Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Just After Some Advice Please.


Guest
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi this is my first post, so I hope I’m posting in the correct section. Apologies if this post is a bit lengthy but I need to get this off my chest and thought you helpful people might be able to put things into perspective for me.

 

I’m an NQT working in a Nursery attached to a school. I absolutely love the chn but the school is getting me down. The school is used to a more formal approach to teaching Nursery, where chn sit on the carpet for long periods of time writing letters and numbers. I had a Nursery placement in a nursery that follows the Reggio Emilia approach so I’m used to something quite different. I absolutely loved my placement school and it is held as a beacon Nursery in our authority so they must be doing something right, the staff there, have over 100 years of experience of working with Nursery-aged chn so I value their advice and ideas greatly. I’ve tried to slowly implement their philosophy of child-initiated learning into my classroom, although we still have three carpet sessions during a 3hr session plus lots of adult-focused activities (this is a compromise)!!

 

My team are great in trying to adapt to my way of working although I know they will never have the same philosophy at heart. With a bit of give and take on both sides we have got to a stage where I feel the chn are getting some quality play time and my TAs are happy that they are having adult input. I appreciate that the EYFS recommends a balance of adult and child-led activities.

 

None of my team are EYs trained, so it has taken a lot of time and energy to encourage them to interact/observe chn during free flow rather than letting the chn play whilst they get on with displays and paperwork. I had just started to think we were getting somewhere when my Head announced that he is going to move TAs within the school (I’m having a TA from Year 5), this means starting from scratch with training my staff in the EYFS way of working, not to mention disruption to the chn.

 

The Foundation Stage Manager doesn’t support the EYFS as she has recently moved from KS2 and thinks I should be doing more formal teaching, including phase 2 of L&S. I know I’m an NQT so I don’t have experience to draw from but from my placements, training and reading are polar opposite to how I’m expected to teach. I want to stay to provide continuity for the children but I just feel so drained of energy all the time. I have requested that my TAs have some training in EYFS but the Head has declined as he wants staff that can move around the school. Do you have any words of wisdom? Am I being unreasonable?

 

If you are still reading, thank you, sorry it was a long post!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello.

Sounds like your in a difficult position!! Are all the TA's qualified? I don't have the stat guidance to hand but am sure that 2 thirds of staff have to be min level 3 and I think it specifies in EY... although may have that part wrong!? - worth checking cus if so you have a leg to stand on as legally you need qualified EY TA's.

 

hope you find a solution! - sounds like your Head needs some EY training too!!! :o

xx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too was an NQT in a Nursery but was fortunate to have a foundation stage leader who was firmly into EYFS. Why don't you suggest that as 'good practice' and to 'widen understanding' etc. that the staff (including the manager) visit other early years providers. To reassure myself (always had a nagging doubt that I might not have been doing things right) I visited a couple of places, my manager insisted on coming with me! It might just help her to come to terms with things!! I feel for you, my Headteacher thinks I spend my day playing with children - I have offered to swop roles with her - especially when I'm changing a child who's just missed the toilet! Why can't people let children be children? Sorry not touched on all your probs!!

Edited by Iusedtobeabox
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, as all the best teenagers say: Oh Em Gee!

You poor thing!

What area are you in?

I'm not sure how it works these days but where I trained (in London in the 80s) there were Day Nurseries that were totally Nursery Nurse run, Playgroups that were volunteer led but with at least one NN but we didn't go to on placement (not sure if that's because they weren't valued, there weren't many in the area, or there were lots of other nurseries!) and nursery schools that were Teacher led with NN support. You paid for your children to attend the first 2 but the 3rd were free as they came under the school.

Now we have government funding for children to attend preschool/day nursery/childminders etc as well as nursery schools but we have to adhere to a local agreement (at least in our area) and that includes working to EYFS and attending training etc.

I would have thought the government would have made schools adhere to that too to try to make the under 4 provision consistent across the country but I don't know if that is so.

I guess it's possible that if a school uses its budget to run the nursery they are allowed to run it as they choose BUT I thought the budget came from the government as a per-head payment anyway...

 

Do you get to run your own in-house training? I manage a preschool that has recently been taken over by the school (whose site we are on) for various reasons and we get to attend the school's training days if they are relevant to us or I can run my own according to our own needs. Could you do some EYFS training at one of these? Our LA has EYFS advisers that run training too - you may be able to get one to come in...

 

At least the TAs are being supportive of your new suggestions! I would say you should evaluate everything very carefully so that you have the evidence to say to the Head exactly why things need to change. If the aims of the school are that these children are hot-housed and can sit for lengthy periods then HURRAH! If however they want to turn out well-rounded independent learners then you need to stick to your guns...

 

There are some very wise and experienced people here as well as those of us who are opinionated :D and able to provide a sounding post for your ranting so you get it off your chest honey! xx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, the EYFS is the statutory guidance for this age group, so you are in the right and the school is not. What does your NQT Mentor say? What is happening in Reception? What does your early years team at your LEA say?

