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Large Fsunits


horsechestnut
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Hi,

We are possibly going to get the money to build a FSU. We would have 60 F1 and 60 F2 children, although the F2 numbers could rise to 75. I feel that is too large for 1 unit. What do people think? Should we have separate F1 and F2 units with a common play area? Or two combined units? It all feels a bit theoretical at the moment but I think I better start thinking about it. Thanks all you experts.

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Within our FSU we have the protenial to have 60 reception children and 39 nursery children orginally we allowed the children to access both rooms and the outside area. But we changed it just over 18 months ago to just sharing the outside area, this is much better as some of our children used to just run from room to room all day. It also gives the quieter nursery children a break from some of the noisey reception boys. Also we had problems enhancing the areas as the range of childrens abilities was so broad.

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When we were considering creating a FSU we were advised that 60 was the optimum number of children and after that it starts to become crowd control rather than teaching. Now I can't comment on the truth of that statement as we have not exceeded 60 pupils but it is a thought.

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I would definitely agree with that person Marion. Anything over 60 and it's just chaotic! Think about the noise levels of that many children being in one room together! I'd definitely recommend seperating the FS1 and FS2 children with numbers that high and perhaps just have a common shared area either inside or outside if you want them to be mixing.

 

I'd be interested to hear if anyone has made it work with over 120 children in one large unit! Just how big would the space have to be!?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, we have a FSU and have 120 on roll!

 

Obviously that's a max of 90 at any one time.

 

First of all to have this many kids in a unit you need two things - space and staff. We are in the very priveliged position of having both!

 

We have five classrooms with the walls knocked through and a pretty big outdoor area, with a third of it undercover. We have six staff, three teachers and three TA's plus two SEN support staff.

 

So, we're pretty big, actually the biggest I know of. Yes, logistically it takes a lot of thought. If there are staff out it can become difficult. However we spend a lot of time modelling good behaviour and although sometimes noise levels may be high during self initiated sessions, our children are always on task and our Nursery are very confident and independent compared to other settings. By the way we do spilt up R and N for 'group time' ie. adult directed activities.

,

But - because we belive that FSUs can deliver a better early years experience than seperate classes we are commited to making it work. I would encourage anyone thinking of creating one to go for it!

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we sadly lost our Year N due to school expansion taking over the room they used. We have definately noticed that it takes children much longer to settle in Year R than it used to when they were 'home grown'. However, we do have 150 full-time Year R children and I couldn't agree more about a critical mass - it just is too many children and no-one has an opportunity to be tranquil or even to leave an activity for short time with any hope of going back to it and finding it left as it was. We only 'free-flow' between individual classrooms and outdoors, not between classrooms, to create some peace and quiet indoors, to give less confident children the chance to bloom and to create a sense of belonging to a class group. We also create spaces outside where children can be enclosed and observe others (old net curtain tents with cushions inside).

When we had Year N we had separate classrooms but met together outside so children already knew staff (and vice versa!) and somehow having smaller people around made the whole thing calmer.

Good luck with creating your unit - I really wish we still had ours. With regard to how much space - as much as you can! but whatever else as many toilets as you can and make sure that the sinks are big enough!

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Do each of your rooms have an exit to the outdoor area Mary?

Four out of five do, the fifth come through my classroom as that's the door everyone uses at lunchtime too, so we try to minimize confusion about the geography! Doors are quite heavy for children so someone needs to be on hand to help with access. We experimented with the plastic flaps but didn't get on with them really as there's no porch area, just straight outside.

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Four out of five do, the fifth come through my classroom as that's the door everyone uses at lunchtime too, so we try to minimize confusion about the geography! Doors are quite heavy for children so someone needs to be on hand to help with access. We experimented with the plastic flaps but didn't get on with them really as there's no porch area, just straight outside.

I to was told by one advisor that 60 was max and after that she thought that the PSED of the children was becoming a real issue. I like the idea of mixed units ie nursery and reception for many reasons. You could consider having 2 seperate units!

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I to was told by one advisor that 60 was max and after that she thought that the PSED of the children was becoming a real issue. I like the idea of mixed units ie nursery and reception for many reasons. You could consider having 2 seperate units!

 

I think it's wrong that advisors make sweeping judgements and pull numbers out of the air. Where is the evidence to suggest anymore than 60 is a detrement.

 

Like I say we are a 90 place but don't find PSED an issue - in fact because our children are able to access resources independently and have large spaces to play then PSED is actually a strength.

 

Truth is all FS settings, unit or non unit are unique and it's difficult to compare. Staff quality varies from school to school and resource issues vary from school to school.

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I think it's wrong that advisors make sweeping judgements and pull numbers out of the air. Where is the evidence to suggest anymore than 60 is a detrement.

 

Like I say we are a 90 place but don't find PSED an issue - in fact because our children are able to access resources independently and have large spaces to play then PSED is actually a strength.

 

Truth is all FS settings, unit or non unit are unique and it's difficult to compare. Staff quality varies from school to school and resource issues vary from school to school.

 

It was certainly the general advice 5+ years ago that if numbers exceeded 60 to consider 2 parallel units rather than one large unit purely from logistical reasons

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  • 1 month later...
Well, we have a FSU and have 120 on roll!

 

Obviously that's a max of 90 at any one time.

 

First of all to have this many kids in a unit you need two things - space and staff. We are in the very priveliged position of having both!

 

We have five classrooms with the walls knocked through and a pretty big outdoor area, with a third of it undercover. We have six staff, three teachers and three TA's plus two SEN support staff.

 

So, we're pretty big, actually the biggest I know of. Yes, logistically it takes a lot of thought. If there are staff out it can become difficult. However we spend a lot of time modelling good behaviour and although sometimes noise levels may be high during self initiated sessions, our children are always on task and our Nursery are very confident and independent compared to other settings. By the way we do spilt up R and N for 'group time' ie. adult directed activities.

,

But - because we belive that FSUs can deliver a better early years experience than seperate classes we are commited to making it work. I would encourage anyone thinking of creating one to go for it!

 

 

WOW! finally someone bigger than us! We are 60 R and 52 N obviously 86 at any one time. This has led to various issues. I was just wondering how you plan for so many children and if you do seperate N & R planning? Do you work with a termly theme and then child initiated ideas or just child led planning?

 

Any help would be appreciated!

x

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WOW! finally someone bigger than us! We are 60 R and 52 N obviously 86 at any one time. This has led to various issues. I was just wondering how you plan for so many children and if you do seperate N & R planning? Do you work with a termly theme and then child initiated ideas or just child led planning?

 

Any help would be appreciated!

x

 

 

Hi!

 

N and R are mixed for most of the day, apart from two separate adult led group times which last approx 30-40mins. Teachers plan for the group times, one plan for N and two plans for R. One of R's group times is similar to N - a cross curricular adult led 'playful' group time (cooking, gardening etc) and the other is a CLLD session (phonics, reading and writing). Currently all the groups are mixed ability.

 

In terms of the self initiated learning - which is an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, it's not possible to do a detailed 'plan'? It's a waste of time to come up with LO's for these sessions. That is the very nature of self initiated - you don't know what they want to do until you start the session! In my opinion if you stop their self initiated play and make them do something you want to do then it is bad practise. We identify children's interests and ensure that they are able to explore and investigate them. All of our resources are accessible to the children. All we do is ensure that all staff are as familiar as possible with each child's 'next steps' and when they interact with play they ask the children open ended questions to promote thinking and learning.

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