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The Independent Support Group - open to all by mac64

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by mac64, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. boatmanco

    boatmanco New commenter

    Hi Hedda

    I am in a county where I cannot "top up" fees ie add onto a session after vouchers. We also have to keep this flexible (again from county).
    we have 2 1/2 hour voucher sessions from 9 -11.30am.
    We have before nursery care 8 -9am
    we have lunch 11.30 -1pm.
    Then we are in the process of calling ourselves an activity centre in the afternoon to get round the inflexible rules from county. Ofsted seem fine with it so...we'll see.
    Not sure what will happen when we go to 3 hour vouchers but I expect we'll offer that session 9 -12noon.
    anyway...back to learning journeys..
  2. Boatmanco
    Gosh- that is quite an annoying state of affairs and I am not sure how a private enterprise could survive. You run the risk of just taking the nursery grant and nothing else and running at a loss.You would go bust!
    I am not sure I quite understand?
    What happens for a child in Reception who receives voucher and attends all day and might not be 5 until July ? Parents must top up fees beyond 2 and half hours in that case
    How would the LEA suggest that you operate that system if you did not offfer sessional care but full daycare. How would any daycare setting be able to take the nursery grant and also be able to operate if they could not top up beyond 2 and half hours..
    Also- come Sep 2010 state schools will be offering flexible entitlement which means that parents can choose how to use their 15 voucher hours not just choosing threehour daily sessions but linking sessions together.
    So your LEA's interpretation does not really make sense.
    I really think that LEA have got it wrong and I don't see how you can afford to operate like that.

    Interesting to see what other's do?

  3. Government "pseudo educationalists and bureaucrats" should not be telling prep schools what to teach children, according to a leading prep school head. John Tranmer, the in-coming chair of the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS), said it was a "sorry day" for the sector when it lost the freedom to choose its own curriculum for under-fives. The comments are part of wider fears that the Early Years Foundation Stage is limiting the freedoms associated with independent nurseries and reception classes. In a speech to the IAPS conference in Jersey, Mr Tranmer said schools are trying to make the new curriculum work because "we have no choice".
    The above was in TES today.
  4. Hi
    Can anyone tell me if there are any guidance notes to go with the ISI EYFS SEF which I have the pleasure of trying to complete! There are lots of documents on the website but nothing that seems to give direct guidance in the way that there is for the OFSTED version of the form.
    Has anyone actually managed to complete theirs? I'm struggling to get going so any support would be appreciated.
    Thank you

  5. Hi kas220 I'm afraid I haven't seen any. The SEF is on my to do list and has been since the summer. since then I have been trying to make sure I am meeting all the blinking regulations and searching for policies which I am told exist .... oh, and there's also my class to teach! Am happy to share if I can figure it out! BTW are we down to four areas for inspection from 6? If so, might be 2 less boxes to fill in!
  6. It's Section 3 - Overall Effectiveness that makes me feel ill every time I look at it!
    I know how you feel regarding regulations and policies - I still at least 3 missing and worry constantly that I have over looked something.

  7. boatmanco

    boatmanco New commenter

    Hedda Yes its all madness and LEA under some kind of investigation apparently.
    Lots of private nurseries have already closed and we are nearly at the point where we wont accept grant as its not worth it!
    Reception-basically we do top up as the parents pay fees minus the grant. I'm leaving that on to the Bursar! Not sure what will happen in September when the 3 hours come in.
    However we are also down on our weeks we offer -ie the grant is for 14 weeks -we open for 12.... how does anyone else in Indie deal with this?? We have a holiday club and if parents want it, at the mo, we take the grant off that too...its a mindfield and open to so many interpretations.
    SEF -I'm completing mine this week so Ill let you know!!
    Completely off the point a minute....
    how do you deal with parents coming in with Reception? I am fed up with having so many parents coming in in the morning causing more mayhem that necessary! Do you keep them all out or are they allowed in?
  8. Re fees/nursery vouchers:
    We were told by LA auditors that we were not allowed to credit vouchers against fees ie vouchers paid for a 'free session'. They give us less than £3 hour and our fees work out at more than this. We are on 2.5 hours, and run 3.5hr sessions, so charge for the extra hour. We are out of pocket. I have not yet had the energy or time to start to think about 3 hours free provision... We could go down the 'extras' line for music, swimming, snack, lunches etc, but don't want to do this. Nursery bills take days and several aspirin to compile as it is.Labour govt has said that it will fund places for 2 year olds and pay for this by making provision for 3-4 year olds means tested, which will make life even more interesting ....

