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The Independent Support Group - open to all by mac64

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

  1. mac64

    mac64 New commenter

    Hi Hedda. Thanks for the link. Yes we've starting feeling the pinch coupled with a bad three year period (the HT that just left cost a lot in donations, fees from families who left etc). Our new HM is an inspector and has arranged for a mini inpsection for all departments which says a lot about the way things have declinded in our school over the last three years. We had a return visit in 2004 during which we 'disarmed' the inspectors and were riding on a high. The head that got us through that did wonders for us all but once he left (internal politics!) his replacement was young, inexperienced (fast track), arrogant and hated the school (parents, children and staff). Now we have to repair the damage done and cope with the new recession. We've just lost one wealthy family and the corportae families will probably start to disappear. That makes this inspection year for us even worse! The management/bursor is complaining about heating and light costs. There is a very tense atmosphere around and it's only November! I think the biggest lost is going to be the corporate gang and those who are supported by grandparents paying fees.
    Has anyone else had a mock inspection? Prior to hearing we were having one someone had mentioned these to me as something which occurred when there were doubts about passing so once our HM announced my heart sank. We had a a weak inspection report which was followed by a good one and the head then never needed to have a mock inspection. The EY section then in our school may possibly by the end of this academic year have the equivalent of four visits (mock, consultation or moderation by LA, ISI and OFSTED). Really feeling p........ off and angry for staying on. Our new head suggested inviting the LA in knowing that he had arranged a mock inspection so really annoyed with him. This year is going to be a rotten one for all who are being inspected due to all the confusion with the EYFS and the credit crunch. Hedda how did your moderation vivit go? Or is still to come?
     
  2. ]

    I quite agree about loss of corporate families from overseas- we have noticed that too.

    No we have never had a mock inspection. Don't really see the need if H.T. has done his sef. In retrospect the last Insepction did not focus on the teaching in quite the same way as in the past- really SMT took the brunt of it. In the classroom they were looking for specific aspects which came out of the sef and the initial look see, which happened some months before the actual Inspection Unless you were brilliant or ruddy awful there was no official individual feedback as in the past. Some of us were interviewed -just to see if we could expand on some points not necessarily in our area but did we feel involved etc.

    I really did not enjoy it and hope I retire before the next one but the months leading up to it were far worse than the Inspection itself. There must have been some folk who were hardly seen at all and so they must have felt quite deflated after the build up

    Moderator is in next week. I will keep you posted. I am determined to remain distanced and professional and arm myself with all the relevant bits, which say three pieces of evidence are not necessary and ISC letter. I must not pre judge the meeting and expect difficulties where there might not be any.

    There goes that flying pig again!

    It went all right last time and I feel we are now much improved but of course the goal posts have moved. Lat time the moderator trembled...
     
  3. boatmanco

    boatmanco New commenter

    Interesting article -Thanks hedda



    We have noticed corporate families returning from abroad and coming to us. We have also had a few diplomat families returning from abroad too.

    Our numbers are strong but we have had notice from a few local families whose fees are paid for from Grandparents or a few parents have lost jobs etc. So sad. Our school is small so if 3 or 4 families leave it makes a huge difference! We have had less interest in boarding too.


     
  4. Hi everyone - hope all going well. Mac64 - sorry to hear you a bit down in the dumps. ..[​IMG]

    I was just wondering if Hedda or anyone, had any words of advice. I think I remember her saying that she had brought about some changes in her school. I'm struggling. I took over as HoD in Sept. Play is a 4 letter word, 'the parents' like children to stick pre cut bits of paper on predrawn sheets, apparently, and Y1 spend their time copying words they cannot read off the board, and use 'dictionaries' to aid their writing. The same long term plans have been used for years ..what ever I suggest - and I am nudging gently - the staff chunter and tell me that 'the parents' like things they way they are. They seem to think that because I've moved from state school, I know nothing. I appreciate that I've still got a lot to learn but I do know that the children are not learning as much as they might. The LA advisor has been in and has actually been very supportive and has explained continuous provision (again) to the nursery staff. There is so much that I want to do, but I am losing enthusiasm. I know the term's getting on, and I am getting tired. ..reports...nativities ....but I am beginning to panic (sleepless nights) about EYFS because there is still so much to put in place. HT is supportive, but not particularly involved. Any suggestions?
     
  5. Is it R or nursery or yr1 that need the change or all three?
     
  6. Hi Hedda - I'm in rec - I wanted to get them going with sythetic phonics, and they;re doing really well. I structure my day with focus and ci and I'm pleased with their progress. The problems are that N goes nowhere near meeting current expectations, and Y1 is SO formal, the teacher is already worrying that rec won't cope when they get to her next year...I don't know where to start. Well actually, I have made a start, with rec, and the parents have been great so far. Where do I put my energies - what's left of them - next?
     


  7. Y1 is SO formal, the teacher is already worrying that rec won't cope when they get to her next year...

    That is a bit of a problem and really means that she is worrying how she will cope about adapting her methods.

