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Reception Age Children In Pre School Settings


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I am asking this out of curiosity really and to glean some opinions. I've put it in this forum as it relates to Reception age children.

 

As is often the case, for perfectly ordinary reasons, we have a handful of children who are in a pre school setting not a school setting for their reception year. They will go into a year one class in September when they become statutory school age.

 

I have to engage with the settings to moderate their judgements and I do find I am worrying each year that the children I have seen so far generally do not seem to have the same skill set for CLLD especially LSL/reading e.g. phonic decoding, phoneme grapheme correspondence, comprehension etc as their peers. (This observation is based on the moderation of comparative EYFSP assessments) They are not necessarily SEN or have any other unusual barriers to learning.

 

So my questions are:

How do other settings with maybe just 1 reception age child ensure they are getting the same entitlement to daily discrete phonics sessions and direct teaching of reading/writing skills etc that their other reception aged peers are expected to receive so that they are able to achieve phase 3 or equivalent by the end of YrR?

 

How do you ensure that the higher level of end of phase expectation for a reception age child is targetted? Do you adapt their curriculum offer to ensure they cover the reading/writing skills they might otherwise not get through child initiated activity alone e.g. handwriting and use of non-fiction texts.

 

How do you support their transition into a Primary class rather than another EYFS setting? Do you do anything differently?

 

(Please don't take this as a criticism of pre schools...I'm genuinely trying to gather perspectives on this.)

 

Cx

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I'll be honest and tell you my first thoughts. I'm not a teacher and havent the same skills as one.

I havent worked in a setting for a couple of years but I know when I did I wouldnt have felt confident teaching reading and writing, I dont know what you mean by discrete phonics.

My training was 12 years ago and didnt include teaching reading or writing, just how to offer the opportunities to develop skills and confidence needed later.

Common sense can play a part but I wouldnt have felt confident taking on the role of a qualified teacher. To be honest I'd have wanted lots of support from our visiting teacher service to take on a reception child and provide them with everything they should be having.

I certainly would never put anyone down, but the majority of settings I've been in are staffed by people with my level of qualification and although lots were committed to their role wouldnt have necessarily been aware of how they should provide for a reception child and like me, would have wanted/needed, lots of support.

Does that help in understanding the pre-schools?

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catma i am often in this situation (for one reason or another!) mostly the children that continue to be with us do have additional needs but not always. I do agree with Rea that i would say i also do not have enough training in 'school based skills' like phonics training etc but i would also say that we work very hard on all the other areas of learning and these children enter school as confident and eager starters. my setting is sessional and children do not always attend every day....they do a maximum of 15 hours and this is not compulsory. I try to work really closely with the school to ensure that these children are at the same sort of level but often they are still with me because they havent been offered a place ( i have one at the moment who will not know until July ...after his profile has been complete!) schools are often not as engaged in transition for these children because they are individuals not a group....so time becomes an issue. I have an increasing number of children who stay with me for 1 or two terms they will often enter school at the same level as their school peers but i do worry about those who have no access to reception because they go from a very play based approach to (often) something very different....always a difficult subjects this with positives and negatives on both sides :o

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I certainly would never put anyone down, but the majority of settings I've been in are staffed by people with my level of qualification and although lots were committed to their role wouldnt have necessarily been aware of how they should provide for a reception child and like me, would have wanted/needed, lots of support.

 

That's an interesting point I think - I have been anxious at the level of awareness even from good+ settings about the actual requirements for end of key stage assessment and age related expectations. Our CCQTs work really hard with the settings when we identify they have a 5 year old but sometimes this is very "last minute" as the setting may not have realised their responsibilities to a child in that age band in the first place and our call to say you have to complete the EYFSP comes as a shock! OF course many of the initial group do go to a school place before the end of the year, but if after the summer half term the original setting still has to complete the EYFSP as it remains their responsibility in that instance.

 

Is it about understanding what children's outcomes at that ELG level look like in comparison? The key person of one child we identified quite early came to the moderation meeting and was amazed at the level of writing and literacy skills the other practitioners were describing - she thought her child was doing really well, in comparison to her younger children this may well be the case - just not in comparison to other 5 year olds!!