    Re parents in Reception .... I have lots too - far worse than last year. Ours have to go to assembly as I do it, so I make loud comments to children about not getting more resources out because it's nearly time for assembly - usually hurries them along.
    Boatmanco - do you get non contact time as Head - I'm struggling!

  9. http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/everychildmatters/_download/?id=6328
    This is a link re change to funding/hours come 2010
    It is huge but look at pages 8 and 13... also deep in document it says that LEA must consider the financial impact on pvi settings.
    Might be one of those documents you can wave at LEA perhaps.

  10. Well we have got as far as downloading it and are going through it together next week with our leader, and i am hoping she has more idea than me.
    Will let you know the glitches that we find.
  11. Oh dear- I am still in the state of cognitive ignorance, but that will all change next week after the meeting.
    Let's keep chekcing in on this thread for support!
  12. Well at the start of term we send out an A4 check list type thing which tells parents what the children need, staff names, snack etc and and on it we put that the morning is a busy time and we will be happy to speak with parents privately after school, if they make an appointment and we remind parents that we cannot speak confidentially with them at the start of the day.
    Also we have a pastoral parents' evening within three weeks of the children being in school- and that seems to settle parents and give them confidence.
    We also have a gradual start to the day and children come into school over a thirty minute period, which avoids the parent rush.
    I work with several nns who worked in daycare and on first joining us and they were very chatty with parents beyond settling the children, which was causing parents to linger more than necessary until I explained that is not the way that we do it in our school setting and I needed all hands on deck with the children for a calm start.
    One never wants to be thought of as unapproachable but body langauge and looking busy avoids beig collared at the start of the day.

  14. mac64

    mac64 New commenter

    Not sure I can be a great deal of help but will try. We went through this leading up to a two inspection in May and all went well! I'm not there anymore so I don't have access to paperwork although I may have some backed up. I can at least list some bits and pieces which seemed to help us or could have caused problems.

    The SEF and the Dev Plan were both very important. If you something on it then they looked to see what you were doing about it. Try not to set yourselves up with too much but too little will also cause probelms. We had space and toilet issues which we featured in the SEF and DPLAN. Our head made a point of speaking to the the inspection about the toilets prior to them coming and then old architect plans and quotes as well as new ones were included as evidence of intent. Sad to say we actually made a visual diary thing which had photos for each six areas of learning. The photos were not separeated out but combined both R & N. Primarily recent but also as many as we could find to illustrate the AoL and some of the SEF. It was something they looked at and referred in the final report.
    Outdoor provision was looked at. I has set up a cafe outside which thankfully was welll used and a littled worn looking by the time they came. Lots of writing materials left outside and postit notes which were often stuck all over the playground with scribbbles/emergent writing etc. We had a blackboad and some posters and left all the bits in boxes so they could used whenever possible. We had a porch covering the outside (not much and a little tacky looking) which gave the illusion of an extended classroom and allowed us to leave the dressing up etc outside. Our PA had helped us by lightweight plastic sand/water tray, picnic tables, a four sided easel and barbeque set, all easy to move by staff and children. We had giant Lego bricks.