    Lets leave Mrs Yr 1 aside.

    Nursery

    I think you need to look at their routine and spend time with them if you can.

    I altered the following

    Looked at timetable- made the first hour ci. before any focus work took place.

    Really tightened up on timings and got much more into the the day.

    Insisted support staff were punctual back from breaks and did not natter in sessions. Made sure I did the sane and arrived before then. Modelled what I expected them to do during ci time to enhance play.

    Estabished a continuous provision/rota of learning opportunity activities over a 4 week period so resources were varied and the same old stuff was not put out every day.

    Established playtime as outside provision time with resources.

    Had snacks insided sharing as a group- Lunch time as family dining

    Introduced self registration and established and built on exixting routine

    Intoruduced a reward system to focus on behaviour

    Made carpet time much shorter and group work shorter and more differentiated.

    Insisted there was no formal recording for maths and no work books.

    Made work more process led rather than product led- eg things needed to be kids own work not adults and they don;t have to be uniform.

    Did not send reading books home for Nursery but children but chose picture book twice weekly

    Introduced an asessment scheme based on stepping stones

    Introduced a systematic way of observing one child a day across six areas of learning.

    Extended the nns paid time so they had a half hour before and after school to review prepare or write up .

    Made sure that nns had copy of plans for the week.

    Established long and medium term plans- but that may not be the in thing now.

    It took 4 years- but the planning and ci provision got going in the first term.










     
  8. Thanks Hedda .. I was reassured by the 4 years bit!

    As I have full time class commitments I find it hard to get in to nursery, but all of what you say makes sense. I think it will be much easier to monitor provision later this year - I am moving nursery to be next door to rec. We will each have our own room but will share some space where I hope to put construction, small world and maybe a book corner - essentially non messy activities as this shared space is used for other activities after school. We've been over contiuous provision and I hope that by drawing up a long term plan for each area with nursery staff will highlight the learning opportunities. NN works short hours so maybe getting her time extended might help. She is not qualified either, but is 'thinking about' the nvq and I have her and nursery teacher booked onto 3 day course next year - creating a learning environment/how children learn. Moving rooms will also give me access to some resources as I am desperately short of appropriate equipment - rec was running like y1 with lots of work sheets. Did you do anything to inform parents about how the children learn through being active - the process not the product etc? I'm already getting - 'parents like to think they'll be moving up into rec'. 'parents like to see their work (in books)' . I realise that change is hard, and that they've been doing things this way for a LONG time. Nursery teacher genuinely wants the best for her children - guess I can't expect things to change overnight..

    Thanks Hedda - I'm very grateful - things get a bit lonely ...!
     
  9. We produce a a booklet called a guide to Foundations stage for parents and a different one for staff Al staff invited to comment and amend handbook so they had ownership..Also took photos for a display which I annotated and used to describe what we did to prospective parents.

    Over the years we have had positive feedback about the change.One parent commented that her younger child had achieved more under the changed "liberal" regime than her older child when things had been more formal.

    We also have trial session for new children before they sign up so parenst can get a feel for our style.

    I got the most negative feedback from an unqualified nn, who rather undermined me at the start, because perhaps she was frightened,as the formal method was all she knew and she had no prior education other than her own motherly experience as an inde parent; So much so that I wanted to leave- discussed it with HT.and she supported me. H.T. gave me advice that when necessary change happens people will gradually adapt or leave, however well managed.

    We are all still in post- thank goodness,Other new staff have joined us in that 4 year period because of rising numbers and when appointing it is a good idea to see if you can have an active involvement in their appointments so as to get likeminded people on board.

    NN has not come on board entirely, but we work to and value her strengths in the creative areas and she takes on different projects, which interest her. Not ideal, but she is more positive when parents are around now. Make sure that staff who have negative opinions don't get a chance to feed this back to parents when they meet and greet. I ahve developed a thicker skin.

    To be frank the threat of an immminent Inspection, eighteen months after my appointment, filled everybody with such dread that survival instinct took over and they came on board a little quicker than I had imagined. Of course, then I would have to take the can if it went pear shaped, but It didn't -we got a mention for exemplary practice- I would have been happy with satisfactory. So in this case there was an upside to Inspection.

    Courses are a good idea as you say, in particular Letters and Sounds Also make sure everybody has own copy of it and EYFS . I also led a couple of INSETS just a few hours- key facts to areas of learning- going through planning etcs. Asking for suggestions or feedback.
     
  10. <font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman">Had moderators first visit today- she is coming back in six months. </font></font><font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman">Nice person but I am really not impressed with the system.</font></font><font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman">At her next visit, six months from hence, she will choose 1 child- observe child with myself and then discuss our joint observations.
    o Have another gin




     
  11. mac64

    mac64 New commenter

    Give the kids the camera and say that you only collected ci evidence if the childrne wanted you to.

    Make it all up as they'll change as the fashion season changes.

    Have another two gins....
     
  12. Cheers!

    Make them doubles!


