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Difficulty adapting to revised EYFS and other issues


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I lead a large EYFS team in a primary school. We have a 52 place nursery and staff morale is very low. Their concerns range from the change to opening hours (now different to rest of the school) and the role of the key worker.

The TA's feel they are doing the same job as a teacher without the pay and the teachers feel they are not teaching but in the role of providing child care and toilet training.

In suffolk we have recently changed the entry into school / nursery we now have all children starting in September so that means the children are younger and the staff are struggling with the work load.

I have given them training on the new EYFS, our new Learning Journeys, planning and assessment , including examples and am arranging visits to other nurseries. I am not sure what else I can do. We have meetings arranged next week with the teachers and then with the TA's to discuss their concerns and the way forward. I have a list so I can prepare for the meeting however there are several things I can't change.

Any ideas???? I tried the magic wand but it didn't work!

 

s

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I suppose as a TA it does depend on their actual job descriptionand paid hours, not the class they work in. The actual requirement is for a key person, not a key worker which is different...and tehnically under teachers pay and conditions/teaching standards all teachers are ultimately responsible for all the children in their care and ensuring they get an education that is tailored to meet their needs, regardless of whether they teach in EYFS or not.

I've attached a useful document which might help - I know it says reception but its helpful for school settings.

 

As for child care and toilet training - well they are working in the EYFS which is about both childcare and education regardless of whether you are a school or not, so not sure what to suggest really!!

 

Cx

Key person in reception guidance.pdf

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I'm sorry but I have absolutely no sympathy for nursery/reception teachers who winge about toileting and changing nappies if they don't want to work with that age children then get another job! Sorry if others disagree but soggy bottoms comes with the territory

 

well said and it is just how everybody else feels, if it is the age of the child or if that child has difficulties then this is everybodies job that is supporting them. Within early years we are often changing nappies and helping and supporting the child and parents with toileting needs.

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well said. PImms Early education is all about play, fun, enabling an interesting environment, following and enhancing childrens interests, providing secure, loving environment, changing nappies and clearing up sick, everyone of this actions and i have only named a few are all about the children learning and im sure all fit in the EYFS and DM's.

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I wish when 'key whatever you want to call them systems' became the must do that they hadn't been sold to us as a 'key worker system' as now a key worker is something different, we tried to change to key person a couple of years ago but it just wouldn't stick with staff or parent's so went back to key workers...rightly or wrongly, did like 'key carers' which I saw on here the other day, but again it's getting it to stick and would mean changing masses of documentation :/

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I agree with you all, that is the difficulty....trying to get this across is a little more difficult. I have used direct quotes from the statutory guidance within the information I gave them to absorb over the holidays..... this is certainly giving me plenty of opportunities 'to use a range of leadership styles' (my professional development target!)

 

Thanks for the link Catma.

s

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....trying to get this across is a little more difficult.

 

I would be very direct blunt and to the point telling them that at the end of the day they are there to meet the needs of the individual children - not there to teach a "class", the class is made up of individual with lots of differing needs and they are the adults that the children look to to meet them, get on with it or get out. Sorry but my fuse must be much shorter than yours is and as for leadership style then this must make me a dictator.

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how about comparing their job with a pre-school assistants position...i suspect that they would find quite quickly that they are much better paid than my staff :( with a lot more added benefits and a lot less responsibilities!

I think you need to do the we're all in it together talk...for better for worst ....thats the way it now is etc etc in other words put up and shut up or go somewhere else!!! sometimes people need to be reminded that they have a great job and are lucky to have one in this day and age too.

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Is the nursery a maintained nursery?

52 places throughout the day?

Ie 26 each session? Morning and afternoon?

 

If so, then it should be staffed by a teacher and NNEB (or level 3 person with a suitable qualification)

 

It beggars belief to me that either qualified staff member in a nursery where the children are coming in at 3 years old do not expect to support toilet training in some instances!