    Our R folders featured anything we could actually fit to them and lots of photos. Lots of bits and bobs from children and parents included. Wow sheets too. We had a class folder featuring the weekly diary and N had daily worksheets. I regret not including my notes about changes to the R class as I moved in from Y1. In the final report the ways we had developed things had not been acknowledged which was a shame. So if you have made changes show them. Maybe in your planning/note books. Our outdoor play in both N & R had been developed from almost non existent to ongoing and well used. Far from perfect but a great deal better than if the inspectors had arrived a year before so it's important to show off what you have tried to do or are doing.
    We examples of reading record books which I had labelled as reading/communication books. Home/school realtionships a big thing too. Make sure you have self registration in both classes and also forms for parents/carers to sign on arrival and when departing as well collection info. All should be included as part of an EY folder but both rooms should have them claerly seen and used in the classroom. A digital register from KentEd is good and easy to use. As R children used magnetic pictures Sept - Dec, Magnetic names and then the KentEd register (I think this is something I picked up Msz). Early am in N toys and drawing bits. In R, handwriting/pattern work with music playing (Baroque) during which we all had to whisper (very good for parents who need a hint to leave). Children could choose word/poem cards or decide on letter work which they felt needed doing. This would last approx 15 minutes followed by prayers.
    Staffing - make sure in playground areas that you have at least one level 6 person available when there are large groups (15+). Seems obvious but our N staff would usually have two outside with the children when all were outside (two of whom level 4 and the other Level 3) and we still needed me out there (QTS/Level). If you do share any breaks with Y1 and Y2 again, make sure you have an EY people there. We shared lunch break with the infant classes. We had two lunchtime people and at least two of us. They pointed out this need without cricising us for it. Lots of conflicting info as we all know but if in doubt have as many people as possible and the higher the level the better.

    Food and drink was one we had to quickly get. I remember asking on TES the first day of our inspection. They had given a chance to locate any missing bits by saying "Oh we'll be looking at..... tomorrow" so we were lucky. If you have LA links use them. Quote them etc. Any inset stuff and planned areas of development for staff. Make sure everyone is working from the same hymn sheet. Despite all working in EY not everyone may have read all the info. We had a meeting focsed on 'do you know what the XXX is?' and all the current terms. Don't set yourself up for an all singing dancing set of observations. Go with your gut and do what you would normally do. At least if you have any little mishaps it will be witin your usual routine. They did not have set times for observing but popped in and out which was actually much better. The inspector actually asked me if I had planned something special and thankfully I hadn't so I felt calmer and truthful. I know a lot of people do set up something grand but... Maybe this is something now they focus on who knows. I wish I could just publish the reoprt but I can't but I'll try to read through it again.

    Not sure if this an issue for all or specific to our setting or inspector but planning sheets and obsheets needed to be fairly unifrm between the two classes. This was also something very new to our school. Both classes did some thinsg together (some dancing each week, a few topic bits) but used different planning formats etc. We used our LA link for this. She developed a format for planning so we could always blame her! Our N staff had been filling in many sheets per day! Our LA lady said to cut down and try to have similar formats between the two classes - not identical by clearly linked to show we were a unit. This was something absent previously. We started having free flow sessions whereby the two classrooms were open to all N & R children initially once a week and then two/three times a week. They bits and bobs we had outside R classroom were used by the N children vice versa. We did not stick hundreds of numbers or letters all over the playground as I know many people do. Labels in different langauges reflecting those found within the school etc.
    If I can I will somehow pass on to those in need any relevant paperwork. I should copied stuff before I left but we were all so relieved by the end of the summer. We survived. Sorry about the ramble but I just thought I could share some bits. They might help and maybe encourage others to share some of their successful bits.
  15. mac64

    mac64 New commenter

    Sorry if all of the previous is obvious it's just that we had been given so much conflicting advice over the years that some things were missed. For instance the R class self registered but the N didn't. Initially the R used the outdoor space everyday almost all day but the N didn't. The PA bits and bobs were added to with a grant from our LA so the N class had matching bits. Our LA also gave us a camera and some musical intruments. Get into uc with them and see what they have. It's not them actually doing you a favour but part of Gov money put aside for private settings so your school could be missing out. Here are some bits which you have probably covered...

    Allergy children notice (photo sheet) with info placed in a prominent position. First box and info also clearly displayed. Fire drill H&s notices to be seen. We had a large timetable with postits (now you know why they are useful) listing what, who and when. Key Person - we were always told that the class teacher was the KP but we had to quickly divide the class into 2 (I was KP for one half and my colleague KP for the other) and then send out a letter informing parents. Our parents were great. Knew we were to be inspected and understood that we had to be seen doing some things which were unfamiliar and so didn't panic. They were good about hanging around as well during the inspection period and quickly departed.
  16. mac64

    mac64 New commenter

  17. Dear mac
    This is so useful - thank you for taking the time to post at length! Why does my stomach do somersaults at the very thought of all this ....and I've got KS1 to worry about too. I would love to see anything you can find. I thought that the SEF had to be electronically submitted along with all the other gubbins (policies, develoment plans etc) when you got notice of inspection (I'm talking new cycle inspection), and this was used as basis of inspection, along with devt plan ..which would have grown out of needs identified in SEF. This was certainly the case in my last ofsted (maintained school - not EY), and I thought ISI was moving the same way.