 

we work very hard on all the other areas of learning and these children enter school as confident and eager starters. my setting is sessional and children do not always attend every day....they do a maximum of 15 hours and this is not compulsory.
Absolutely! But your point is good in that that children are going from a play based sessional experience into a full time year 1 arena. This in itself would be daunting for many even with the most sensitive transition but if they then are already perceived as "behind" in literacy it could create a disadvantaged starting point for that child to statutory schooling irrespective of their PSED capabilities.

 

I'm thinking through where we might need to go as an LA in regard to raising awareness on a shoe string!

 

Cx

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Catma, as a receiving FS teacher in an area with multi point entry, your observations would support what I have felt about later entrants.

 

For that reason, I would support a one point entry for all children into reception classes regardless of age or so called readiness ALTHOUGH in an ideal world of course, staffing ratios would also be increased to allow / enhance development and attainment of all.

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Is it about understanding what children's outcomes at that ELG level look like in comparison? The key person of one child we identified quite early came to the moderation meeting and was amazed at the level of writing and literacy skills the other practitioners were describing - she thought her child was doing really well, in comparison to her younger children this may well be the case - just not in comparison to other 5 year olds!!

 

Cx

 

I think it is Catma.

I have no idea what a reception child should be capable of. Our setting is registered for 5 year olds but we've never had one. They all leave to go to reception. We are so geared for providing for children below reception age that although in theory we could do it, and all the training says we could, in practice it would require new skills and understanding for the staff.

The key would be in identifying the children who stay at pre-school early on, at application time maybe, so the settings can be helped to prepare.

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Guest thebirdistheword

Hi

 

I'm glad this is a concern to other people. I am a FS2 teacher and I received a reception aged child a couple of months ago. Although very sociable, friendly and confident she knew zero letters and sounds and came to me as my class were just about to tackle phase 3. My class are not the most able, on the whole, but we were still far enough ahead for her to have no clue about what's going on. Luckily for me she has been like a little sponge and she's picked up loads. Turns out that she could learn new sounds and words at the same speed as the others and as for the already learnt phase 2 sounds, I had a word with mum about what she could do at home to help and luckily she was more than happy to. I wondered personally if children's centres do teach a phonics programme at all?? Someone told me that they had to but this has happened more than once with this particular children's centre and I'm not convinced.

 

Another note (nothing to do with children's centres, sorry to digress) last year I had a child join me late in the Summer term who hadn't been anywhere. She had literally stayed home with mum, until there was a place available at our school (even though there was a place for her at another, mum didn't want her there). This one I really struggled with. She sobbed in daily letters and sounds sessions and knew nothing... letters, sounds, numbers... yet mum was really surprised when I called her in and explained that she was going to need extra support because of how far behind she is. Sadly I think she will stay behind her peers because of this late start (another reason I am grateful for our children all starting in september.) I just wondered if there is an easy answer for these children who come in late knowing nothing, when there's no time (Or TA/NN) to go back to the start with them x

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ok ...as i knew i would i'm having trouble with this thread! xD Letters and sounds/phonics etc is a VERY small part of what we are teachjing these children!....there are only 7 points of the profiles 117 points that are connected with letters and sounds directly.....i understand that in schools the emphasis is very definitely on teaching the children to read/write and that this is often pushed from head teachers who still do not understand what the foundation stage is about. Late entry to school does not mean that children will be less capable but it does mean that teachers may have to change tac in the way that they teach them ......i'm afraid that it worries me when teachers are saying children are crying through letters and sounds sessions....argh! why is she even sitting there through these then.....could she not do something independently during this time and you could catch up with her later????? these children are still VERY little.....my daughter went to school with little Knowledge of letters and sounds...but was very articulate etc.....she picked up reading very quickly because she was at the right stage to do so. The rose review said children should be taught phonics at around the age of 5 not 4....if we are to have one point of entry then schools have to realise that their expectations of these children have to change....there is a huge difference between a four and a five year old. I firmly believe that there still should be choice for parents as to when their children start,they do not have to be in school until the term after their 5th birthday.....so i guess my question back to Catma (and i apologise for going slightly off track) is what are schools doing to facilitate the smooth entry of younger children especially summer born boys!how are they changing what they have done previously in order to help the 4 year olds or are they still doing what they did when the children entered at 5?

(ok ....going to have large cupof tea and calm down now :o )

 

"children are fires to be ignited ....not vessels to be filled!"

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so i guess my question back to Catma (and i apologise for going slightly off track) is what are schools doing to facilitate the smooth entry of younger children especially summer born boys!how are they changing what they have done previously in order to help the 4 year olds or are they still doing what they did when the children entered at 5?

