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The Route to EYPS

I'm ploughing through the written tasks at the moment, and thought I'd take a break for reflection.

It's probably a good idea to give a brief description of the 5 tasks, some of which have separate parts.

Tasks 1, 2, and 3 require candidates to write about how they have supported other practitioners to implement the early years curriculum with babies (task 1), with toddlers (task 2) and with Foundation Stage children (task 3). One of the tasks must demonstrate leadership and support for an individual practitioner, and at least one for a group of practitioners. The headings under which we write are; the nature of the activity; how you planned the activity; how you carried out the work; how you monitored the implementation and effectiveness of the activity; how you evaluate your personal learning.

I've written about how I supported a newly-appointed babyroom supervisor to improve provision, to lead her staff team, and to focus on baby/staff interactions (task 1). I described my settling in policies and procedures, and how I have trained my staff to make children's transitions from home to nursery as smooth as possible by forming close relationships with children and their families (task 2). Finally, I've written about my observation, recording and planning cycle, and how I've developed staff competence in providing a broad FS curriculum based on accurate observations of our children (task 3).

Tasks 4a and 4b require candidates to write about two critical incidents, where we have had to "think on our feet". These incidents are likely to have involved relationships with people, eg staff, other professionals or families, but they do not have to be emergencies. The main point is to demonstrate how we were able to resolve an unplanned situation. For confidentiality reasons, I cannot talk about my two critical incidents.

Task 5 requires us to write between 3 and 5 reflective accounts that demonstrate our wider professional roles, and which give further supporting evidence of meeting the standards. Our tutor told us to think of these in terms of a "mopping up" approach; if we felt some standards were not demonstrated strongly enough in the previous tasks, we could use tasks 5 a, b, c, (and if required, d and e) to provide the necessary coverage.

This is the part I am working on now. I think I'll write about my role here on the forum, my advisory role within the County, and possibly our provision for children with SEN, which I don't think I've covered sufficiently in the other written tasks.

Whilst writing the tasks, it has become clear that I now know the 39 standards virtually by heart! We have to write in the margin of our written tasks the number of the standard that the content refers to, and at first this was quite time-consuming, but as time goes on it's much easier. I think the first thing for potential candidates to do is to think of the standards in groups, as they are presented in the documentation; knowledge and understanding; effective practice; relationships with children; communicating and working in partnership with families and carers; teamwork and collaboration; professional development. I've found that if a piece of work I am describing provides evidence for one standard in a particular group, it almost always provides evidence for several more within that group.

When the written tasks are completed (by this weekend!) I need to collect together documentation for a supporting portfolio. My assessor will only have 90 minutes to look at this, so I can't put my entire nursery paperwork in it! I think it's going to be tricky, but the regulations state that the documentation has to fit in a file with a spine of no more than 4cms.

OK, I have to get back to my written tasks now.... no more procrastination!

Helen Edwards
Helen was a primary school teacher before setting up and running her own nursery for ten years. She worked as a Foundation Stage advisor for East Sussex local authority before achieving EYPS with the first cohort of candidates at the University of Brighton. She was an EYPS assessor for two providers in the South East, a reflective practice tutor at the University of Brighton and an Ofsted inspector. She is a Director of the Foundation Stage Forum and a member of the Tapestry Education Group.

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