 

I can't comment on issues regarding change of hours as I am not sure what hours the nursery does, but our nursery hours mean staff do not get lunch breaks at the same time as school staff.

This isn't a huge problem just that sometimes things talked about at lunchtime don't get passed down to us!

 

Maybe morale is about new hours being thrust upon them? Again I am not sure re your situation.

 

I don't know what you mean about one intake in September so children are younger? We take each term so there are always new 3 year olds coming in.

 

Maybe your up and coming meetings will actually get to the bottom of what's wrong?

 

Good luck!

 

 

 

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I'm pre-school so agree with what been said above

BUT

I also volunteer at 2 schools in their nursery and they are both struggling with everything too (as are their reception staff) - I just laugh at them when they are having a moan and tell them they need to spend a day at a pack-away, committee run pre-school then they'd have even more to moan about xD

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actually thats intereting about the nursery intake...the schools have changed to one intake (our local ones did this a while ago) but why is this affecting the nursery. Nursery education is not compulsory and usually the LEA's do not organise the intake (well not in my region) so who is making the decision to take them in one go?

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Right sit down everyone and take a big deep breath....are you ready???

 

It is a 52 place Nursery, 26 in the morning and 26 in the afternoon. There is one teacher, 1 NNEB and 2 TA's each session!

 

We are always over subscribed so all parents tend to want their child to have a place and start in September. The hours changed to ensure the children get their 3 hour entitlement which means the hours are different to school.

 

S

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Health Warning: I am not suggesting for one minute that teachers are right not to take part in care routines

 

It might help to unpick and understand a little of the history to this situation in order to find ways to move forward.

 

To the best of my knowledge there was no concept of Key Person in a statutory way prior to the EYFS documents of 2008. Whatever system of Key Workers existed in non maintained settings prior to that point, having a key person was not the norm or expectation in maintained schools. All teachers' roles and responsibilities were and are still governed by the Teachers pay and conditions regulations and the Teachers standards. Whatever system is in place, ultimately it is the teacher of the class who will be held to acccount for the outcomes of all their children, irrespective of key groups that others may be given. Therefore however you cut it the teacher in a school is the overall key person for all children. The key person is not necessarily about doing the same job, but giving children an adult who supports their emotional wellbeing. Your premises manager could be a key person!

 

The role of classroom TAs in schools is generally working under the direction of the teacher (which means the teacher plans and directs their work, unless they are HLTAs etc where a different expecations) and the job expectations are usually the same regardless of the phase the TA is in, so again you get conflict because a TA in year 1 wouldn't be doing things expected of a TA in Reception for example. Have you looked at the equality of support the TAs might get to undertake the different roles they have been asked to do e.g. do they get similar non-contact time to undertake any expected writing up or assessing they have to do like the teachers? Could you look at it from this perspective with your team to unpick the different expectations each individual, as a key person, may have placed upon them??

 

In neither of those statutory documents (TPC and TS) has it indicated that teachers would be routinely expected to manage hygiene needs. In fact much local and national advice and guidance has indicated that the core business of a teacher is to be teaching and that schools should ensure that they can do this. This creates another clash with the EYFS framework, so there has been a conflict on the expectations placed on all teachers in relation to their role vs. those placed in the Nursery or Reception classes in a school. In my estimation, there needs to be an understanding from those teachers that whilst they are entitled to similar expectations of any other teacher in the school, they have become teachers in a phase where there is also a separate body of legislation which will also colour their day to day working expectations. Is this possibly the area that you could focus on with them?

 

With the increase of hours it is possible for a teacher to experience a reduction in their conditions of employment, in that the hours would e.g. take them over the statutory directed time or reduce the lunch breaks created through custom and practice. Schools have found creative ways around this, ranging from using breakfast clubs and other wrap around to having the additional hours worked as additional non-contact time...really you have to look at your own possibilities here!