 

Into reception -I think most schools do a very good job and are sensitive to the needs of younger children. I know in my LA they really reviewed their transitional arrangements to take into account the single point of entry as we moved to it last year. However I think transition into Year 1 is a lot harder for a child and I would argue that if they are already behind the majority in literacy skills in particular they could struggle in a teaching and learning environment which is very different.

 

 

The rose review said children should be taught phonics at around the age of 5 not 4.

 

My understanding of Rose was By 5

"Engaging young children in interesting and worthwhile pre-reading activities paves the way for the great majority to make a good start on systematic phonic work by the age of five."

His further comment is of relevance actually!

" Indeed, for some, an earlier start may be possible and desirable.This is because it ill serves children to hold them back from starting systematic phonic work that is matched to their developing abilities and enables them to benefit from the wealth of opportunities afforded by reading from an early age."

 

I wanted to explore why from my comparative observations of their current CLLD outcomes (selected because that is what I have been moderating this year - no other reason or weighting implied) a group of children are possibly not being given the opportunity to develop the same skills and aptitudes as the majority of their peers. The national expectation for children on entry into Year 1 is that they are at phase 3 with their phonics, which our reception children do achieve (we track phonics outcomes in 18% of our schools).

 

I'm trying to understand why this expectation would be different for a reception age child who completes that year in a PV setting, than for a reception aged child in a school based setting?

 

Regardless of what type of setting they are in or their birth date, the children are in their reception year and shouldn't they have an equality of experience and teaching wherever they are so that by 5 they are all given the maximum chance of continued success when they get into year 1?

 

Discuss!

 

Cx

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good points and well written as usual catma (shame you dont work near me !) you are , of course absolutely right that children going into year one should have the same opportunities . I think the barriers to this are as rea originally said ...training and information sharing. I have had one afternoons training on letters and sounds, we have no teacher support in this area, i have only ever been moderated on the profile......no-one has ever given me information on what phase a child should be on by year one!!! There is as i said before a time constraint to teaching these children as they often do far less hours, parents perception of what we teach may also differ. Also as said here many times i do think that we need to take a more play based approach to year one in order to facilitate these childrens transition, as they may well be still working on profile and are not at nc1 level. We used to have a trainer in this borough who understood that this transition was tricky for all concerned and would make sure that settings were given information on NC as well as eyfs, unfortunately she has moved on and this information is now thin on the ground for us :o

It is perhaps unfortunate that the children who seem to get late places seem to be the ones who are struggling anyway ( and so phonics may be low on my priority list for them) some of my other children going in to school in september are already reading and so are well ahead of the game but it never seems to be them that stay!!

I am sure that most pre-schools would be quite capable of achieving at the levels expected but there needs to be much more investment in training .....how much training in phonics is included in the early years degree for instance??

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There is as i said before a time constraint to teaching these children as they often do far less hours, parents perception of what we teach may also differ. Also as said here many times i do think that we need to take a more play based approach to year one in order to facilitate these children's transition, as they may well be still working on profile and are not at nc1 level.

I am sure that most pre-schools would be quite capable of achieving at the levels expected but there needs to be much more investment in training .....how much training in phonics is included in the early years degree for instance??

 

 

I agree re yr 1 - and this is one of the things I am hoping the Tickell review may aid, in that the dovetailing of the assessments will be that much clearer for yr 1 colleagues who find the proliferation of points and totals and meaning etc. etc. really complicated. If a child is still "emerging" in Tickell speak it will be clear what they can do and also what they cannot. However the overwhelming demands on time and curriculum coverage, not to mention Yr1 screening checks puts such demands on the Yr1 teacher's time. The screening check outcomes will probably be on the schools Raiseonline (DfE database) and they will be held to account for children effectively not secure in phase 5!!!

 

Training for settings seems to be the solution - but like you say it's hard in a time of staffing reductions. And I agree in a sessional setting there are also constraints on what you can do with a child. But it's interesting what you say about not being made aware of the expectations for the end of the phase. Sharing those would possibly be a place to start raising awareness.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Cx

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I am sure that most pre-schools would be quite capable of achieving at the levels expected but there needs to be much more investment in training .....how much training in phonics is included in the early years degree for instance??

None from what I can see but then not every degree is the same.

