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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 would like to pick up on the playgroup thing too.
    I have witnessed many playgroup leaders leave this role - driven out by the burdensome bureaucracy, over-inspection, interference and low, low pay. For all the pay is low, if you worked out how many hours it takes to do all the paperwork, many leaders end up using their own time and therefore work for next to nothing.
    I call this over-professionalism at its worst.
    Certainly, when I was a young mum with youngsters needing a different scene, some friends to play with to socialise - I just wanted a simple playgroup with the conditions described above in post 119 (I think that was the post).
    I would not have wanted the playgroup leaders to come under the intense pressure and scrutiny which is now the reality - and I really dispute that the status quo is either necessary or desirable for our nation's children or their willing carers.
  2. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Please elucidate.
  3. inky

    inky Lead commenter

  4. I don't know whether or not the medical or legal professions have a TES-equivalent with forums, etc. but I bet if they do the level of debate is a damn sight higher than this....
  5. Teejay, please debate then rather than ridicule.
  6. Thanks for all this info on post - Debhep i think its great that you have been included in this start of the review. I am really looking forward to the full review staryting and hope that common sense will prevail - including the quotes from the launch with claire tickell saying that autonomy should be used and beurocracy lessened. I work with disadvantaged families and settings in a phase 1 childrens centre area and although planning paperwork has lessened to some degree the preschools in particular are finding it difficult to individually plan for maybe 70 children who access in the weekly sessions. The EYFSP and pre assessment have become onerous with evidenve being collected too much as practitioners in all settings are concerned they need to prove things to LA and ofsted and recieving settings rather than feel they can be trusted to make a judgment.
    I agree totally with the themes commitments and principles of EYFS however i think that LAs and settings have forgotten these and concentrate on only 1/16th - learning and development because they feel this is what they are judged on. It was meant to be hollistic and has not turned out that way

    the role of the adult should be made more of
    statements of child development in DM need to be refined in particular babies physical as for some babies it looks like they havent made progeress and actually any person in childcare should know milestones so should be able to identify if there is amilestone being late and possible intervention needed so why should it be written down constantly. If LA, managment and govt including ofsted start to practice a more trustworthy climate this should also help
    Childminders in particular have found paperwork hard however they are probably a sector for whom all T P C are their bread and butter and knowledge of the childs big picture within a relationship with the family
    As i say look forward to the review consultation
  7. The "getting ready for school" bit is the part that worries me - I have heard that often enough from KS1 staff who neither understand or value the early years, and expect their new arrivals to be able to read, write and sit at tables from day 1. Year 1 should be ready for the children coming to them, not be expecting them to make a quantum leap to a curriculum and a level of attainment currently beyond them. And I say this giving full respect to all those wonderful year 1 teachers who arent like this and who take transition seriously. I hope I am wrong, and that being ready for school will mean good social and emotional skills and dispositions and attitudes, but I can see it being yet more formality and testing. [​IMG]
  8. So are you suggesting that a child be allowed to play rather than be taught any reading, or writing skills just because they are in YR and that means they must just play?
    To say this MUST be left to Year 1 is surely not taking into account the Unique Child and planning for their developmental needs
    I wish the advisors and powers above realised that a lot of YR children need time to play to develop social skills etc before formal learning can take place but TEACHERS need to be allowed to also provide those children who are ready and want to the opportunity to read and write. I was very fortunate to have a fantastic experienced early years ofsted inspector who agreed as opposed to the LA advisors who would like nothing more than child to fully initiate their learning at all time. I don't know about the rest of you, but I like a bit of guidance and support when I'm learning something new!!!!
  9. No I dont think children shouldnt begin to learn to read and write in Reception - my children do learn this - but I think that the ability level and the independence level that can be expected of them as they move into KS1 (and not by all year 1 teachers by any means) is too high and doesnt work from where the children currently are. My concern is that the statement about "Getting children ready for school" will lead to more formality and less recognition of children's stage of development.
  10. We are about to remodel our 52 place nurseryand 56 place reception classes into an open plan early years unit, offering 3 hours to Nursery aged children. By the end of the summer term next year 3 teachers and 3 TAs (with enormous early years expertise) will be keeping records for 108 children. Our LA advisors are VERY anti using sheets to highlight achievements, and would like to see us filling in individual comments on each of the 6 areas of learning for each child, ideally twice a term. This has proved to be unbelievably time consuming, doing it even once a term for each child, trawling through the post-its and stickers in the Learning Journeys, and then indicating next steps. I know highlighting statements on grids can be seen as impersonal, but it's quick to do, gives an immediate indication of how far the child has got, and can quickly be referred to for next steps. Often children can make rapid steps, and a 'report' put together in parent-friendly speak may have been superceded two weeks later.
    The LA advisers keep threatening us with the statutory requirment that we must regularly report progress to parents (i.e. termly). Why should this be in writing three times a year for EYFS when it is necessary only once a year in KS1 and KS2. Surely a verbal exchange with parents can be far more in depth - but there is no evidence other than our word that it has taken place when OFSTED come.
    As for the photos - if parents want lots of pictures of their children, there are surely lots of opportunities for them to take pictures of their own children at play. If we take any, they usually need to be supported with a written observation to put them in context, and invariably the observation alone is the evidence of the child's achievement. Who is benefitting from us running ourselves ragged trying to keep on top of the mountain of paperwork?
    Finally, we all still have a subject co-ordinator responsibility for KS1 and KS2 on top of the enormous requirements to keep in step with the EYFS game. We are contributing in a one way deal to the curriculum in KS1 and KS2.
  11. JEH