    I will post any ideas when I get to look seriously at this - think it will be half term looking at the back log in my car boot!
    Can I ask how your parents were about R children accessing nursery?
  18. mac64

    mac64 New commenter

    I know the feeling! I hope never to go through anything like that again. No matter what paperwork seems to be the holy grail! The more they have to look at the happier they seem. Digital and hardcopy covers all. Try and get all the paperwork sorted asap so that if you hear of more you're still struggling with the basics. The SEF is supposed to be an on-going doc so even once it's submitted electronically it can always be added to etc showing that both it and the dev plan are real docs rather than just for show. We were during the first cycle after the EYFS chnges were introduced and ISI took on the EYs so there will probably be numerous changes.

    The parents actually seem to like it all. As an indie we were traditional having a certain amount of formality and as they parents could see that we hadn't abandoned this all especially the daily reading in R, both sets of parents approved of the changes especially as their children were happy and still learning in both classes. It wasn't perfect and needed more thought but it was a positive start and as we began in September implementing changes they became natural for all and gradually evolved and more CI in nature. It was more an internal issue as we could see that many staff didn't really feel comfortable and felt we were taking over the limited space. We had the usual comments especially about other children not treating resources properly (N, R and other classes) but I was impressed by all the children as they all at some point had some access (breaks etc) and so R & N had a great deal more access outside than we would have predicted. The R & N children got used to this approach and shared resources with few problems. Territory issues between staff seem to have lessened too. By sharing as many resources as possible it meant that all children had better access rather than saying no it belongs to one class alone. As the R children were usually using their own room for more formal activities (as were N) there were no real concerns. We also started having weekly dance and creative sessions together which meant staff shared activities and also got to know all children. We put this within our transition plan as a means of breaking the ice for both children and parents. Traditonally children from N, R use to join the next class for an afternoon or two in the summer during free choice which really didn't ease the transition. By making sure staff, parents and children were already familiar with each other from literally September it did seem to ease things a great deal.
  19. On reading further my HT has got this wrong and celestine is right.
    I am really frozen with fear over this for the cycle 3 at 5 days notice Inspection.

    I can't seem to get a handle on the SEF for EY. There is s much there I don't have info on and am reliant on whole school policy

    I just cannot get it into my brain as to how detailed this all should be. I don't want to copy other settings; ideas but would like to look at a variety of formats. Are there any links?
    Also I am not SMT and am only part time- so is it really my job ? Like all Indes it might not be my job but I am probably the only one to have some of the EY sepcific info.
    The other basic thing is- if the download is pdf - how do we fill it in and have the info ready to send back down the wire?
    Anxiety is growing.

  20. Me too. I worked all half term - giving half a day to my mother and half a day to mothering,and two days on paediatric first aid - and I still seem to be no further forward. It took me so so long to get all my EY files up to date, printing off photos and annotating, eprofiles etc, the policies I had to do and the SEF did not come anywhere near the top of the list!
    I have just looked at the pre inspection package for the rest of the department and I nearly cried! There is just so much to do I don't know where to start. I think I have just about got my head round the EYs stuff and know what I need, but still have not got it done. I was talking to someone else in inde EYs, and they have a complete set of their own policies separate from pre prep/ prep.I didn't want to do this but might have to.
    I had a hand in completing an Ofsted SEF in my last (maintained) school setting, so have an idea what it needs to say. I think if you are the one who knows EYs in your school, you would be advised to input into the SEF, as so much of what you say about yourself (and can evidence) can up in the final report. It needs to be analytical rather than descriptive as much as possible.
    What I did invest in and found very useful was Penny Tassoni's 'Foundation Stage Handbook', which goes through the EYFS principles, explains what they look like in practice (reassuring) and how you might evidence this. It was about £15 but I have found it good.
    By the way - have you heard the good news about staff ratios at playtime/lunchtime?

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