 

I'd agree about getting staff to visit other settings.

 

Good luck, and welcome to the forum, everyone is lovely here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first thing I thought when you said you'd be getting new TAs was "Great!" You can start from scratch with them, and really use your knowledge and experience with the nursery age group to confidently say "I know you've come from year 5, but this is how we do things in the nursery!" I think you have an excellent opportunity to change things significantly here.

 

How much contact do you have with the FS manager? Can you do what you know is right and just leave her out of the equation, for the time being at least? :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Jellybean23 and welcome to the forum xD

EYFS documentation states that there should be a teacher and at least one other staff member should hold a relevant level 3 qualification. That means NNEB/ BTech/ NVQ level 3 in child care and education etc. not just a TA level 3 qualification. This is statutory not just good practice. Other members can hold Level 2 TA qualifications. In our nursery we have a teacher, I am the nursery nurse holding a NNEB qualification and we have a TA 2 with 39 children per session.

Our EY advisors state that the children should not be sitting for longer than 10mins or so at a time.

Our children self registrate with name cards as they arrive.

We have a brief welcome time at the start of each session where we do the picture timetable, talk about the day/weather etc. then it is child initiated play with maybe one adult led activity.

Snack time is self selection at a table with children's name cards, they put these in a basket to say they have visited. Water bottles are out in key person trays for self selection during the session.

We try to have free flow for most of the morning/afternoon.

We have a key person group time for around 10-15 mins during the session where we may have a story relating to our topic/ phase 1 letters and sounds/ circle time activities etc.

Back to child initiated play/ adult led.

After tidy up time the group come together as a whole for singing/ a story etc. with their milk before home.

As you can see sitting down is brief and broken by lots of child initiated play and child choice.

Our nursery teacher only introduces phase 2 letters and sounds to advanced children or maybe in the last term for those nearly ready for reception.

We are lucky as our reception teacher is our Foundation Stage team leader and really supports the EYFS.

I hope you get the support and the staff you deserve, you sound like a great nursery teacher. your school is lucky to have you :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for all your replies, this forum really is great. I feel so much better just getting it off my chest and knowing that I’m not being unreasonable.

 

Darlinbud I’ve had a look at the EYFS documentation and the CWDC website but it looks like as long as they are level 3, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in EYs but it’s quite confusing so I’m not sure I’ve read that correctly. One of my TAs is a level 3 in supporting teaching and learning, so I think we are covered. Can anybody else confirm if this is correct?

 

Iusedtobeabox, that’s a great idea about going to visit other settings. I might struggle to get the Foundation manager to come along but just to have a TA onside would be a start. I will definitely pursue this. I did ask the EY advisory team to recommend somewhere to visit when I was on a course recently and they all recommended my placement nursery so I think I will try and get this organised asap.

 

Hello Kitty, the staff training sessions tend to be about whole school issues, mainly KS2 and are hardly ever relevant to EYFS unfortunately. I would love to do some EYFS awareness training but I’m not sure they’d take me seriously as an NQT.

 

SuzieC8, My NQT mentor is the Foundation Manger/Reception teacher but as she isn’t too keen on the play element of EYFS I don’t have them onside either. I’m not really getting much mentoring at the moment either so that is not helping my confidence at the moment. The EY team I met on a course recently were for PVI settings in our authority. They implied that my Head has to pay for one of them to come out to our school, but I will look into this in more detail and see if I could get some advice from the LA.

 

Helen, the FS manager is in the class next door, but doesn't really come into Nursery during the day so I think you are right about leaving her out of the equation. If I can get my new TAs onboard in the way you suggest may be it will all be ok :)

 

I’m aware that I sound very negative at the moment, this is very unlike me, usually I am a very positive person, this situation has just got me down recently. But thank you once again for all your replies, you have all inspired me to fight my corner, and do what I can for my chn who really are fab and are definitely worth it all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry I posted that before seeing your reply Rachel. Thank you for your kind words.

 

Thank you for clarifying the qualifications issue, that is really good to know and will be very useful for the conversation I will have with my Head/FS Manager.

 

Your nursery day sounds very much like my placement nursery and is ideally how I would like to run our day. We're getting there slowly.

 

Thanks again for all your replies, I can't tell you how better they have made me feel.

 

xx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi JellyBean,

 

I too was a NQT in a nursery school last year, and it sounds similar to your situation. When i took over, the nursery was not following ther EYFS, did not have free-flow and spent up to 50 minutes of a 3 hour session sitting down. Activities were all adult led with the 6 tables all set out for the day, and where children had to go to each one, including fascinating worksheets, and if they were lucky zoo animals that couldn't move from the table! Oh and all their artwork looked identical- I'm sure you get the picture!lol. Things will get easier- and I suppose you just need to get stubborn and put your foot down.