 

The age of entry into Nursery hasn't got younger - they still have to be 3+ something to start in a maintained nursery as far as I know (unless it has under 3 provision) what you may be experiencing is a larger number of younger aged children? That is the same for everyone nationally not just your team! Where we have been doing one point of entry for years now it all evens out and is just a phase of adjustment to get through. It does mean changing your expectations to match the age profile of your group though - you won't be able to do the same things as before or you'll find it is frustrating! (Having supported umpteen schools with this I know!!)

 

Hope that gives some ways to look at it and understand their frustrations!

Cx

Edited by catma
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If they all start in September that has no affect on what age they are...they're all still 3...i don't quite get the all start in September point.

 

4 staff with 26 children i'd say your lucky.....a lot of schools only have 2.

 

What exactly are the TA's doing which they feel is the teachers job....in my experience schools do not maintain Learning Journeys like PDN's, Pre-Schools, etc.or take on the interest planning like us either...the teacher planned, assessed, tracked etc. for whole group TA did activities, obs....you'll have to elaborate for some advice??

 

How are the change in hours affecting nurery.....is it just staff preference??

 

Find me a 3/4 year old who doesn't occasionally wet themselves its part of the territory....isn't it?? :huh:

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Hi - I'm not sure if this helps with regard to the school day. I am a teacher in a maintained nursery unit.

  • I have 1 nursery nurse and a TA (morning sessions)
  • I have 1 TA in the afternoons, although as numbers rise over the year this can increase to 2 TAs
  • Sessions take place within the school day
  • 8.45 a.m. - 11.45 a.m. (morning session)
  • 11.45 a.m. - 12.45 p.m. (lunchtime)
  • 12.15 p.m. - 3.15 p.m. (afternoon session)
  • Parents can choose how many sessions they require - spaces permitting of course (paying for anything over their entitlement i.e. £9 per session/£3 lunchtime) - so some children stay all day
  • One TA is also an MTA who leaves after lunch
  • The MTA arrives at 11.45 a.m. when some children stay for lunch and some go home
  • I have different afternoon staff
  • It is rare for children to attend p.m. sessions only - as you will see the 'beginning' of the p.m. session overlaps the lunchtime

This timing of sessions within the school day works well for us - the children still have their 3 hour entitlement and I still have a lunch break (although I always have a working lunch - catching up with paperwork etc! ;) )

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Hi Sharon,

I can remember way back when the EYFS curriculum first came in as a setting we did some work on shared values as a team. It was very useful to use a new curriculum change to revisit what everyone is trying to do. Actually moving to one point entry is great for the reception classes and is really positive for them, but there is a BIG impact on nursery and this should be acknowledged. There is a huge difference between a child at 42 months and a child at 36 months. There is also the fact that the nursery class lose all their good role models and don't have that good language model the older children provided up to Christmas. This does put more pressure on the adults both in terms of settling/ toileting support as well as providing the language role models that older children used to provide. It is always an issue where a setting has teachers and other early years practitioners about the disparity in wages. Again the unfairness of this needs to be acknowledged and some work needs to be done as a team to point out why a teacher might get more money. Firstly each teacher needs to have an overview of all the children in the class and not just their key children; also the teacher is judged professionally on how well they lead the team of practitioners in their room - Ofsted do not give a grade to anyone other than teachers so they have the responsibility of the learning experiences for all the children whether they or someone else is delivering them. If something was to go wrong in the room it is the teacher who is the person who is primarily legally held to account.

Also remember a key thing I have learnt is that staff moan. A lot. The art is to sort out when there is a genuine issue as opposed to general moaning. That it why it is good every few years to have a revisit to what the core ethos of by our setting is especially when there is a significant change.

Finally the new curriculum really is good news especially for nursery - the prime/ specific areas split frees up staff to concentrate properly on settling children and should welcomed. Also the actual development matters statements are generally much more sensible and written in clearer language.

