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Help! Reception/year 1


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Hi everyone,


I'm hoping to get some help and advice as I feel like I am going mad!


I started as an NQT in a Reception class with 4 Lower Ability Year 1 children in September and feel whatever I do I am doing it wrong and there just isn't enough time to do everything. I have a TA for the morning and in that time she takes the Y1 for half an hour for ELS, a phonics booster group for 20 minutes and one to one with a SEN child for 15 mins as well as hearing and changing readers twice a week. My Y1s also have assembly every day for 15 mins and a play time for 15 mins in the morning that my Reception don't have. I teach Literacy and Numeracy every morning with input on the carpet and a follow up activity for all the children (on the advise of the head after my observation).


I feel because my teaching has to be so formal for my Y1's my Reception children are suffering as their play is constantly being interrupted in the morning and the units for Y1's literacy and numeracy do not fit comfortably with child initiated learning. The head is also keen that every morning we open the large doors connecting my class with nursery to create a Foundation Stage unit. I feel I am getting mixed messages as on the one hand we are supposed to work as a Foundation Stage unit with child chosen free flow activities but I'm also being told I have to formally teach the Y1's, as they have to receive the same teaching as the Year One's in the Y1/2 class. Whichever route I go down I am supposed to be doing something else!


I've spoken to our very experienced nursery teachers and they don't seem to know what the solution is either other than move my Year 1's up to the other Y1/2 class and run our area as a true Foundation Unit. Does anyone have any useful advice about how they run their setting and manage their time effectively?


I hope I've made sense, if not it was quite theraputic just getting it all out! Thanks x

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well I think that as your year 1 children are low ability they are obviously still needing to access the EYFS or surely they would be in the year 1/2 class with the others? In my opinion all year 1 children benefit from a similar day/routine to reception, particularly if they are not secure with the early learning goals. I certainly would not be altering your day for the sake of these 4 children, if your head insists on carpet session for lit and numeracy each day then I would do this with the year 1 children only and allow the reception children to continue accessing the continuous provision.


It seems to me that your year 1 children are having too much booster intervention, I would say they would be having either ELS or a phonics booster - not both. I think that ELS is more suited to middle ability children or children just below where they should be, not the low ability children and phonics boosters sound more the thing but maybe they could access the recpetion phonics if they are low ability? I would go with the foundation stage unit ethos but give the year 1 an extra challenge to do within the provision.


Hope that helps. Good luck! x

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What a dilemma you have. With only 4 year 1's and a class full of YR I would run it like a Foundation class. I had the same issue in my class as I had 20 YR and 10 Y1, who absolutely still needed EYFS play and particularly CI.

Luckily I had a head who totally supported this and I was also lucky enough to be part of a Y1 play research project in my county which was trying to get all Y1 classrooms to be like EY.

We looked into what the children could not learn through play and that was our main very short! whole class teaching, and then we did AF sessions throughout the day which were totally tailored to the needs of each child. some groups were purely YR or Y1 and some were mixed depending on what the children needed to learn next.

All the research was written into a book by Julie Fisher who led the project




hope this is helpful


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