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Key findings from implementation and moderation of the EYFS profile 2009-10

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Msz, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. Msz

    Msz Established commenter


    Local authority moderation managers and moderators indicated that there appeared to be an increased level of strategic interest in and involvement with the EYFS profile from senior local authority colleagues, school improvement partners (SIPs) and headteachers. Partly this appeared to be as a result of the use and status of EYFSP data, and partly as a result of the increased status and importance of moderated teacher assessment through the growth in use of assessing pupils' progress (APP) in primary schools. The inclusion of SIPs in training appeared to be widely in place and this represents a major step forward.

    Issues continued to be raised by EYFS profile moderation managers about misunderstandings of the principles, purpose and practice of assessment in the EYFS in general and the EYFS profile in particular. <u>They also quote incidences of misuse and misinterpretation of data at school and local authority level. </u>

    Some local authorities continue to 'grade' moderation practice as part of the external visit. Practitioners' judgements are either accurate and in line with national exemplification or they are not, in which case additional training and consideration should take place. <u>There are no gradations of accuracy, and this practice can confuse the process of moderation unnecessarily. </u>
    <u> </u>
    <u>Moderators must be clear that the purpose of their visit is purely to ensure the accuracy of EYFS profile judgements. </u>

  2. Thank you, Msz.
  3. Dear Msz thank you for your ongoing attempts at transparency. I wonder if it could also be added that the very material you wish to clarify is a transparent waste of time and bears not a jot of relation to either early years teaching or the needs of young children. When I hear of the cuts affecting LEA sectors I can't help but sympathise wth the need to cut a whole swathe of bureaucracy a good part of which could be cleared wth an axe swinging through the early-years posts you mention. Moderators, SIPS, moderator managers, etc must be clear that their purpose in lfe is totally irrelevant and distracting, that their weight in paper is not worth their weight in anything but the most basic terms of waste matter, and that they are the biggest contributors to pollution and degradation of the early years environment that have ever been thought of. Yet they will probably somehow survive and once again the sympathetic, imaginative, creative and knowledgeable adults who know how to talk and listen and play and think on the spot, to extend and hug, to build and link, to stand-back and to step-in with the real day-today stuff of children and their families will once again be cut. Once again the one real hope for children will be squeezed into someone's square format that ticks a box and earns someone a target-linked salary. In all my born-days and all my years of teaching young children no more moderation has ever been needed than an informed and animated chat of the professionally instigated type by teachers who cared enough about what they were doing to have been trained in the first place as early years teachers, who consider child-development as being about flesh and blood children not about paper caricatures. In all my born days I have never felt such anger, at so many, who know so little and yet hold such sway over so many. All the transparancy in the world will not convince me for one that there is anything here but an optical illusion, smoke and mirrors conspiring to make us feel we don't know enough to trust our own professional judgement or to follow our teaching hearts and walk through the fire of creation which burns the soles of our feet if we but take off our lofty platforms and mix-in wth new life in all its heat, down on the ground in the nursery and reception classes. Inspire teachers, let them believe thay are fundamental and that they are uniquely placed to help the present give birth to the future which cannot be quantified or qualified in the terms of the dead past but PLEASE SPARE them the SIPS, the STIFFS and the SODS who are killing off any real hope for a new tomorrow. Life is miraculous, it surves and flourishes against all odds, we define early years in a pastiche of quantifiable, pre-determined, moderate-able steps which begins to limit the dimensions by which we are able to conceive of what we do. I for one do not want to give it even a toe-hold in my sandpit, I do not want it to intervene for one moment in my own full, free, professional pedagogical obligation to meet a child where they are and respond accordingly. None of us should give any of these insipid, insiduous, earnest but vacuous roles an easy ride. If they do enter the sandpit then it must be shoes-off and barefeet lke everyone else, and they share the bucket and spade like everyone else, and they live the soaring castle and the collapsing tunnel in their hearts which is where it is really played out, not on a post-it, not in a photo, not in any evidence on a four-cornered profile. In the heart and the imagination. In the germinal moment which in its essence is an absolutely faithful unfolding map for life.
  4. I agree.
  5. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I found the distinction between attainment and achievement very interesting.
  6. my previious reply was to Mzs's comments wthout having read the document referred to. Having just read, well no skipped over it - as one skips over a muddy field or a cow pat in a muddy field I can only say it is worse than I thought. Words like 'exemplification', 'password lock' 'children with zero scores' 'MIS' suppliers... yes 'MIS' suppliers? Now what is that? Suppliers of mis-spelt unmarried female nursery teachers? as in 'Married-Is Still-to-be?' or a MISspelling corrector, or an admission of how hit and MISs all of this measurement of young children is anyway. 'Data entry systems alert users appropriately' -again what is that about? like self-flushing toilets perhaps - although they might be of more use than any of the nonsense that the brains sat behind desks, with keyboards attached to their fingers rather than real children attached to their legs are coming up with.