Bit of a long post hope this helps

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Thanks all of you for your responses as Catma pointed out there are differences and a clash between the EYFS framework and teachers pay and conditions. The nursery teachers technically have more contact time with the children than the other teachers ( we have increased their PPA to cover this).

 

Again as Catma pointed out ( you were really on the ball you must have had 3 weetabix for breakfast!) The TA's in Nursery do have a role that is different to TA's within the rest of the school, and whilst it shouldn't always come down to pay they are paid the same as a TA in Year 4 for example who possibly works with a few small groups, hears readers and supports within a classroom. ( Not that that isn't vital as I know it is it was just an example of the differences). Therefore I can totally understand there why they are upset. They do get some time for updating their Learning Journeys however I know they also do lots in their own time.

 

I didn't mean the age of entry into Nursery had got younger - we don't have under 3 provision- we do have a larger number of younger aged children starting in September whereas previously with 3 points of entry there would be older children like as previously mentioned act as good role models etc etc and I know it is the same nationally. The impact is a larger volume of younger children.

 

It has been interesting to hear the variety of views; I am on the fence with my legs dangling over both sides they swing from understanding, empathising and trying to be supportive to "get on with it you have a job most people would kill for, working part time in a great school with great children, supportive parents and when a TA position became available further up the school 160 people applied for"

 

S

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Jules2382 just before you get lynched by a rampant bunch of Reception teachers / Nursery Nurses and TA's we do maintain Learning Journeys like PDN's, Pre-Schools, etc., We do take on the interest planning in sometimes difficult circumstances (data driven Headteachers, Whole school planning, Whole school Topics and requirements of detailed long, medium and short term planning that has to be given to the Head in advance).

The teacher does have overall responsibility however my TA's are involved in planning, assessments, tracking and observations etc. for the whole group and they also do activities, obs....We work as a team and I do as many bottom wiping, clothes changing and paint pot washing as they do! We have a she who sees it, smelt it or slipped in it, sorts it policy!

 

What is great about the early years is the variety from day to day and from setting to setting as well as county wide. The forum gives us the opportunity to find out how everyone else does it and how divererse the EYFS and the people who have chosen to work within it are. I think from the amount of members who contribute at all different times of day to this forum at weekends, during holidays, on bank holidays shows our dedication to the children we spend our days with.....or that we are totally bonkers!

 

S

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ok if you dont think stick works what about carrot....can you boost their self esteem and tell them what an important job they are doing. Why is eyfs important? what percentage of their learning do they do under the age of 5? the value of play? etc etc....can you get them to some inspirational training ? can they tell the other ta's how they lay the foundations for the childrens future learning.

Working in the eyfs is truly special. It is not like other jobs in the school. They have much more of a chance to make a difference to the children holistically. Perhaps some visits to some inspirational settings in the area? They have the chance to adapt and change their environment (if you as the manager allow!) can they take on more responsiblity but see it as a benefit not a problem?

just an idea...of course i don't know you or your setting so i might be talking rubbish...please feel free to ignore. I think maybe you need to raise the role to the point that the other ta's in the school are clamoring to be in your department!

 

(maybe i'm losing the plot ...too many learning stories to be done!)

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Sorry Sharon probably didn't make myself clear.....I meant in the way individual children are planned for. We have group planning for shared interests, ignited from things that happen or trips etc. but each child's Learning Journey is their own interest with an activity planned and observed each week. So for instance a full time child in my nursery in a year(if they attended every week of the year would have 51 photograph observation sheets that directly link to current interests and tell a story of how their interest and learning has grown and changed over this period of time, a long with 12 long observation sheets that will hopefully fill the gaps in their learning we haven't covered yet which can then be planned for and snapshot observations for those WOW moments in the form of photos and post it's.

In our biggest room there is 27 children who do different sessions so each key person has 9 each. We're a PDN!

I feel for school Foundation units as they do not have the same freedom as pre-schools, CC's, PDN's, etc.