    JEH New commenter

    again I agree with most of previous postings. The idea that EYFS is to 'get children ready for school' is very unpleasant - children should be provided for at whatever age/stage they happen to be NOW. The 'getting them ready' idea completely devalues their current learning and development needs.
    I also take issue with the idea that schools have to compensate for some children's deprived backgrounds, limited previous learning and parental support(or lack of it) and wave magic wands to ensure that they all reach a specified level at the same age (be it Profile points or KS1 / 2 SATs) After a conversation with my other half this morning he wrote this little piece which puts an interesting angle on it!:
    The government is going to set up a new body to check on standards at doctors' surgeries. A huge number of ex-doctors and other ancilliary staff will be employed at the tax payers' expense to make regular visits at short notice to surgeries. There will be no agreed framework for what they will examine when visiting - it will to an extent depend on the inspectors' predilictions. They will observe patient consultations (or a small part of one), go through paperwork, look at average rates of curing disease, etc. They will expect to see proof of how the rate of cure is increasing for all patients, whatever the condition. They will expect to see predictions of how a patient will respond to treatment for chronic conditions, and will want explanations as to why the predictions were not correct.
    They will specifically look at the average age of death for all those registered to the practice. If this does not reach the national average, the practice will be deemed to be "failing". Such excuses as social deprivation, low income and other well accepted evidence that demonstrates variance in the average life expectancy will be ignored - "every doctor should be able to attain this national average for their patients".

    Ludicrous, isn't it? Doctors are professionals. We trust that they are doing the best for their patients (ok, I'll give you Howard Shipman). We accept that some people will not have such a long life expectancy, and we know that to address that, we need to look to other problems in society such as poor housing, low wages, etc etc.

