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We have just had our final visit this year from our advisory teacher. She has suggested that we concentrate our future development on outdoor play and wants me to think about what we could do over the summer break. (And here was me thinking I was going to have a rest!!! xD:(:( )

The only problem is we do not have a secure outdoor area. We have a small grassed area at the front of the church and we take the children out there when the weather is good for playing games and using the parachute etc. On these occasions all the staff go out with all the children, so it's easy to keep an eye on them.

She seems to think OFSTED might pick up on this when we are inspected and wants to pre-empt them by having an action plan ready. She has suggested that we take the children out in small groups of 3/4 every week. That we have resource boxes, role play ideas etc.

Does anybody else have this problem-if so what do you do to get the children out there if anything?

My other concern of course is with one member of staff outside with just a small group of children this is going to affect the ratio numbers for the children left inside!! :o Of course I don't think she realises this-our teacher advisers do not have much of an idea about the care aspect of settings.

Any ideas would be gratefully received.



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Hi Linda,

We have exactly the same problem at our school. The only outside area we have is shared with the rest of the school. We have bikes etc. in the shed but we tend to all go out on Thursday afternoons. (me and the nursery nurse) We load up the kids with role play stuff, imaginative play, books, chalks, the water canals, sand and water tray (if we're feeling brave!) and then trapse in a slow line half way round the school to the playground! The nusery nurse then takes a group to the shed to ride the bikes round. If we go out before the afternoon we have to take all the equipment back inside and get it out again after lunch/play is over! A complete nightmare!

We're only allocated one afternnoon a week so groups wouldn't work for us. We did try that but only really with the bikes because it was too hard for one person to transport much else without spending the whole afternoon moving stuff and no time using it! (we can't move things until after play/lunch because all the children are using the playground)

I also try to go out to play maths games/ literacy sound games (noisy letters etc.), circle time games as often as possible (with the whole class).

The school got criticised in the last inspection (I wasn't there then!) so now they're trying to raise money to build a new classroom for reception complete with some kind of outside area but raising money is slow and it's unlikely to happen for quite a while.

Meanwhile we're getting inspected in October so I'm trying to do the best I can under the circumstances. I've recently ordered a huge box on wheels as well as loads of games equipment (funded by our brilliant P.T.A) and I'm hoping to put containers with dressing up clothes, small world etc in that to make it easier to move. Hardly ideal but we're finding it hard to do anything else. I would also welcome any ideas cos we've tried everything!

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Linda, I think you have to put safety of your children first. Inspectors may ask ylu baout outdoor provision but I think they will be understanding of your situation- especially if you have thought it through, appreciate that its an issue and are trying to make arrangements. How many children and staff do you have? I would do the going out as a group if its not safe to leave half a group inside.

Becky H , Iive been in you situation before and its not only a nightmare but also a health and Safety issue carrying all those things back and forth every day. Is there nay possibility of asking for funding to fence off a small area of the playground just for you, where you could use it every day, and therfore reduce the need for carrying lots of things out. Your Head had a responsibilty to provide something , if it is at all possible, and you dont need a huge area. What about hall space, we used that quite a lot. Obviously its not the same as outside, but we had a lot of portable apparatus that we could store there and just get our daily. We diddnt have bikes but we had the otjer things you mentioned and it was better than nothing. A lot of halls tend to be under used in the mornings because everyone is busy doing literacy and numeracy.

Sorry I dont have any better ideas, but Im sure someone else will.

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