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Planning, Next Steps And Lots Of Children!

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I've planned in lots of different ways over the years and like most people have changed and tweeked and even chucked out and started again as policy and practice changes.

We are a 44 place day nursery and my question applies to all three of our age groups (babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers) but has the most impact in our pre-school room. Because the children are nearly all part-time (from 3 - 50 hours a week, but mostly between 15 and 30 hours a week) we can have 60 children on role for that room alone. There are 26 children at a time and 4 key members of staff.

We had an Ofsted inspection last September and were told that we were not clearly showing the progress that children made. So we changed the way we do our learning journeys to include and six weekly (approx) summary of progress. Staff choose two of their children each week, bring their learning journeys up to date with the obs they've collected then write a short progress summary. They decide on next steps and feed these into the following weeks planning. The following week, they choose two more children and so on. This means that over 6 - 8 weeks they have covered all their 12 - 15 key children.

However, our early years advisor has said that next steps should be carried out more often/sooner and that children are having to wait 6-8 weeks for follow up next steps. I can totally see what she means, but I just don't see how we can do it.

Staff can't possibly write up 12 - 15 learning journeys each week (they get 2 hrs non contact time each week) and we can't have 60 children's next steps to plan for each week - even if several of them are the same or similar. We are already well within ratio so its not possible to have more staff.

I would really appreciate some advice - I just don't know how to manage it.

Thank you


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12-15 key children is a massive key group we have generally have 9 max in preschool there is around 27 on role for 3-4's it rarely goes above this we plan next steps for every child each week. Not sure how 15 is manageable 10 is really difficult especially

What age is your preschool class??

I'm not sure how I can help though :( there are people who are in preschools who have similar size key groups so maybe they can help

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Yes it is very difficult to find the time to do just 1 dev file a week never mind 10 - 15 omg!! 60 children total for 4 staff must be a nightmare! I think i would be looking to employ 1 part time staff member, poss even just an apprentise to help out, just to get the time required. I think the 6 week wait is a very long time also, and it might be better to work on say 4 dev files per week.. and in that same week individually plan for just them 4 and also do the next steps the week after.. and rotate this way... it would take each key worker a month to complete this rota.. but shorten the gap of next steps considerably.


So basically concentrating on 4 children per keyworker per week.. approx 1 month cycles.. but always finishing the childrens next steps in a faster timeframe (1 week)


yes this is a difficult one i'm sorry to say.. but good luck, and at least you are busy :D

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Gosh that is a lot...

We are accredited cm's and 3 of us work together, we have to work to a 'key worker' system and the others do 4 short obs each week plus a longer more detailed one for each child each month, and I do 5 children's (sadly we don't get non contact time), we do next steps from each ob. but it can be that 'we carry on with *****', we then do a summery each 6 weeks.

We do our general planning together and put children's initials against the area's that we have identified as next steps... so the plan fits everyone (hope that makes sense).

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  • 2 weeks later...

feel your pain Beehive - we are a 42 place nursery but lots of children now only do 1 or 2 days so workload has increased dramatically. I try not to let key-groups get bigger than 8 each but that means that I have to take 5 or 6 and I get little to no time in the room.... No advice sorry - it is just going to cost us more money I am afraid to give staff more time :(

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