    So.... why can't we trust our teachers in the same way?
  12. I think it is very hard to either see or share child initiated learning in a situation where there are a large number of children,of very different ages, stages and life experiences, in a large space, with a small number of staff. It is a logistical nightmare and has an impact on the quality of care we can provide.
    Add to that the enormity of directives as to how,when,why and to whom we should deliver this learning, no sorry, enable this learning, so that the children can fill up their own little profile pots or tick their own little boxes........
    Then make it statutory, so that EYFS is treated like the NC,with all its targets and statistics and has headteachers twitching for reasons of accountabity.
    I think we should be thinking about "doing less...and doing more of that", if I've remembered the quotation correctly. We should be working in smaller groupings generally (not key groups) and adopt a more family based ,nurturing approach. We could then truly be building foundations for learning and able to treat each child as unique.I might add that this is what I used to be able to do and in my view it worked well.
  13. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    I know the new ofsted framework has affected all Key stages. But here is our situation with regards to our previously outstanding school and specifically FS department.
    Last year our FS with significant social deprivation had ALL children aged 37-48m old, coming into nursery at ages assessed at the most 22-36m and 50 % at 16-26m and some even at 8-20m ie at least 1 and a half to 2 years behind the supposed national average. An able child in our nursery is a child that can put 2 words together to make a phrase. Our children make rapid and outstanding progress, though given our low starting point we cant possibly get every child to reach expected achievement by the end of reception. We all know how crucial PSE and S&L skills are. However given our quality provision, teaching and yes I do teach, record keeping etc we were graded outstanding on the previous ofsted criteria. Although we think we had a lucky inspector and were probably good with outstanding features, it was pretty damn good.
    This year we depressingly complete our SEF for the new criteria and because it is now all on attainment regardless of starting point we are satisfactory. Mainly because ALL/ THE MAJORITY of our children can not talk about everything confidently. Not surprising seeing as our average attainment for S&L is 16-26m with a significant ie upto 80% having a speech problem serious enough to need a SALT. Even the areas we initially thought we could grade ourselves as good are satisfactory because our children will not verbalise the required bit of information on cue to an inspector. What class doesnt have a handful of children too shy to speak in whole class situations, even in leafy suburbs. Is good and outstanding now an impossible achievement?
    If the gov truely want to help the poor, then start backing and supporting the very dedicated and experienced teachers working in those areas, dont stab us in the back with spurious inspections, if you want to keep the very teachers you need.
  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    you could be describing the school where I teach
  15. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    The other anomally is that whilst trying to make everyone the same, ie childminders to state nurseries, we are not inspected under the same standards. Some big bod involved in the development of EYFS told us that most school nurseries would not have to change as they were already doing everything properly and that most state nurseries were at least good and many outstanding. The reasoning behind the EYFS was to bring the PVI settings upto standard. The outcome is that we have all been treated to the same rubbish, the PVIs inspected on a watered down inspection are achieving goods and we are now satisfactory.
    Are they too scared to inspect the PVI settings at the same standard as schools for fear of what they might find. Might they then have to admit that we are not all the same and that different settings have different ways of working, needs to be met etc. I sent my child to a childminder because I wanted a home from home, I wanted her to help put the washing out and go to the supermarket I did not want her to be forced into unsuitable "teaching" activities delivered by a lovely, but totally unqualified childminder.
  16. Up!
    Interesting to see what the government is planning to do with the NHS. Is this perhaps what they are thinking of for education, would they, could they, be thinking of handing power to schools or even teachers?
  17. Absolutly agree with this and many of the other comments being made in this thread.
    If raised standards are what is required please let us get on with the job of teaching the children. We need to get away from 'experts' telling us we have no evidence for a child's achievement when it is obvious that we do have the evidence some of which is our professional judgement.
    The profiles are the last straw for me - no one else want the Reception job in my school and I can see why!!!

  18. Hi everyone - I've been absent for a week and am so pleased to return to the forum to see yet more sensible postings - all of which have contributed to this important thread.
    I shall now focus on summarising all the points that have been raised on this thread - which mirror previous debates we have had on the early years forum of equal value.
    I shall ensure that the lady elected by Sarah Teather to investigate the EYFS knows about this thread and others and I shall press her to read all this evidence to support my summary.
    It would be helpful if people continued to share their views and experiences. The more people we can represent in a summary - the more validity and 'clout' our collective voice will have.
    We have issues around the 'sense' (or lack of) of current stipulations such as the Foundation Stage Profiles and the management of them.
    We have issues around the many contradictions and pressures placed upon ordinary people working hard to do their best.
    We have issues of 'Big Brother' whereby teachers and carers do not feel free to provide reasonably and according to their context because those in authority dictate, judge and criticise what is provided.
    We have issues of different opinions as to what is the most suitable provision for children according to their local needs - but also different with regard to adult philosophies of childcare and education. These appear to be disregarded or not taken into account sufficiently as bureaucracy and dictat supercedes the authority of the settings teachers or carers.
    We have issues of what is necessary or practical regarding observations, evidencing and reporting. Currently these are onerous and arguably much of what is required/stipulated is unnecessary. This creates misery and disaffection for many teachers and carers.
    We have issues of a distinct climate of 'lack of trust' and 'lack of acknowledgement' of the logistical nightmare that prevails in the early years. Accountability is not equal with other sectors in education as the EYFS does require extra moderation and inspection as a consequence of government attention, being enshrined in law over and above other key stages. The incorporation of groups such as childminders and local playgroups into the legislation has caused untold misery for many.
    Ultimately, we need to suggest alternatives to the current EYFS - bring the solution not the problem. The problems we have identified and have always known, the solution needs to be agreed amongst us also.
    Thank you so much to everyone. Please continue....

