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Key workers.....

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by geniegirl, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. This year we are introducing key workers in our Reception classes. We work as a Reception unit with nearly 80 children and 3 classes. We still have a week before they are in full time as we are doing home visits. Each class has 1 TA (although my TA works part time, so I have another in the afternoon).
    Having never worked anywhere with key workers before, has anyone got any advice or can tell me how it actually works? As far as I know the TAs won't be getting extra time to plan for their set of children or go through their Learning Journeys - so not sure when they will actually do that? We are going to be really focussing on 'next steps' this year, and this is why the school have decided key workers may work, as before it has been very hard to plan for next steps with so many children!
    Thanks in advance!!
     
  2. We are two classes of 30 in Reception. Lack of separate spaces for key groups has meant that key workers really does not work for us and we only use it for occasional circle times, show and tell, grouping children into two 'teams' for whole class activities.
    My head was quite clear that he employs one key worker per class and that is the class teacher. We already expect our TA's to take on a lot of teaching responsibility, but it is ultimately the teacher's responsibility to plan for children's next steps, with TA's supporting through the feedback they can give us.
    If you say TA's won't have any additional time to do the additional work, you will need to give them time to do it when children are there. Learning Journals can be done with the children to a large extent, maybe planning could involve them somehow too.
    I certainly do not have any magic answer to this problem - my own solution is to only pay lip-service to key workers. It doesn't stop us effectively planning next steps as a team.
     
  3. hurny

    hurny New commenter

    Here is some info about key persons which are different to key workers. The EYFS requires each child to have a key person allocated to them.
    In a reception class the key person can be the class teacher for all children, but if there is a TA, then s/he can be responsible for some children as well.
    I am still thinking about what to do this year as I didn't have a key person system last year. My TA and I shared care of the children, but I didn't allocate children to each on of us. I have a full-time TA.
    After reading the document from the EYFS CD http://www.birthtofive.org.uk/pdf/indepth2.4.pdf , I might allocate specific children to each of us so parents have someone specific to approach when they need help and for helping the children when upset or looking at learning journals. I will not be expecting my TA to make plans for them, or to meet with parents to talk about progress as this is not her responsibility. When I was a nursery nurse in a Reception class I was key person for 15 children (half the class) and did all their plans, met with parents etc. but as a nursery nurse I was paid to do this. I don't think TAs should be expected to take on the extra work.
    Here's some more info about key persons:
    http://www.practicalpreschoolbooks.com/Content/Site120/FilesSamples/399KeyPersonApp_00000000208.pdf
    www.six.somerset.gov.uk/somerseteds/do_download.asp?did=24377
    We focus on 3 children per week, this way we can ensure each child is having their next steps planned for (we include parents in this too).

     
  4. I work in a two form entry unit, 60 fs1 (30 am then 30 pm) 60 fs2 and tried out key workers properly last year and think it was a great success! We are lucky on one hand because of the size of our unit we have a good number of staff so each key worker group had 10 children. The staff built fantastic personal relationships with the children in their group, children often sought out their key worker specifically to show them their achievements/share concerns. We worked it so for 10-15 mins before morning focus key worker groups would meet for news/circle time/sharing home link books etc, they would also be in the same groups for phonics. We are going to develop it this year giving key workers more time to develop learning journeys with the children, possibly sharing them during one key worker session a week. It was lovely to see at the end of last year the personal notes and gifts from parents specifically for key workers, they were obviously really valued [​IMG].
    We are also thinking about next steps more specifically this year too, it is hard with 120 next steps! Even though I have 30 children in my class I also observe and assess the 90 others when on cp/op! We use weekly meetings to discuss observations with all staff to hopefully group next steps as best as possible for the following week or two. Would love to hear how people manage next steps in large settings.
     
  5. Thank you for all your replies! I guess I will see how our head envisages it in his meeting this week!
    I think next steps are so hard in such a big setting, and this is something we failed miserably at last year! We also observe all 80-90 of our children during the CI time, and once a week we sit down and do all the learning journeys. At our meeting each week we have 5 minutes to discuss what the children have done but we don't really think where we should be taking this the following week. Any help or advice on this would be great!!
     
  6. swotter

    swotter New commenter

    Have a box in your weekly planning that has the children you are observing, (try to get through all children in a half term on a rota basis). Then have another box with the children you observed the previous week with the next steps/areas to focus on or develop etc that cropped up from the previous week's planning. You then need to plan these next steps into some of the activities. This could be in a group activity or an incidental child initiated activity. Evaluate what the children achieved.
    Keep it simple at the beginning and as you or your key worker gets to know the child then these can be more complicated.

     

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