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Fsu Article!


Steve
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Hi!

Really enjoyed reading the article. I've worked in fully integrated FSU for a year and a half now. Have printed off copies for all team and head and deputy. Although recently appointed FS co-ordinator i'm not on the school's management team (do go to meetings occasionally) and my only experience is 4 (and a 1/2!) years as a class teacher ® so reading Anne O'Connor's comments under management really made me think-all these expressions rolled into 1 I think!!! xD:(:(xD:o She's right-its bloody demanding but just reading this being acknowledged felt good. I'm still finding it really really hard especially as there are many other factors to take into account at school at the moment (staff changes/unusual hours) I sometimes wonder whether I am up to it and because not all the team share the same views it can be really disheartening sometimes. We have 2/3 teachers (the third is the one who has 'funny'hours as she also works in school), 1 nursery nurse and two (unqualified) ta's for 33 reception, and 44 nursery (10 part time) so ratio wise we are not badly off (I bet some of you would dream of a -13 ratio! :( ) but in reality (as one of the tas also only works a 4 day week) the ratio can be more like 1-19. Because it wasn't something we all made a decision to do as a team we have come across many problems and disputes. We were told (asked) to do it and that is a completely different kettle of fish. Not that I wasn't enthusiastic (I got quite excited about the prospect and reading Anne's article has confirmed for me what I felt/understood the benefits to a FSU would be and still do aspire to) but, as a team, as we have many different backgrounds and experiences it can be a very steep up hill struggle. With no non -contact time and only an hour to plan together as a team per week there just aren’t enough hours in a week to do the ordinary day to day things and keep on top of it all let alone take into account new staffing/time-tabling/rotas. We do this at a pinch but where’s the time for feeding back/self-evaluation/observations and observation led/child initiated planning? This would be challenge enough with a team of experienced, enthusiastic early years practitioners but in reality life isn’t like that. Only a third of the team have Nursery experience and the 2 ta’s have no qualifications. I don’t want this to sound condescending in anyway as experience/being a parent of young children yourself can mean a lot more than a qualification but when it comes to the fs and its philosophies/curriculum we sometimes just assume that others know the same things/have read the same things but ey haven't and it can make planning hard as we have to go back to squae 1-ie explaining the ELGs. We are developing as a team and I have learnt a lot from the nursery staff but I feel the demands are immense.

Ive waffled on for far too long but I just want to end on a positive note-although I was close to tears today :wacko: I feel encouraged by Anne’s article and wait with baited breath for the next one! :D

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Hi, Steve

Here in Germany, they working on the preparing buildings and everything else and the plan is to start with FSU in 2010 year. I hope that will happen. Our manager think that is like a dream coming true. I do not have all these experience but i hope that by the time this system is fully working I can progress in my work. It is going to be more difficult to deal with such a large number of children, especially till we don't get into routine, but it is going to be fantastic (once when is happen)!

Thanks for this article, I am also going to copy it and put it in the staffroom tomorrow for my colleagues to read.

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A fantastic article! I certainly need to re-read and digest, but it has given me lots to think about, and although we are not working as a unit yet in my school, it is something that we do need to give consideration to. The "why do it" section was particularly interesting with references made to the statements in the FS curriculum guidance.

 

Thanks once again for an interesting read.

Jackie :D

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Thanks for a great article Anne, I too will make sure all staff have a copy.

Really looking forward to the next article - as Zim says time to discuss observations and planning from these is virtually non-existent. With so many staff it is so difficult to get everyone together at the same time! Our 1 hour a week planning meeting just isn't enough!

 

I too have been close to tears many times this term Zim, I didn't really appreciate how much there would be to do as manager before I took on the role!

There really isn't enough time for the day to day things let alone trying to develop things further - there are lots of things that need to be implemented for the Unit to be really successful, but I just don't have the time!!

 

How are you coping with FS Profiles Zim? None of the current Staff have any experience of using them, including me! With so many children we obviousl have to share the responsibility, but I'm really concerned that some staff are worrying about them!