 

I've stayed out of this discussion because honestly I lack the knowledge to fully participate. I think training is definitely key. Perhaps we need joint training with our primary colleagues so that we can gain a thorough understanding of what happens in those first few weeks of primary school so that we can get a clear idea of what will be expected of them from day one. I remember asking one of our feeder schools about handwriting, and she told me not to try to teach them to write, but to make sure they have a good pencil grip, from the very moment they first pick up a pen. Not exactly the level of input I was hoping for, I must say and I think there was an undertone of "there, there dear leave all that to us" about it.

 

I agree with finlaysmaid that we sessional groups are quite capable of delivering, it is just that we're not always sure what the brief is. I know that there can't be a 'one size fits all' approach, but I agree that knowing where we expect most children to end up is a good way to start planning the journey. Especially when I think of those only-just-four-year-olds who will be in school uniform in September.

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Training for settings seems to be the solution - but like you say it's hard in a time of staffing reductions.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Cx

 

 

Training here in Birmingham is no longer free so that would be another constraint to be considered. Although training doesnt cost a huge amount, the fact the have to be paid for at all has put a greater strain on our already stretched finances.

 

Our group were part of Letters and sounds pilot I think, just as I started being chair so I had more things to think about. I dont think they do any of it anymore, but I can ask and see why they dont.

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I must say and I think there was an undertone of "there, there dear leave all that to us" about it.

 

 

Sad to say, but I think I've heard the same tone when I asked about the information we put in the transition reports.

I wouldnt have been at all surprised to hear 'go back and play' either. :o

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I've stayed out of this discussion because honestly I lack the knowledge to fully participate.

No! Don't do that!! I really am valuing different perspectives on this thought I've been mulling over for a while now!

 

I agree that knowing where we expect most children to end up is a good way to start planning the journey.

 

I agree - if we don't know what typical outcomes look like for children at the end of reception we can't plan for them to get there. I suppose we run the risk of thinking that something that looks really good is in fact, when matched to the majority not so good after all. Maybe it's a confusion between progress and attainment> One can be good whilst at the same time the other can be poor!!

 

Could it predominately be a confidence issue around teaching children reading and writing skills at the ELG level? I'm fairly certain most practitioners in our settings would have an idea of how to support children at the level of ELGs in any of the other areas of learning. So is it just to do with directly teaching literacy skills?

 

Cx

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Think we all suffer from a lack of confidence in teaching these literacy skills.. are unsure of how to tackle it..

 

and our problem was always the fact that each school was different.. we had children moving on to many different schools and they all had different approaches.. so which one did we follow or adopt to help the children in our care.. not always knowing until late in the year which school they would be attending.. we often felt that what we could be doing may cause an issue if it was completely different to the one used in the school and had to be un-learnt/ re-learnt .

 

we did not often have children stay with us but because of circumstances we did occasionally have the reception age child in our setting.. it was so hard to know which way to follow .. in our case we were usually only a term or two before they started school .

 

We really had no clue as to what the expectations were and the reporting needed and all sorts of issues we had not been trained to do..

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We really had no clue as to what the expectations were and the reporting needed and all sorts of issues we had not been trained to do..

this brought a smile to my face because the one piece of training i have received recently is e-profile training...and i've just managed to enter most of my data without a hitch.....remarkable for an IT idiot xD funny how training is suddenly available when it comes to reports for the government! :o

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and our problem was always the fact that each school was different..

 

Yes, I hadn't thought of that issue! If a child completes Reception with one system ie letters and sounds phases and then goes to a school in yr1 where they do Read, Write inc. there could be some conflict. But on the other hand if children have got the basic skills of blending/segmenting the odd phoneme discrepancy here and there wouldn't matter. Perhaps it's more a matter of looking at the skills for any area of learning??

 

 

I've just managed to enter most of my data without a hitch....
Finlaysmaid - I wish I could get my schools to be as organised!!

 

So barriers identified so far:

  • Confidence in/knowledge of the expected attainment for end of reception
  • Knowledge of particular teaching strategies/content
  • Lack of specific training to raise understanding/confidence
  • Uncertainty about where a child may even go for year 1

 

Would setting to setting support be a solution, ie LA linking settings with a reception practitioner to share expertise? (could work both ways too!!)

 

My other big problem is that the children are not necessarily identified as being in a PV setting until half way through the academic year. How do other LAs find out from you if you have a reception age child in your setting?

