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Baseline...do You Tell The Truth?


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I am a bit cross today one of our parents came in to express her concerns about her older child who has started school in September...they have just head their first 'review' and his teacher wrote that he was able to count up to 10...hummm i know that this child is gifted and talented in psrn ...he can count up to and including 100's is able to do most of his 2/5 and 10 times tables picks up maths concepts quickly and is able to use them in practical activities, he is 4. However he is very quiet and will not put himself forward until he is VERY sure of the situation. He has a physical sen need and is often concerned that others see him as being different so is a cautious boy. We have sent his learning story and his reports to the school...they make it very clear about his ability. I assume that the school is 'dumbing down' in order to show progress over the year ...is this normal or do you celebrate the children's achievements?

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It's possible that this has been slightly lost in translation - one of the ELGs/scale points is about counting and using numbers to 10 - if she was saying he could do this because she is talking about EYFSP criteria then it would be true - he can!

 

Cx

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I have a girl in my class who basically lived in the shadow of her much more confident and vocal friend from Nursery. If she needed anything she would get her friend to ask us for it. If she was in a 1-1 or small group situation with me and my TA she would wither be silent or speak so quietly it was inaudible. Her baseline was based on what we had seen her do and had a note attached explaining the situation. Almost a term later, she has come out of her shell and is a much more confident, active and vocal participant member of the class. Her 'data' for this term will look like she has made a HUGE amount of progress within the term - count order recognise nos 1-10 confidently and independently, knows 22 sounds, can blends sounds together etc compared to the start of term. However this will be accompanied with a note explaining that she is much more confident etc so the Head doesn't get too excited about the progress this child has made and is expecting this amount of progress from her each term and from every child I teach!!!!

 

When I show parents the baseline data, I explain that this is a snapshot over 3 weeks and that the main focus is settling the children in, getting to know the children and that the average child will achieve 6 of the ELGS for each aspect thingy. (Sorry Friday night brain!) When I was in KS1 & 2, we erred on the side of caution and is a child was borderline between 2 levels we did give them the lower level on the basis that if we weren't confident about the judgement being the higher one then the lower one was right e.g. 1a rather than 2c.

 

It maybe that in the time the baseline data was being collected, that the little boy was lacking confidence and did not demonstrate these things during that time - we can only record what we see at the time. All our feeder nurseries and pre schools sent us an an agreed common transfer document which gave us an indication of where the children were and what they had achieved when the document had been completed bearing in mind that there was a gap of 12 weeks between completion of the document and them starting school. Some of those children may have been in fulltime Nursery and others may have had 6-8 weeks out of a setting for the holidays. We also found that some parents had worked with their children over the holidays, teaching them to write ther own name, counting letter sounds etc. Another factor would be that at that initial stage, they would be observing the chn to see who was able to count upto 10 to inform planning and enable those who were not at that time to have opportunities to enable them to achieve this ELG. Perhaps next year it might be worth considering sending up reports/transfer documents at the end of the summer term to give the teachers an opportunity to see what the children have achieved by then to enable them to take this into account in September.

 

Hope this helps

 

:-)

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Thanks for the replies...Catma i completely understand and indeed this was what i told his Mother... Bluesheep thank you for that too. The learning stories are sent at the end of term in July as are the reports so the teachers have had the info for some time( i suspect that they haven't read it!) we have no common transfer form in this area unless the children are on Profile. I agree that some children go backwards a bit over the holidays...but not this one...his thing is maths ...it is his way of 'showing off'(important for a child lacking in confidence) The parents have not hot housed this child at all (in fact the opposite because there were some concerns about his health)but they are aware of his abilities and need to feel proud of him...it just makes me sad to feel that the school just haven't found his fantastic talents xD fingers crossed that they wise up and check again.

Thanks for the support ladies...needed a bit of a sensible reply thank you :o

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Hi I would support what everyone has already said and I would add that as a reception teacher that the transition documents that I get from several different settings vary hugely in their accuracy (even though we do have a common transfer document!) one setting for example highlights up to points 7 and 8 in all areas for for almost every child!! so from this setting, they are not worth the paper they are written on (despite my best efforts with liasing with them) I therefore have no option but to pretty much start from scratch in September in recording where the children are at in my setting. To arrive at my baseline, I go purely from observations of the children at child initiated play over the first 5 weeks of term. So if the little boy in question didn't use numbers in his play in the first couple of weeks when I am arriving at my baseline score then that would be reflected in his score.