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Hi Magenta,

I'm glad I'm not the only one close to tears. Sorry-that sounded awful when I re-read it xD (Maybe we need a cryingsmiley steve-or maybe not!! :( ) but you know what I mean-although it would be great to know of someone running a fsu with no hitches (so I could copy them!) it's a relief to know that there are other people in the same boat facing the same challenges-i'd feel like a failure otherwise :(

We're not really coping with the FS profiles-us 3 teachers fill them in for all children (as other Rec teach isn't full time and hasn't FS experience we do it together so its no less work). How do you manage? Support staff are only paid to stay for that 1 hour meeting a week so unless we gave each other non-contact time within the school day its a case of a pile of paper work at the end of each half term. Maybe we do need to go along the non-contact time line but with all the comings and goings of staff (as mentioned before) we're only just keeping our heads above the water and don't want to break from the rota that we are still getting used to. I've just spent the last hour tweeking the time table and worry that somepeople might 'pull their face' :o it's SO SO hard trying to please everybody.

In addition to this we've got a variety of visitors coming who are supposedly coming to see good practice/get a feel of a FSU and our response is "They're coming to see [/i]us and we've got displays falling off the walls and a million and one other things we can't seem to keep on top of-how embarassing!"

Short question Magenta-long answer! (my usual stye-I just get carried away!) Please come and rescue us all Anne!!!! :D

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Zim, as I have no doubt said before, we are really working illegally at the moment as I'm currently the only teacher! so Profiles have to be shared - currently 7-10 Rec each + a similar amount of records for Nur. (Myself and Level 4 staff have more than the others) - this certainly makes life a bit easier -for me at least!

I have tried to free-up Friday afternoons so that pairs can work on their profiles/records, but we haven't got round to starting that yet - will try next half term!

One of the problems is gathering evidence in simple way - I can imagine Friday afternoons being taken up with sorting out photos, observations and anecdotal records!!

We also have people coming round to see good practice! We moved back into our refurbished premises after Christmas and still haven't completed all of the displays! When do you have time to do this!! When we were a Nursery we finished at 11.30 and started again at 1.00 - plenty of time for things like that. We now finish at 12.00 and start at 1.00 - we don't seem to have time to keep on top of the routine things either Zim!!

I am finding that my life is currently dominated by work!! One of the downfalls of this site I think - I do have to get my daily fix!!

Hopefully we'll get there in the end, but the end of that tunnel seems a long way away!!

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Thanks Anne for an excellent article, it was really interesting to read.

magenta why are you operating illegally? Just curious (and nosey)

 

Like you we had lots of visitors, sadly the unit in which i worked that was very successful, is now closing (school is too small) which is such a shame after all the effort that was put in. My head is keen for us to try again (we had a unit but it didnt work) building on the experience of previous failure, but I have to say although I really enjoyed working that way, I think the logistic issues are too big for us. Hmm.

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Hi Mundia,

We currently have 54 Reception children + 22 a.m. and 27 p.m. Nursery and I am the only teacher.

Our EY advisor has said there have to be at least 2 teachers - our head has said that with 'remodelling of the workforce' that this is the way forward - I also have 2 level 4's supporting me + 1 level 3 and 3 level 2's.

It can be quite nice at times with 1 chief, but the workload is immense!

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Article makes interesting reading and has confirmed my suspicions as to why my free flow Reception unit with 90 children did not work! Although it has also convinced me that that was the way to go.

Looking forward to the rest.

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I really enjoyed this article it shows realistically the struggles that are faced and the accomplishments that are possible.

 

I own a preschool operating the same as school hours/terms, with children aged 2-4yrs. I have tried to form relationships with the local primary school with the idea to move "on site", but to no avail.

 

If preschools meet the aims of the governments 10 yr strategy to have degree and/or QTS qualified staff, will I then be able to become a Foundation Stage Unit, to keep our children until the term after their 5th birthday? To offer continuity within one setting?

How would this affect FSU in schools?