 

A year on I am still battling with my NNEb nursery nurse to actually engage with the children, rather than talk over their heads whilst having a cup of tea in herhands, and in this regards i have to disagree with Helen i'm afraid. The thought of retraining a person who did not specialise in the early years is a scary thought after all the time and energy i have put into training an early years trained person. However, i suppose if they are keen to move, and can embrace the changes, the new staff might be beneficial. If your head insists that you change TA's and you can't get out of it, i would demand (yes demand) that before they set foot in your classroom they have to have at least gone on an introduction to the EYFS course (I doubt in your job description it mentions training staff- and point this out- you can only do so much!) and you canot have people working that don't have some knowledge of it). I would consider speaking to your early years governor of the school- or possible an EY AST near you- or failing that (yes you would be unpopular) invite in your council head of early years to come and explain your points to your head. He/she would probably suggest that your head goes on a EYFS course as well as they obviously have no clue.

 

Not sure if any of this helps, but just stand your ground, and keep fighting for what you believe in!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm feeling much happier reading this! I went back to the preschool I used to run and was :o to see how much they were sitting doing adult led group activities again after I'd worked hard to get rid of all the 'crowd control' as I called them exercises. It was AWFUL. The children were so fed up having to tidy up and sit on the carpet every time they got engaged in play! When I returned in September I suggested we spend a week or two allowing them to 'just play' so we could observe them and see if there was a natural time period that they played for before needing a distraction like a group time. What we got was an amazingly calm atmosphere. We carried on having a story/song session at the end and we found the children seemed more able to sit and focus. We knew we had to have some adult led so we have gradually reintroduced a group time and have ended up with an almost identical timetable to rachel's. I read it with my grin getting bigger thinking yay we're not mental - other people do the same!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A year on I am still battling with my NNEb nursery nurse to actually engage with the children, rather than talk over their heads whilst having a cup of tea in herhands, and in this regards i have to disagree with Helen i'm afraid. The thought of retraining a person who did not specialise in the early years is a scary thought after all the time and energy i have put into training an early years trained person.

 

Please don't worry about disagreeing with me; this is the true benefit of the forum, where everyone can put over their point of view. :o I totally understand why you wouldn't want all that training and mentoring of a colleague to go to waste.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jellybean,

 

I really hope you continue to be determined and stick at this! All of the advice given has been great and I definitley think visiting other settings would help!

 

I was in a similar situation when I taught abroad at an English School last year. The Board of the School didn't have a clue about the EYFS and some of the parents were quite keen to push formal learning early. Luckily I had the support of the Head Teacher who let me do what I knew was right. It was a slog and I was upset (and homesick!) for most of the year due to mixed messages and trying to please everybody! However what I want to say that this experience will have a huge impact on you as a practitioner. Although that year i spent away was the hardest year of my life I can now say it is the best thing i have ever done and has made me a much better teacher.

 

I can imagine that times are tough and it's easy for me to say "In time you will think this"...etc etc but it sounds like you are doing a fantastic job and the children are learning as well as enjoying themselves (which they may not be able to do once they start Reception). KEEP AT IT! As an NQT you have the energy, wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm that unfortunately some people reject. Whenever you need a moan or support just come on here! :):oxD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there jellybean. You are entitled to proper support and mentoring as an NQT, and there must be a named mentor at your school (although it can still be tricky if they philosophically don't agree with your ethos). Part of your NQT time can be used for visits, and also for additional training. Do you have an school adviser who is more experienced within early years or any early years ASTs? Do you have a local network or cluster, or are there any other NQTS in your LA that are also working in the EYFS.. a buddy would certainly help you along the way.

 

Sometimes, you get into a position where you need to survive.. many of us have been there at some point. No it isn't ideal, not at all, but there are some things in the world (or school) you will never change, and some things you may have half a chance with. The real trick is knowing which is which. Can you pick on one small thing that you think would make a big difference to your practice and focus on that one thing? If you could do that, what would it be?

 

Take care, it's tough when you seem to be the only one wanting to do things your way, even more so when you are an NQT.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry I haven't been on here for a while so apologies for the delay in replying. Thank you all for listening and your wonderful advice, I really appreciate it. It's good to know there is so much support here, even if I'm not necessarily getting it at school!

 

I have spoken to my Head, he has agreed that the children are sat on the carpet for far too long, thankfully I can now have a much longer time for children to choose. The downside is I have to teach phase 2 phonics to all children and have two adult directed activities going on during each session. This leaves one member of staff to extend children's play. I'm fine with the adult directed activities, although would prefer only one so that two adults could extend and observe children's play but we'll see how that goes. Just don't feel happy introducing phase 2 to all children as I don't think majority are ready. I'm just going to try and make it as fun as possible and try and do lots of phase 1 alongside this.

 

Anyway thanks once again xx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, I agree with Mundia, I'd play on the NQT card and pair up with an NQT in another similar setting with good practice ( :o )then get your local authority on board and tell school you have to do more eyfs stuff to feedback on at area nqt meetings, that way you sound like you're doing it because the authority is asking you to not because you're trying to change current practice!

 

Good luck, have confidence in your beliefs. It will get better. With regards to phonics the phases can be taught alongside each other. So don't worry about doing 1 and 2 together and pleasing everyone. x

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)