 

Unfortunately there is a numbers game being played to a certain extent with the profile. I have to achieve at least 4 points progress with each child in all areas over the course of the year for progress to be considered 'good' by Ofsted. I am not allowed to give 8s or 9s in CLL and PSRN unless I am absolutely certain that a child is capable of achieving a level 3 by the end of Y2 and my head moderates this. So really that filters down to mean I have no choice but to not start a child off on more than 2 or 3 points on my baseline for each area.

 

I am sure that the school are well aware of this boy's talents and are differentiating for him accordingly and they should have communicated this to his parents even if they are not showing it on the profile. When I do parents meetings I always explain how it works by saying things like 'this is where I feel x is on the profile, I imagine he can do x but I havn't seen him use this knowledge in his play yet so I havn't got the evidence to give him this point at the moment'

 

Deb

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It can be so difficult determining on baseline what a child can do consistently and what they are still consolidating. And there are so many reasons why a child can be hesitant or not appear to transfer the skills they have. Even the very best learning journeys can also be difficult to interpret. Over time this little boy will be recognised to have the skills you know he has and be moved forward accordingly.

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It can be so difficult determining on baseline what a child can do consistently and what they are still consolidating. And there are so many reasons why a child can be hesitant or not appear to transfer the skills they have. Even the very best learning journeys can also be difficult to interpret. Over time this little boy will be recognised to have the skills you know he has and be moved forward accordingly.

xx thanks susan....sometimes you just need reassurance that things are ok! :o

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Hi I would support what everyone has already said and I would add that as a reception teacher that the transition documents that I get from several different settings vary hugely in their accuracy (even though we do have a common transfer document!) one setting for example highlights up to points 7 and 8 in all areas for for almost every child!! so from this setting, they are not worth the paper they are written on (despite my best efforts with liasing with them) I therefore have no option but to pretty much start from scratch in September in recording where the children are at in my setting.

 

I'm so glad it's not just me that experiences this. We don't have a common transfer document and I get my children from many different settings. I only get paperwork from one of them and the other consistently sends me children who they are giving 7, 8 or even 9 on the EYFSP to. I get to the end of the year and I'm not giving them this!

 

It's been really interesting reading this discussion. I don't often talk to my parents in terms of specific EYFSP points but when I do have to remind myself to make sure I communicate clearly that this is what they can do, not necessarily all they can do!

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I don't often talk to my parents in terms of specific EYFSP points but when I do have to remind myself to make sure I communicate clearly that this is what they can do, not necessarily all they can do!

 

 

Thats a really good point too.

 

I tend to be far more vague on specific achievement, concentrating on PSE type issues but if you are asking parents to contribute to the profile, then this needs to be made clear and maybe the sort of confusion that Finleysmaid is reporting would be avoided.

 

Did the parents concerned have an opportunity to make a contribution?

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Guest tinkerbell

I agree with some of the points that have been made already.

We have an intake of 15 and they have come from 10 different settings this year ,1 child never having been to a nursery as well.As mentioned the information from these settings vary .We have our parents evening in October and talk about how the children are settling in as this is the most important aspect as far as I am concerned,(settled ,happy,safe children will be ready to learn.)

 

Now a child who has been attending a nursery from 6 months until they start school will be coming with paper work to generally say how confident they are ,able to dress and take care of their personal hygiene,have formed good relationships with peers and adults etc.....it isn't always the case when they hit school , now the youngest,have to learn to trust new adults (ratio 2 -10 children20in class ), make new friends,have to put coats etc on at playtime ,lunchtime ,have to ask to go to the toilet (down the corridor)....it is all a huge new experience and I have to explain to the parents what we have observed in the first 4 weeks in our setting.

The same would go for the number work or any other area of the curriculum ,there would probably not be enough evidence to confidently say the child was so very good in maths.

 

I don't believe we are untruthful we just state what we have evidence for.Last year I had a little girl who could read when she started school and I was more than happy to record this appropriately because she was reading everything in the classroom and reading to the children .

I don't agree with 'cooking the books' and children who achieve should be recorded as having done so.I give 9's if a child has achieved a 9.My LEA does not like it but tough! I have also tracked the children who I gave 9's to over the years and they have all achieved 5's + so I am happy with my judgements ,as is my headteacher who was asked by the LEA to 'have a look at my results one year!' Last year I had a strange group and actually quite a few for one reason or another didn't achieve 6 in writing and the LEA again didn't like the results...can't win.

