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Help Getting Staff On Board With Observations And Assessments


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Hi all,

I currently the Reception teacher in a school with a nursery (different building) and myself and the nursery leader are having problems with both our nursery nurses - they are simply not contributing to the assessment and observation process. This is causing myself and the nursery leader a very heavy workload. Both the nursery nurses have over 10 yrs FS expereince each and have atttended training I organised from our senior FS consultant last term (in a bid to improve things but it just hasn't worked).

As of Jan the nursery leader is doing her GTP so will be in my class for 50% of the time (morning sessions) and I will cover her class in the mornings. I am really worried as in the afternoons the NN in the Nursery is working with a supply TA and with us having full and part time chn I will never see the afternoon chn (I'm back in my class in the afternoons). I really need to get these two adults on board but I don't know what to do next. I don't believe there is a problem with actually doing the obs (they are both aware of what is expected and how to do it), however when given some time to observe chn they either start to tidy up or stand around. Other than giving them targets (e.g. I would like you to try to get through at least 4 informal obs per day) - which obviously isn't appropriate I can't think how else to get them to actually do them. Any ideas whatsoever would be really welcomed - I'm desperate to get this sorted before xmas.

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i had a TA who never did observations so i explained to her that she had to do 2 formal observations a day and then use post it notes to note any other things she observed this focused her. i also made a4 cards with the foundation points on it so she could refer to them (she kept it on her clipboard) i also put up a list of the children to show who had had a observation and who had not and this seemed to motivate her.

hope this is of some help good luck

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Hi Rachel,


been there and it's hard to manage with if others aren't shaing the tasks and the workload.


Setting targets may work, or even asking weekly whether they have such and such details about the progress of such and such child may work. I'm no expert, but you can't take it all on by yourselves as you will get taken for granted.


Best of luck x

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As a nursery nurse myself I cant understand why they wouldnt do observations, especially when they are given time to do them. :o

Is there an ather issue with them. eg not being given assessment time etc.

also will it just leave a N.N and teaching ass in the afternoon and how many children will they have. they could be worrying about issues like this and cant think of another way to let you know they arent happy.

In our unit there is 2 teachers and myself , with 60 children so we each have a family group of 20 each and are responsible for their ass and observations although if we spot something interesting we pop it on a post it for another family group.

maybe you should allocate them a set group ofchildren. It is part of foundation stage to do observations and they should be carrying them out.

My only gripe is teachers are given PPA time and i take my assessments and observations home to evaluate and write up in my own time. I keep saying if NN are to do assessments they need time out to complete them.

Dont know if ive been any help ,but it seems they are trying to prove a point about something by deliberately not doing their job properly.

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Yes MARYS - she is a very experienced NN and is responsible for running the nursery. She does the planning which is overseen by me. When she starts her GTP in the afternoon in the nursery it will leave the other NN and a supply TA which is not ideal but I do not think this is the reason why they are not doing the obs as this has been going on for quite some time and it is only in the last couple of weeks that we have sorted the staffing to release the nursery leader to do her GTP.

I completely agree that they need time to do the assessments but this time has been given (during assemblies etc) however they are still not contributing.

I had considered going down the give each person a group of chn to concentrate on (naturally myself and the nursery leader would have to have bigger groups because as you rightly say, we have the assessment time built into our PPA) but had decided against it for a number of reasons. Obviously with the intro of the EYFS all chn will now have to have a keyworker however all the recent training I have been on has emphasised the need for all adults to be looking at all chn as each adult sees diff things, chn respond differently when diff adults are present etc etc. I know you said if you see something interesting you write it down but I would prefer not to go back to this however I do acknowledge it would be easier to keep track on the ass and obs the staff are doing and also may even motivate them further by giving them sole responsibility for certain chns records of progress. Thanks for all your replies so far - they have given me lots to think about. Anybody else with any great ideas I would really appreciate it. :o

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My nursery set up is probably very different to yours so this may not work.


We have one notebook that we use for observations and all staff jot things down, very briefly, in there during the session. If someone writes them down on a different slip of paper etc. then I ask them to email them to me so that they can go on the childs file. If I don't get an email I keep asking for it.


You could use the fact that it is drawing near to the end of the term and you need all observations in very soon so that you don't have to make life very hard for yourself, typing them up, near the last day of term. Why not try saying something like... " oooh [name of staff] can you let me have your obs as I have to start preparing the end of term reports very soon... I don't want to do it all last minute"


If this fails then I would use your staff appraisal system to get the message home, gently though.

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I'm with you Marys, I cant see why they wouldnt do the obs, but then some people really dont see the point in some things.


Have ypu asked them why they dont do them? Do they feel they shouldnt, or that they are not confident in applying their knowledge? Do you have regular staff meetings where all the obs are used for the planning? Maybe they need to see where the obs are used?

Have they been told in the past that they are doing things wrong? Do they see it as the teachers job?

I work with people who dont do regular obs purely because they dont think they have to, so long as one focused ob is done each day, and by that I mean sit at table and answer questions! Do they feel they are paid a low wage and so dont want to bother?

Loads more questions than answers but I think I'd like to know what they are thinking and go from there. :o

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Agree with previous comments/questions raised.

In my preschool I have sheets of 'labels', these are then written on as knowledge / skills / attitudes / comments from children etc are observed and then they are easily transfered into the childs achievement books. The staff can also write straight into the childs achievement books. Time is given to evaluate the collated obs for assessment of attainment.


Is it maybe just a case of 'not got the habit'? I have found it's a bit like starting a diary in January, lots of input for the first few weeks then not written in again after that, apart from major sugnificant events. :o

At the beginning of every term, staff are refreshed and lots of obs take place, these dwindle as the weeks go by ( human nature maybe). To support this, rather than 'dictate' who, when and how many obs are to be done, encourage AND EXPECT, that they devise their own observation timetable, they are responsible adults after all with expectations of their work role. Observations are AS IMPORTANT as 'teaching', one can't function properly without the other.


good luck, let us know what you do and what works as I am sure many other forum members have the same difficulties at some point.



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