I wasn't saying that you don't do them, I meant from experience the learning journeys are more about spontaneous obs from the group planning rather than individual planning....sorry if this isn't the case for you! Didn't mean to offend :)

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Have only just caught up with this thread - this is such a thorny issue that we've all wrestled with from time to time.

 

Before I say anything, I have to say I'm firmly in the 'if you work with children in the EYFS then you must expect to wipe noses, change nappies and deal with toileting accidents' brigade. It goes with the territory and is a key part in helping children become independent. If a new member of staff was complaining that these duties are not their responsibilities, then I would be seriously asking them if this was the right job for them. And yes, perhaps I'd use the stick and not the carrot!

 

However traditionally, practitioners in a school nursery might not have had to change children as regularly as they do now. Practitioners who have been in the job for some years might well remember the 'good old days' when a child would have to be fully toilet trained before they could be admitted to the setting. So, while children still have accidents, practitioners were not expected to change nappies routinely. Suddenly, when children started to be admitted without having to be toilet trained, practitioners found themselves faced with lots of children with toileting needs which for some people was a shock to their system. In some cases, job descriptions made no mention of supporting children's toileting and so a material change was being made to their terms and conditions of employment, sometimes with little or no discussion about the implications.

 

It is great to see teachers on this discussion saying that they take an equal responsibility for changing nappies and so on, but for many people I've spoken to this is not the case (I'm sure some teachers are as challenged as some TAs have been by the changes to the early years landscape following the introduction of the EYFS).

 

I guess my point is that practitioners, TAs, and teachers have faced many changes and challenges in their professional roles over the past few years and most of those have required a change in practice and working conditions, and an increase in the complexity and number of tasks and roles involved in delivering the EYFS. Sometimes it can feel that we have just got to grips with one change, when along comes another which requires us to reflect, and change often deeply held beliefs about what our roles are. Many of them have been non-negotiable and perhaps practitioners feel that whilst children's autonomy and freedom increased, so theirs has diminished over the years.

 

I particularly liked androyd's comment that 'staff moan' and I think it is really important to dig beneath the surface to see what is really going on here - is there a complete mismatch between what staff are expected to do, what it says in their job descriptions, and what they believe their job is all about? Finleysmaid point about how special it is working in the EYFS is important, but unless the whole staff team believes that and understands why the key person system is so important then all your entreaties are likely to fall on deaf ears.

 

The nappy changing/toileting issue can be a frustrating one for everybody - we've all had days when it felt like we hadn't stepped out of the toilet for more than half an hour at a time, and it can be the least pleasant part of the job. Even the most child-centred practitioners can lose sight of the wider picture from time to time and forget the important role supporting toileting can have in building trusting relationships with children and helping them to become independent and able to meet their own needs when they are ready to take on that responsibility.

 

Sorry for the ramble, I just wanted to add another perspective to the debate. :1b

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Thank you everyone you have given me lots to think about.

 

One of the issues in Nursery is how the entitlement for the 15 hours is managed. At our nursery hours are now different to the rest of the school Morning session 8.30am to 11.30am and Afternoon session 12.20pm to 3.20pm (school hours 8:50 to 3:30)

 

As you can see technically staff have 50 minutes lunch but as you are all aware parents are sometimes late and need to talk are this impacts on the lunch break. Is this something that happens everywhere? Is this just part and parcel of being in the Early Years? Does anyone have any creative ideas of how we could organise the sessions. We have a lunchclub that we do want to lose because of the additional funds it brings into the school so could not incorporate lunch into sessions as other settings have done.

 

Do other staff in Maintained nurseries get breaks or additional non-contact time? (other than ppa, if the staff worked in Year 2 they would have some playtimes and assembly times for example)

 

As I type this I think I already know the answers but having clarified the lexpected / legal aspects of the employment I want to check the reality.

 

Thanks

 

S

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