    'Training for those authorities receiving support from SDOs''- so there really is a SOD's law and there are real SODs out there enforcing it. This is the scariest of them all .....'The national moderator registration programme was successfully run again in 2009/10. The number of colleagues from local authorities who participated in the registration programme was 246, of whom almost 90 per cent became fully accredited..'/ What is this about? We are joining this nonsense in our droves. Well it is pure George Orwell and it scares me. Probably I would join if it offered me a few quid for doing what I love anyway and think it can help colleagues or children and keep alive the flame of the nursery school tradition but I do worry that there are going to be an awful lot of people in that ninety percent that know only as much as the current frameworks have allowed them to know and and therefore a more and more jaded formula is going to be presented and passed on as absolutely necessary, as the new essential, the new colour brown for this season - Perhaps not if we are aware of it but this way of thinking and acting as sure as heck is not orginating in early years classrooms. It is being devised and implemented by the measuring mindset that has taken over where there used to be trust, professional discretion and initiative. We are letting that go at our peril, closing our eyes and hoping we can negotiate the cow pats because someone is giving us orders from the sidelines. We should be wary, very wary.
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The problem is we have this system and by law we are obliged to follow it whether we like it or not and sometimes the best way to fight is by being armed with knowledge
    already the moderation anxiety has begun https://community.tes.co.uk/forums/t/459756.aspx
    for 2011 and unless teachers know what is statutory and what is "misuse" and "misrepresentation" they can't effectively argue against the madness.
  8. Great, so the law really is an a**. Where is the fight I wonder? and who is fighting it? Perhaps your well-crafted arrows of knowledge will find their mark and become a part of the armoury of teachers. Knowledge however is often of little use against a person who has been given authority without understanding and a coat of chain-mail privilege or a shield of sanctioned righteousness and is immune to even the best aimed arrows. This is a plague that has been released, scampering over the fields it has been given full rein to multiply and procreate... lok at the figures for moderator training. So perhaps a little bit of voodoo, some vaccination and innoculation by principles of old, and a big noise maker to scare away the rats might help us as well. If it improves the lot of young children then we are obliged to incorporate it into our teacher selves, if it doesn't we are obliged to do our very best to ignore, diminish, delay, hinder and generally render it unharmful. We are obliged to respect the principles of teaching in our relations with those forming human beings we are priveleged to have been given the opportunity and responsibility to educate in our assumed role of teacher - and that doesn't mean only in the school sense.. I laud your attempts to find method to combat the madness. Thanks for your quiet dignity, determination and decency which shine through. I for one have less of all those qualities as my exasperation has reached too far down, past my reserves of tolerance and disciplined, reasoned argument. For this really is a multi-headed hydra. You think you deal with one, and then another pops up and bites you. That is the way it has been in the early years since we set out on the Odyssey of enshrining certain principles and practice into a coherent myth, a legend for all to believe in. Instead we got a destination that has proven to be one step on the way. More and more impossible tasks seem to be sent our way just when we think we night have got somewhere. A Cyclops minister and a multi-headed QCA for example - (my limited classics background does not allow me to continue this analogy but you perhaps get what I mean).
    We have already suffered the pains of a thousand dictats tying our Gulliverian hearts to the stakes of Early learning goals, now it is the mythical Odyssian spectres that trouble us. Perhaps we need a different language to help us understand just what is going on down in the sand-pit grove!
  9. I agree.
    I do think that the early years domain has been turned into a bureaucratic, number-crunching, multi-headed hydra.
    And I agree that the way to address it is not to cooperate to the extremes. Do the minimum and fight your corner.
    We have always, for example, observed children as a natural part of our practice - but when did we need to evidence this in the time-consuming and onerous ways that take our time and energy away from children whilst observing the children?
    It's rather bizarre isn't it.
    Then do it your own way and don't pay lip-service to things which are wrong-thinking and which are not accompanied by professional time-management studies.
    Where are the time-management studies?
    Maybe we need to observe ourselves as seen by a fly on the wall and to think carefully about what truly benefits those children in our settings and contexts.
    Surely this is the higher law?
  10. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    much as I hate to say it the law it's as much of an ass as those that interpret it to their own ends and make unrealistic demands on teachers. The law says teachers need to provide parents with a report on their child and the next teacher with a summary of a child's ability (so they can plan for the child's needs) ... nothing wrong with that IMHO but the idea that we need to assign numerical values (which may in future inform league tables) to that child is wrong as is the way some moderation is carried out. It is intended as a "supportive" dialogue so why are some LAs grading teachers?
    Knowing this has no status in law may empower some teachers to question what they are being asked to do and stand up to those who judge us unfairly.
  11. "Knowing this has no status in law may empower some teachers to question what they are being asked to do and stand up to those who judge us unfairly."