So my advice is be true to yourself and the children

Tinkerbell

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We have always been told that a child has achieved a DM/ELG only when s/he is applying his/her knowledge/skills independently during his/her activities/play (approx 80% of the evidence towards the DM/ELG should be independent activity).

 

Although Reception teachers should take into account the nursery records and parent/carer knowledge (I certainly do), they can not use it solely as their evidence towards a DM/ELG.

 

So we have to wait until we observe the child recognising/counting(with accurate 1-1 correspondence) /ordering and writing numerals to 20 mainly independently before stating s/he has achieved scale point 9. With regard to times tables, these can be learnt by rote (like a song). It's whether the child can independently put objects into into sets of 2s/5s/10s and then state that "10 groups of twos makes 20" etc.

 

This is very difficult to observe, as others have said, especially when children are settling in. I'm sure once he is settled he will show his abilities independently....as long as there are lots of open-ended maths activities.

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Millhill absolutely agree about the 80%, the independence and the not just doing things by rote...but i also have to say that if i as a pre-school am saying X does X on a regular basis and am providing evidence of this then i would hope that schools are reading this and supplying lots of maths activities to encourage the children to show off their talents. Lots of children are shy and quite but they should be supported to develop their talents and their confidence not just left to their own devices until they are loud enough to be heard! As pre-schools become more 'professional' i would hope that schools start to listen more to our information...I produce 2 years worth of evidence on a childs abilities ...i guess it would be nice to feel that this was being passed on for a reason and teachers are not just throwing it to one side and saying if i haven't seen it it doesn't happen. :o

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Having come from a pre-school background myself, I can completely understand your frustrations Finleysmaid.

 

As a Reception teacher I make an effort to read through every child's nursery record and will use them to provide activities based on children's interests/needs and abilities. However, the strict rules my LEA puts on awarding scale points can prevent me from giving the point even if the nursery has provided lots of evidence. I need to provide evidence that the child has achieved these things independently in my class as well and sometimes this just doesn't happen no matter how open ended the activities are.

 

I do think it slightly ridiculous that I am expected to assess 30 children on entry doing things independently in their play!

 

It might be that the Reception teacher in this boy's class hasn't provided open ended maths activities for the child to show his true potential, but it could also be possible that s/he is worried about awarding DMs/scale points without enough 'independent' evidence and the fact that s/he has to assess 29 other children in this way.

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As pre-schools become more 'professional' i would hope that schools start to listen more to our information...I produce 2 years worth of evidence on a childs abilities ...i guess it would be nice to feel that this was being passed on for a reason and teachers are not just throwing it to one side and saying if i haven't seen it it doesn't happen. xD

 

I couldn't agree more!..we've had exactly the same situation this year with the reception teacher saying the children are 'coming in low' on their PSED scores in particular, when they have been very capable and confident with us. I just believe that school is a huge shock to these 4 year old children. After all they've had 6 weeks or so off and then thrust into a new environment, new adults and often new children to get to know. Not forgetting their personality types...those children who may have taken 2 years to feel their feet in pre-school and who we know will take at least until Christmas to actually speak to the adults in a new environment! I was not happy with the comments from the reception teacher about the children coming in low, so I arranged a meeting with her and other reception teacher, head and also head of foundation stage, together with my advisory teacher from local authority to all sit together around one table and discuss the baseline scores. Was quite interesting to hear the advisory teacher say, 'seems strange that these children are coming from an outstanding setting (my setting) into a satisfactory school' and you are recording them as 'low' on the baseline assessment criteria! :o

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I do look through the paperwork I get given from pre-schools and nurseries. It is hugely varying. If I can get to meet with staff at the setting I much prefer this - the annecdotal evidence and 'chatty' stuff you might not necessarily write down is really useful. However there is sometimes a huge amount of paperwork to look through. I do understand how you feel about putting together lots of information only for someone to ignore it. I feel exactly the same about all the effort I put in to collecting evidence to support profile points which is completely unseen by the Y1 teacher.

 

I just believe that school is a huge shock to these 4 year old children. After all they've had 6 weeks or so off and then thrust into a new environment, new adults and often new children to get to know. Not forgetting their personality types...those children who may have taken 2 years to feel their feet in pre-school and who we know will take at least until Christmas to actually speak to the adults in a new environment!

