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Reception children lying on the floor when writing - ofsted has criticised

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by helenahoar, May 18, 2019.

  1. helenahoar

    helenahoar New commenter

    I am working for two terms in a school which is in special measures. Ofsted and HMI were in this week. My phonics lesson was observed and I have been pulled up for having the children lying on the floor to write 6 words in a book. Am I wrong to be spitting feathers over this?
    I have taught the children how to lie with feet together on the floor, non-writing arm in correct position etc as in kinetic letters. This is preferable to balancing a book on their knee or wasting time going to a table to write. There are twelve children in the group so they would have to sit on two tables anyway which makes it harder to teacher lead. Also lying on the floor strengthens core body muscles which are really important in writing.
    All this is carefully thought out so I am furious that the inspectors have been critical. I have taught in quite a few schools as a supply teacher where lying on the floor to write is standard practice. The quality of the work the children did in terms of presentation was good. Additionally a consultant who has been employed by the school advocated it. It is something I do anyway.
    I have previously been in a role where I worked with early years advisors to raise the quality of provision in a group of schools and this was also something we a advocated.
    I won't be in the school when the next visit is made but I want to write a report explaining why I consider writing lying on your tummy to be good practice. I am looking for some evidence and research on it. Does anyone have any thoughts?
    I resent very much being criticized on this. I am wondering if they are also saying the children are not year one ready and lying on the floor is inappropriate because of this. I agree they are not ready but also know schools which have all KS 1 children on the floor for long writes. The school is in a very deprived area.
    Sorry to go on. I appreciate your comments!
  2. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Am I the only person to see it as misplaced that it was you who was pulled up...?

    I'm no expert, but doing writing in a book on the floor seems wrong to me.
  3. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I worked in a school where the cool and trendy head thought that chairs and tables were outdated and that we should observe how children when they're truly engaged in something, such as reading for pleasure, watching Netflix, playing video games. They lounge about on the floor, they slouch, they don't sit up at a table. He advocated furnishing classrooms with beanbags. He thought it was innovative and modern.

    He was a fool and I left. Your kids lying on the floor to write as an occasional thing doesn't sound half as daft. I don't think I'd want it regularly but as a short 6 words once in a while I don't see that it's that big a deal.
  4. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I’m not a primary teacher......

    Ofsted don’t advocate any particular teaching style apparently...... but I don’t think this fits into such category?

    What did the head say? You aren’t going to win against Ofsted. They aren’t going to change the feedback. If you’re trying to justify it to the school, fair enough.

    I’d not waste your time worrying. Most of this Job and observation in particular is subjective. Move on.

    I don’t really like the idea of kids writing on the floor from a developmental point of view..... but I accept I as a secondary teacher am not an expert here
    phlogiston likes this.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    If the writing is fit for purpose I don't give a sheet whether they're at a table or lying on their backs with their legs up the wall!

    Leave it. You're right and they're wrong. Petty-minded. The next thing you know is they'll be giving them quill pens and telling them their cap isn't on straight and their writing is worthless because their handkerchief hasn't been starched!
  6. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Agree with above posters. I wouldn't want to see children attempt a piece of extended writing while lying on the floor (unless it was a child's choice and they produced great work!) but I'd have no problem with them writing 6 words there as part of a phonics session.
    You're never going to win with Ofsted, so put it behind you and carry on.
  7. GirlGremlin

    GirlGremlin Occasional commenter

    My first thought was that lying down writing on the floor was awful.

    But I'm secondary.

    My next thought went to my friends who work in London in trendy offices... They have lounge areas, bean bags, sleeping pods etcetc all that jazz. They work for some of the best companies in the world, and isn't lying in the floor to write sort of in the same category?

    As long as there is an alternative provided for those who find it uncomfortable (I probably would) I think it's fine in moderation.
    jlishman2158 and agathamorse like this.
  8. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    They should be sitting.
    saluki, towncryer, Alice K and 3 others like this.
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Kids in R. Yeah, sit them at a desk. Ramrod straight. Smack 'em if they don't.

    Blimey, half of them could still be in nappies. It's phonics. It's not calligraphy. All that counts is grasping the concept of the CVC or whatever. They can write it in the sandpit with a stick or put their fingers in blancmange. It doesn't MATTER!