    Absolutely - and not succumbing to pressures from visiting moderators and advisors to fulfil their individual expectations for paperwork etc.

    To be fair, though, it is very hard indeed to stand up to visiting people in authority even with experience under your belt. You would have to be a pretty confident, know your stuff newish teacher or carer to stand up against people attending our settings with 'authority'.

    I know of one particular local authority advisor who more than once managed to have me inexplicably and irrationally in tears at the drop of a hat! Dearie me - and I'm brave and can stand up to people!

    However, you can still stand up to people when you know your stuff even if you are in tears![​IMG]
  12. I don't know what IMHO is but I can say that I am an early years teacher through and through, but I am now questioning vehemently this idea of the need to plan for a child's next steps- as if it is possibe to do this coherently and realistically in any way for 10, 20 or 30 children, and is it necessary?. I don't think it is. Just show them the garden path, clear any weeds and hazards and let them walk, one step in front of the other, let them veer of at a tangent, backtrack, sit down on the grass or in the mud. They wll come to us, they are drawn to us naturally, but we have learn to wait and watch and listen and understand. It is almost as much a meditation as any other meditation on seeing into the truth of things. We answer from the depths of ourselves and- yes- the rsources we have to hand, have collected, and can apply, but that part is so superficial as to hardly warrant the paper we write it on. We are too concerned with individual progress and achievement at 3 and 4 and 5. The group experience, knowing other children, reflecting on their own experience and being given the language to do so is all perhaps we need to do- all the rest is conjecture and hyperbole.

    Which doesn't mean that iit is easy. just see how many people would chose to be even five minutes with a three-five year old on their own to know how tiring and it is and how selfless one has to be to interpret what they want. Parents do not plan the next steps, they live with their children. Playgroups worked equally as well as any nursery school with highly paid (comparitively) teachers like me. Steiner schools work just as well wthout all these layers of intellectualising about next steps. The trouble with next steps thinking is that it limits children to our conjectures of what their journey should be. I repeat my doubts, I see that tribes, groups and societies have done and continue to do equally as well for their children without trying to report abstract progress at three to parents or to following teachers. Where this used to be the stuff of conversations between early years teachers, it is now assumed to be cut and dried, to be containable within the language of moderation, planning, progress and achievement and that it is measureable within the SIPS scales, profile points etc. It hasn't gone away, I just think we are collectively deluding ourselves that it is not necessary, that filling in reams of mapping paper somehow makes up for a direction. It hasn't gone away because as long as children grow into adults who work with young chilidren, or adults who try to re-integrate the child within themselves into their adult we are always going to need guides to understand ourselves. It is individual, spiritual growth and that is as much at the heart of teaching as any factual transmission before children are eight. As a teacher now I think I am as as much about displaying the unity between the child and the man to give succour to the growing man within the child as I am about anything. To share the search for solutions and next steps together in the moment, without having them clearly mapped out. To read the map together, even -if I can but get there- to help them sense they are drawing their own map and I am following.