  19. I just want to post again to talk about some observations I've recently made. I've just completed my teacher training, and I work at a private day nursery on my free days. I worked on Friday and noticed one of the full-time nursery nurses grabbing every spare moment she could to complete some paperwork. It turned out that she was completing an observation form for one of her key children. I asked how many observations she needed to do, and she told me that the manager of the nursery instructs the employees to do six short observations for each child every week, even if they don't always observe the children doing six different things worth writing about. The nursery nurse was having to ask one of her colleagues if she'd seen her key child doing anything out of the ordinary - she'd been observing the child herself but hadn't witnessed enough 'special moments' to write all the six observations she's obligated to put in the child's folder each week. Apparently it's normal for the nursery nurses to be left without six genuine observations for the week, sometimes leading them to stage 'wow' moments just to fill the missing gaps.
    With regards to the paperwork, which includes weekly planning as well as short and long observations, there's no dedicated time for the employees to complete it. The rooms are staffed according to the appropriate ratios, but there are always just enough adults. This means that the nursery nurses can rarely take time out to do paperwork as there wouldn't be enough adults left with the children, so they have to complete it at the same time as they are expected to do their job of actually caring for the children. I've often witnessed nursery nurses hunched over clipboards while the children are left to amuse themselves. The employees aren't permitted to take any paperwork home as this would apparently breach confidentiality regulations (for instance, paperwork might mistakenly get left on a bus and fall into the wrong hands).
    Even though I've had previous EYFS experience during my teaching practices, I was still astounded that the nursery nurses in this setting are expected to do so much. I was under the impression that it's only teachers in schools that are obligated to produce so much evidence. What happened to being able to look after children and ensure that they're healthy, happy and safe? By the way, the nursery nurse I talked about in the first paragraph works in the baby room, so the children she must observe six times a week are under the age of 1. Also, each employee at the nursery receives little more than the minimum wage.
    Less paperwork and bureaucracy please, and more appreciation of the professional judgement of practitioners!
  20. Hi, I run a 39 place nursery with 2 nursery nurses. Seems adequate enough, but as the majority of our children arrive aged 3 years with English as an additional language, many speech problems and most unable to use the toilet or wearing pull up pants, this ratio becomes ridiculous. 1 adult spends most of her time helping in the toilet, 1 adult in the outdoor area and 1 adult trying to be everywhere . The children are so needy as they haven't been without their parents before, need to be taught how to play and behave and are unable to express their needs it becomes a very stressful environment. Updating records, for 78 children per day, planning for individuals and constant observation has to be fitted in amongst this. Providing 3 hourly sessions with a 45 minute turn around (which is less by the time the last child has been collected)
    means there is barely time to prepare for the afternoon session and have a quick lunch..... and you DO need a break to collect your energies for the afternoon session!!!
    Our children make good progress and move on to school confident, independent, more sociable and with improved language skills, but it is exhausting and, in my mind, mostly unnecessary.
    If children are to start so young they need high quality play and high quality adults to support them and share that play with them not filling in ridiculous paper work. They also need a higher ratio of adults so someone has the time to talk with them and support their learning through fun and exploration.
    I'd like to see one of those on high take care of 13 3 year olds without any help, things would surely change then!!

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