    It only has to be legible enough for the teacher to see you got it right! Or wrong. And then have another stab at teaching it.

    Actually they're more likely to engage with it if you did it outside in the sandpit or made the letters out of plasticine. I'd happily give them magnetic letters to stick on the whiteboard. Far, far better than any form of writing when you're aged 4 or 5.
  10. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    Personal opinion: for short phonics type activity I’d be happy with the floor but would want them to learn to write at a desk as well. Is this linked to that Bold Beginnings report? Didn’t that have something in about sitting at desks with correct posture for writing?

    If you’ve got evidence to support your view there’s no harm in writing it down for your SLT but don’t be surprised if they just want it changed for Ofsted’s next visit.
  11. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    They're 4!
    If it works, do it. If it doesn't, stop.
    Oh wait.... I'm back in the dark ages before we became robots and script readers.
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    For my part I don't want R kids learning to write at all! Not unless someone comes to me during a play-period (which ought to be most of the time) and tells me they badly want to learn to write their name.

    It ought to be left much later. Leave it later, let them improve their hand-eye coordination with riding bikes and painting and threading beads etc. Then, when they're nearing seven, they'll be champing at the bit to write and able to do it fairly competently and fairly quickly.

    They should be listening to stories in R and reading sight vocabulary and maybe even some phonics. No writing. Playing with letters? That's OK. But writing? No. I don't care what OFSTED or Michael Gove or anyone else says.

    They're wrong. I'm right. And the Germans are not the only ones to agree with me. But they'll do for a start.

    German primary school (Grundschule)
    Children start primary school in the autumn term (around September) in the year a child turns six years old, and stay there until age 10. However, some German states have cut-off dates (such as 30 June or 31 December) to determine if a child can start school if they haven’t yet turned six when school starts. If a child does not turn six before the cut-off date, they are considered a kann Kind (literally ‘can child’) as opposed to a muss Kind (‘must child’). A muss Kind will be guaranteed a school place, while a kann Kind may be required to pass a test (Einschulungsuntersuchung) to prove their ability to attend school.

    Administrators do not push early admissions based on the assumption that even if the child is intellectually ready they may still not be socially and physically ready.
  13. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    Boys often prefer to write lying on the floor so it's one way to encourage reluctant writers. Same with standing up leaning on a ledge. I have no problem with it. Let them write where they want to, there's plenty of time later for having to sit to write. Besides, the ELGs are meant to include examples of writing children have initiated themselves, so could be anywhere, writing on the underside of tables being popular in my last school. (On paper of course, but lying on their backs)
  14. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    And some Ofsted eejit wants them sitting at at desk?
    Do they realise how old they actually are?
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  15. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    What was the reason given?

    If health and safety then I suspect you have no excuse.

    Personally I would think that writing while lying on the floor brings a child's face much closer to the pencil end, provides greater opportunities for others to trip over them and increases the chance of a resulting eyeball kebab.
  16. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    It isn't something I would do or think is ideal. However, a class of 12 in a short phonics lesson in a school in special measures in a very deprived area is a million miles away from my school and I'd not dream of suggesting you are wrong. If it works, then it's right for you and your class.

    You are leaving. You know what you believe in and what you want for your classes. Ofsted can write what they like...it matters not at all to you. You know that in the next visit there will be a different inspector who will deem the lesson outstanding precisely because children were lying on the floor to write.
  17. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    In my teaching career I was just glad if certain students wrote anything!
  18. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    You've got young children taking an interest in writing and doing what they're told. They are willing to learn to write, why does it matter how they do it?

    I used to hate writing at desks I would have loved to be able to enjoy writing as a child. If they're comfortable, doing it right and making progress who cares if they're at a desk or not?

    Sounds like they're trying to drag everyone else down because they don't realise what's going on in classrooms.
    BTBAM85 and jlishman2158 like this.
  19. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    If the expectations of posture etc aren't instilled in EYFS they become so difficult to get later on. If the OFSTED inspector went into y1, y4 and y6 and saw the same because the child prefers lying on the floor and has done since nursery, is that too ok?
  20. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    I did writing on the carpet with 3 of my ‘struggling’ pupils today. 2 out of 3 laid straight on their tummies and 1 stayed sitting. They were all working well so I didn’t see a problem. Pick your battles and all that.
    phlogiston likes this.

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