    I don't want to appear to diminish our professional responsibility, I just want to redefine it in terms of responsibility - ability to respond- to what young chldren really need. I have been in nurseries where this wasn't happening, where minumum provision and minimum interaction are happening, and I have tried transplanting these ideas onto what is essentially infertile ground. Hoever that infertility was not in the children, nor if the abitlites or hearts of the adults but in the dashed hopes and aspirations of those adults in the setting. THey could be given any number of road maps but the direction still would have eluded them We have always said we hold dear a principle that the young child is learning from the moment they are born, that they are not an empty vessel etc, yet I see us doing just the oppposite. That metaphoric-symbolic play and intensity of being that occurs between three and five does not need overly complicated responses, but it does need to be understood, and given time to flourish by those who observe and wait, quietly nourish and extend. It is surely the discovery of new relations and connections, of new interpretations, of inverting, reversing, and 'playing' with any concrete experience which gives lterally 'food for thought', all the rest are hopeful punts in the dark. And it is we the teachers who are in the dark, if we think that teaching is a science which can be defined, calibrated and repeated .

    We have acres of planing sheets which are supposed to be about PLODding or SCHEMAing, or NEXT STEPping. yet are any of them really worth the effort put into them? Many people may say yes and that is fair enough, however I am questioning them and am not doing it on a whim, but as a teacher of young children. I recently asked my 79 year old former mentor, lecturer and one time head of a progressive London primary school, still working voluntarily with failing children (yes at 79 still working-for love not moeney) and who had a fame for reaching out to the most difficult children what she thought was at the heart of teaching, she said; 'to get the children to believe that you really are interested in them and what they have to say' which is almost the same albeit a word or two from the words of Margaret Macmillan. How many of us could say so simply and clearly that we have arrived at such a point in our teaching?

    I say we are all on some magic roundabout for which someone else has a hand on the lever and for which there's no Zebedee to say that's it time for bed. I appreciate what you say and what you do for others on here Msz, I feel we have become far too complicated about the simple and far too simple about what is really worth the time and effort to reflect upon. . I want to get to the heart of teaching because that is what I do every day. It is my experience of life, I want to get to the heart of it, I don't want to accept a limited view of it, nor a half-compromise that fits someone else's easy measuring scheme. Nor to have it moderated into acceptability, or made grey and neutrally accepted.
  13. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    *Stands up and cheers.
  14. An interesting thread but....yohanalicante.........precis!
  15. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Bravo, Johana - another fabulous post, despite your difficulties with formatting! [​IMG]
    I posted earlier, just a short thing about the difference between 'achieve' and 'attain' because I have a deep dislike of the word 'achieve' as it is used to describe children's natural development. I don't mean in every area. When our children finally manage to get from one end of the monkey bars to the other after months of trying, I count that as an achievement.
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    For those who haven't seen it I think this is what inky is referring to
    Equally, clarity on the nature of the EYFS profile as a record of <u>attainment</u>, not <u>achievement</u>, needs to be established amongst all stakeholders. Appropriate acknowledgement of this should be reflected in both national and local analysis of data.
  17. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    A quick google has reminded me that the two word are largely synomymous but that attain has a second meaning more to do with reaching [eg an age] and less to do with effort.
    Maybe the people who are telling us that we should use attain rather than achieve should clarify this. It's important, after all.
  18. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    Is it true to say that attaining some of the scale points is really not much of an achievement at all?

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