 

I think this is a really key point.

 

If information I'm getting from another setting is telling me for example that a child is brilliant at number then I will look for evidence of it but at the same time I want to be sure that I've seen at least some evidence of what I'm saying they can do. The 4 weeks I do baseline over isn't really long enough to get to know the children in any way. I often find that children appear to have made masses of progress in the first term - they haven't really just that I an they have got to know each other properly! I've also had it work the other way where I've been told that a child is really unsure of themselves, doesn't participate in anything without lots of encouragement etc etc and then I find they do lots of things and seem quite at home. Sometimes a different place, different people, a different set of children to mix with and of course being 6 weeks older can make a world of difference in any direction!

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It also comes down to what do you really need at the point of transition - All I wanted was a clear summative judgement that was showing me the attainment plus some exemplification to demonstrate the attainment in context. I really didn't have time to read 30 lots of several years worth of obsevations just to make a judgement on a child I hadn't had enough time to really get to know in the same depth.

 

Do we need to send lots of observtaions or just one clear document stating the dev matters band the child is mostly working at and if this is emerging or secure for example. And thinking about it this is what will be needed from this Sept onwards!!

 

It's clarity not quantity I would want the most!!

 

Cx

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It also comes down to what do you really need at the point of transition - All I wanted was a clear summative judgement that was showing me the attainment plus some exemplification to demonstrate the attainment in context. I really didn't have time to read 30 lots of several years worth of obsevations just to make a judgement on a child I hadn't had enough time to really get to know in the same depth.

 

Do we need to send lots of observtaions or just one clear document stating the dev matters band the child is mostly working at and if this is emerging or secure for example. And thinking about it this is what will be needed from this Sept onwards!!

 

It's clarity not quantity I would want the most!!

 

Cx

do you know catma i ask all my schools what they want and they rarely give me anything to work from...we do a tracking system so it is based on DM's from the time they start to the time they finish...we often find the teachers look at what they can't do rather than what they can(because it takes less time)....all points have exemplification. I send to a variety of schools (in both the private and public sectors ..as well as sen schools). I arrange transition visits to all the schools(at vast cost to ourselves for which we get no funding) and am often greeted by a less than enthusastic reponse...but i keep going and they get used to me after a while. The best(??) response was ...why are you coming to visit ...has he got something wrong with him? :o my very local schools have now got the message and also send a teacher to visit us. Unfortunately the case i am referring to the teacher who visited has been moved to another class over the holidays...so i don't know the teacher he is with (or i might have phoned) the head teacher has also changed recently so i don't have the same sort of relationship with her than i did with the previous one. oh and we also send copies of all the reports ..the last one for this child made his abilities very clear.

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It must be very frustrating, especially when you try to make it work for people in different ways!!

 

In my LA it's nowhere near perfect but we try as the EYFS team to have a very "can do" approach towards encouraging practitioners from both pre schools and schools to share information and slowly we chip away at it. I think reception teachers should be able to look at what is sent to them as a summative within DM and translate that into the skills and developmental stage of the EYFSP if they need to. We developed a record for DM that can be passed along and shows the summative judgements at key transitions which has helped.

 

I really get cross with on entry that is about what they can't do - a negative model gives you nothing to work from and just undermines what the child can do. This was what the EYFS wanted us to avoid as we "start from what the child can do". Yes they can regress with transition - I know I'm not quite myself for a while when I've changed jobs!! But I really try to impress on practitioners that what a previous setting sends you is to be viewed as the child's previous best. If there was more focus on the skills a child is using then the similarities of the info we share would make more sense I think rather then just knowledge - sharing what they do with numbers creatively rather than just they can count to x or y might make a difference? Maybe the new framwork will help with this?

 

But teachers in reception then go on to complain that Yr1 ignore their assessments, Yr 6 complain that secondary ignore their judgements and so on it goes!!!

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ok a bit of an update spoke to Mum today and she is obviously concerned ...teacher suggested that her son may have aspergers! senco reassured her that things were not that bleak :(xD He is basically not chatting to his peers and will turn away from them when they come over...but at his birthday party this week he was happily chatting to them at home. I have suggested Mum has people over for tea etcetc... his report states how shy he is and that he is very concerned by new situations...he is an overthinker and will be taking on board all the information given...but it does sound as if he is not expressing himself so i guess this is the issue here. Senco is doing an ob next week, i'll see what happens then :o

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