 

Cx

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Would setting to setting support be a solution, ie LA linking settings with a reception practitioner to share expertise? (could work both ways too!!)

 

possibly ...in theory our local networks could be used for this, though i think perhaps stand alone trainings would be easier to arrange and may take in to account the differences in systems(i send reception children to 8/9 settings)

 

My other big problem is that the children are not necessarily identified as being in a PV setting until half way through the academic year. How do other LAs find out from you if you have a reception age child in your setting?

 

in our LA if they are funded children then they are on the funding list so are already identified by the borough (i have never had an unregistered 'profile'child but i suppose it could happen)

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possibly ...in theory our local networks could be used for this, though i think perhaps stand alone trainings would be easier to arrange and may take in to account the differences in systems(i send reception children to 8/9 settings)

 

Yes. This would fit very well into our new team plans. I would want schools to get past system differences as children transition but to look at skills similarities. (Quite like that - will probably appear in my next training!!!!) That way it doesn't matter that a child learned to blend cvc words using Letters and sounds, and another learned using Jolly Phonics, but that both of them can blend!!

 

 

Ours are all in funded settings, but we don't have a list of the actual "rising 5s" until the census headcount which is in the Spring, then the DfE sends a list as late in the year as to be practically useless time wise! So a setting may know they have a child but the LA doesn't know where the children are located. Another problem has been settings typically haven't realised their statutory responsibility for the profile for a particular child as its a new situation for them.

 

I am now wondering if there are informal ways we can ask the settings in September, maybe through their CCQT if they have any likely candidates. I'm also going to see if I can get info about the Autumn term profile training out to the settings so they can access it, maybe targeting managers?

 

Really appreciate your thoughts on this.

 

Cx

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Yes. This would fit very well into our new team plans. I would want schools to get past system differences as children transition but to look at skills similarities. (Quite like that - will probably appear in my next training!!!!) That way it doesn't matter that a child learned to blend cvc words using Letters and sounds, and another learned using Jolly Phonics, but that both of them can blend!!

 

 

Ours are all in funded settings, but we don't have a list of the actual "rising 5s" until the census headcount which is in the Spring, then the DfE sends a list as late in the year as to be practically useless time wise! So a setting may know they have a child but the LA doesn't know where the children are located. Another problem has been settings typically haven't realised their statutory responsibility for the profile for a particular child as its a new situation for them.

 

I am now wondering if there are informal ways we can ask the settings in September, maybe through their CCQT if they have any likely candidates. I'm also going to see if I can get info about the Autumn term profile training out to the settings so they can access it, maybe targeting managers?

 

Really appreciate your thoughts on this.

 

Cx

catma are your settings on a first class type system ...could this be used to gather info?

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Oh, so if some areas don't what do you have instead. How do you get to meet, share good practice and support the childrens transition into school.

bit difficult around here at the mo....lots of changes going on and some things seem to have slipped a bit xD transition to schools is often led by the supervisors or by the reception teachers. As to sharing etc i'm afraid most of mine is done online at the moment! :o ....but i'm sure that most areas have some sort of information sharing system.

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Could it predominately be a confidence issue around teaching children reading and writing skills at the ELG level? I'm fairly certain most practitioners in our settings would have an idea of how to support children at the level of ELGs in any of the other areas of learning. So is it just to do with directly teaching literacy skills?

 

Cx

 

I think, for some settings that I have come across and not just PVI, it is the teaching that is being overlooked.

From my perspective as a yr1 teacher, there is a confusion as to what constitutes CI and what doesnt and how to integrate teaching along side this.

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I think, for some settings that I have come across and not just PVI, it is the teaching that is being overlooked.

From my perspective as a yr1 teacher, there is a confusion as to what constitutes CI and what doesnt and how to integrate teaching along side this.

 

Which is what Dame C wants to clarify and ensure that the balance of teaching is there against CI activities, I suppose.

 

catma are your settings on a first class type system
I have no idea what that is!!!!

We do have clusters but these are based around schools/CCs so the PVI settings don't tend to go to the meetings.

 

Cx

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Last year some time the teacher from our local CC came to us with a list of all the children in our area to see if they were attending with us. Some were, some we knew had moved to another setting others we didnt know. She was going to ask at all the settings within the CC area and any children who werent attending anywhere were going to be contacted. She had all the dates of birth and addresses form the birth registers I think.

Could that be something that could be done everywhere with settings sending a list of children in their care to the CC each term?

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