     
  13. mac64

    mac64 New commenter

    Can you email Dame Judith or the ISC?
     
  14. mac64

    mac64 New commenter

    Ice and a slice?
     
  15. Hi all, started this as another thread but Hedda recommended me opening it up to all indies.
    We are in the process of starting outdoor play properly. Our Head isn't happy about a qualified teacher in Reception being outside working with groups and leaving a TA inside with 15 (ish) children.
    How do you organise the staff for outdoor play? Restrictions of timetabling in indie schools really doesn't help us as the chn go here there and everywhere during the day to specialist teachers. We have three reception classes each with a teacher and nursery nurse. We thought one memeber of staff could go out with 5 chn from each class (1:15 ratio) but since then problems have started with whether we are covered EYFS wise with a TA inside with the rest of the class?
    As we are due for inspection in a couple of months it is even more fundamental that we get this right! Any help on what you do in your settingor on whether you know about ratios would help. Feel quite unclear about this........
     
  16. I can only speak from my own experience and each school is unique and has its quaint inde ways.

    We have not embraced outside play in the way the LEA have advised. Our H.T.doubts the value of freeflow play and so do I. If we have to errect a gazebo then we feel that activity is best done indoors.

    We do use the outside area regularly during the day but not in a freeflow way as maintained might do. We do put out the six areas of learning outside for ci but probably only use it as a direct teaching focus space for pd and kuw. We will be outside for about 75 minutes in total broken up in sessions during a full day- perhaps more in better weather.

    We are all out or all in because the space is away from the class and we feel that 2 staff need to be out there because it is away from the main building of the school.We are a one form entry.

    We don't have specialist teachers in F.S.- so this is not an issue for us.

    As for leaving the TA with 15- there are times when I withdraw groups of children to a quiet room for focus work inside the building and the TA will have the bulk of the class. I am however within shouting range- so she is not abandoned and this would be for no more than hour in total spread out over the day. HT is ok with this.

    However as you know in Inde schools parents like to see teacher firmly in charge.

    Have you seen the Dame Judith letter form ISC which indicates that Inde schools need not change their practice to accommodate EYFS.

    Type in Dame Judith in resources and you will find it.




     
  17. Thank you.... feel a bit better about things now actually. TA would only be left alone for about 40 minutes a week, maybe more if we increase outdoor play but at the moment only managing to offer 2 windows of time on a Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday. Mondays and Fridays each teacher has said we'll take our own class out if time (which isn't ideal but timetabling restricts us.
    Having read a few other posts about similar issues realised not everyone offers freeflow, and it is impractical for some settings, so as long as they get the opportunity then we should be ok?
    Read the letter thanks, still everything is so hazy! Never mind, will find a way of making things work as always!

     
  18. A funny thing happened today.... I wonderd if you have any thought about it?

    I got a forceful letter from LEA today, quite out of the blue. I can see the funny side but at the same time feel hopping mad.

    It stated that our setting had failed to comply with the legal requirement of attending a cluster group moderation meeting this year and implied that they would need to take action.

    We must attend a moderation meeting on a set date- only a few days away. The advisor, who has never been to our setting, had already booked a place on the course for a member of staff from our school without consultation and the setting would be charged the cost of the course if nobody attended. Evidence for three children must be shown.

    Now we are only just into the fourth month of the academic year and although legally we know we need to attend one moderation meeting yearly- there are quite a few months to go yet before the Summer term and so we have hardly committed an illegal act.

    I am unable to attend on that date given because we have a school function and as in all Independent Schools it is important that parents see the class teacher on these occasions.

    To top it all- I have already spent an hour with our official moderator this term as it our turn to be "done" in May and am monitored by an advisory teacher on a termly basis.

    An example of the heavy handed LEA as suggested by ISC letter.


     
  19. Hi, have read this thread with interest. Am an NQT starting at an inde school in Rec in Jan. I was so happy to finally get a job, but having spent some time in the class/school environment last week, I'm really concerned. It is so formal, and mainly worksheet-based. They are just beginning to implement EYFS and do not have a structured synthetic phonics programme. No-one seems to have any belief in the EYFS principles themselves. For an NQT who has trained using the EYFS, it is rather worrying for me! I'm not sure what they want of me, as I was very clear during my interview (and through my interview observation lesson) of my principles and belief in creativity and practical, hands-on activities for EY education. I want to change the class structure a great deal and am wondering how to go about this without treading on anyone's toes. Being an NQT I don't know how much freedom I have with all this! My TA seems to think I should just do it how I think best as she is concerned that if we are to have an Ofsted inspection we would fail at the present time. There's so much potential for amazing observations if I sit in on the kids' specialist lessons for e.g., but no other EY teachers do that, so would that be stepping over the line?! I'm worried I'll start to make enemies if I start something like this. Any thoughts would be gratefully received. I don't mean to sound at all judgemental towards more formal education by the way! I'm just in a real quandry over how to marry the EYFS with the more formal expectations of the school/parents. Help!!! Many thanks everyone. Bec x
     

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