 

Recently (after a half hour obs) my area SENCO said that 50% of the children in my preschool don't know how to play, they need to be shown...well unfortunately their peer role models (4yr olds) are now attending our local primary school who's head teacher ( who thinks "Learning through Play" went out in the 60's) is more interested in how many children go to Grammer School, than how they meet the parents & childrens needs who have attended full time with me but can only attend part time in reception for their 1st term.

 

Are FSU's not the same as "Playgroups" before schools started admitting 4 yr olds?

I do believe, however, that experience and Higher qualifications have enabled quality provision to be achieved in what is now called "Pre-schools" and the leaders should be at degree and/or QTS levels. Our ratio's should also remain the same at 1-8, so as not to compromise the quality of service to our children.

 

Peggy.

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I didn't even feel like I was in the tunnel today Magenta! :D Especially after the whole school staff meeting where there's all kinds of tracking sheets and forms to be filled in starting in nursery. Got to set Lit/num targets and predict levels etc and school want it done for value added. Know this is nothing to do with the subject of FSU but my minds on the profiles stc and then I also have to do the school stuff too! Nightmare! :o

When can we expect Anne's next article steve?

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Zim, at least that's one area I don't really have so much of a problem with - thank goodness! Our Head has really let me have a free reign with the Unit - he understands that it is a totally separate curriculum and respects my judgement in issues like that so don't have to do 'school' stuff on top of the mound of things we already do! At the moment anyway :o But we will have Ofsted this time next year so I expect it will all change soon!

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  • 3 months later...

Only just found this article - and its busy printing now with a copy for my chair. She seems to think that the children need more stimulation - what I think she means is that they need to be sat down in small groups for longer periods of time learning things that are of little interest to them at this stage in their lives. I think a bit of education needs to happen here - the children have sand, water play, playdough, role house, mark makng tables, maths tables, reading corners, interest tables, easels, climbing frames, balacning beams, cars, trains, dolls, trains every day and this is supplemented with additional activities. It would be too much for me to get through in one day - and yet they often use it all at diferent times - no sad faces, just laughter and games, lots of chat and imaginary situations- so thanks very much -

nIKKI

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Hi Nikki -

Hopefully you're referring to the second article, which in fact I only published yesterday! Just to make it easier for people to access them, you can find them here:

 

Foundation Stage Units - developing integrated provision for nursery and reception age children

 

Foundation Stage Units - experiences and lessons learned

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Dear Steve,

Yes, I was - it was very late and I thought i was getting a bit confused - easily done but had a tough night with trying to convince some people aboout the benefits of play in the foundation stage and the fact that this is a stage in its own right which also needs time and effort and is not the same as what children in Yr1 do - but as much learning goes on in their own way. I get the impression that they think we just throw a few bits out on the table and let them get on with it....................... if only we all spend a lot of time creating and interesting curriculum which is fun and develops the childrens self esteem and confidence. I know I am preaching to the converted but it always strikes a raw nerve as it undermines my ability in what I do, I then start reflecting on whether I am doing it right - in fact i think I might get on to Lounge Time to air my problem now

Nikki

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I've just read the most recent article which was very interesting. It has got me a bit worried about our Unit!!

It seems to have changed over the year (due to the needs of the children - or so we thought!) and is now a long way from being an integrated Unit! Does anyone else feel like this?

Also, does anyone have lunch with the children as in the article?

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  • 7 months later...
Hi Nikki -

Hopefully you're referring to the second article, which in fact I only published yesterday! Just to make it easier for people to access them, you can find them here:

 

Foundation Stage Units - developing integrated provision for nursery and reception age children

 

Foundation Stage Units - experiences and lessons learned

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Hi Steve

I'm fairly new to all this. I would really love to read these two articles but seem to be unable to access them :o , is there anything you can do? I'm sure they will help me to solve some of the issues I'm currently going through :(xD

Thanks

Neeta

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Thanks Steve!

Thats given me plenty to read for half term! I've just copied the articles so that I can 'inwardly digest' them xD P'haps I should pin a copy in the staffroom (where I don't get to very often as I'm a tad busy in the '4+' :o Maybe others will begin to see where I'm coming from :(

Cheers Neeta :D

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