could be properly supported and the children who are actually ready to learn to read, write or acquire maths skills could be taught through 'fun, practical' teacher directed activities. These activities could be left out for children to access if they wanted.
    However, the EYFS has been adopted as let children play while you follow them around with a camera and try desperately to word your post it correctly!!!
    I strongly believe in learning through play and outdoor learning BUT some children are really ready and want to learn to read and write and I believe it is an must as a diservice to them to not give them opportunites to do this. Reading and writing need to be taught through meaningful fun activities not worksheets and boring sitting down rubbish. I give my children hundreds of opportuniites to write, read and apply maths skills in their play which most of them do, but they wouldn't be able to read and write without some good quality teacher led learning. I think some schools are so fixated by the 80/20 ratio.
    Also to get the most out of child initiated learning, the teacher/adult needs to be very secure in questioning, talking to the child to get the most out of a situation, I certainly feel that good quality training in my area has been poor and TAs are sent to YR without any thorough training, meaning teachers are trying to balance everything themselves - a work/life balance nightmare!
  12. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Sorry, but no self-respecting little child wants an adult interfering with its real play. What a horrible idea!
  13. Is it time to step back? Didn't the old playgroups do it better than this? Does anyone ever look at your photographs. videos, post-its? If they don't then question what value we get from this time.
    Forget about opportunities to write, read...leave them to play. Reading and writing are very distinct skills that need to be TAUGHT systematically. Playing at it won't work. Leave it to Y1 to sort.
  14. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    Ahhhh Playgroups!
    Staffing ratio of one to five which included parents on a rota. (involvement of carers)
    Play based activities.
    Devised by women with children's development and needs at their heart.
    All destroyed!
    It is the idea that literacy and numeracy will arise through play and be evidenced in independent activities most of the time (80%) that causes so much of the grief.........
    Let us just play when we are just little.

  15. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Ah, the sacred idea of 'Learning Through Play'...
    So play isn't play any more but something Improving and Worthy that must be measured and entered into tracking wotsits...
  16. Better that than death by worksheet which was (and in some schools I know of still is!) the experience of many children in reception :(
  17. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    I just wanted to pick up on the "playgroup" issue that someone raised a little earlier. My sister lives in Somerset where their local village playgroup has been run by the same NNEB qualified lady for 20+ years who is paid £7 an hour. The children have just pitched up every monrning (or however many mornings they want) with staff and a couple of Mums on a rota and played with a whole range of stuff that you would expect to see in a playgroup. Only of course, now it's called a pre-school and Ofsted came along. They got 4s across the board saying - "to improve the early years provision the registered person should: develop self-evaluation and monitoring systems to help identify weaknesses and implement improvement; ensure children's play is consistently supported to extend their learning". My sister's expectation from this setting was that her child should develop a little indpendence before starting school and learn to socialise with other children. The playgroup is now under threat of closure. Which brings me onto a good friend of mine who used to run 3 after school clubs in our LA in local schools. She started the business and was expanding year on year until EYFS started. Because some of the children were reception age, the clubs were subject to early years inspections as well as child care inspections. My friend thought that the EYFS requirements were unfair on the rest of the children in the club and said this to the LA. Big arguments, unsatisfactories. Clubs closed down.
  18. You have said what I was trying to far more eloquently!
  19. Leave it to Year One to sort...yeah that's professional

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