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Setting up a Foundation Unit


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Hi all,

 

I'm a Reception teacher and Early Years Coordinator, who has been given the task of researching the organisation of a FSU, in our school, ready to discuss at a meeting next week.

 

We currently have a pre-school on site, which is not managed by the school and is going to close in the next few months. After many meetings with Early Years Consultants and Governors, it has been decided to set up as an FSU, with me taking a key role in setting it up and overseeing it.

 

I'm planning on going on some visits and am very excited by the challenge, but was wondering if anyone here could offer any suggestions for how we organise the day, timetables, use of adults and planning?

 

It's still very much in the planning stage, but we are likely to have at least 2 rooms and an outdoor area. At the moment I'm thinking we should have a base for F1 and F2, where we can do phonics, whole group sessions etc and then come together for continuous provision, with adults either working on focus activities or playing/observing. Any thoughts on this?

 

We are likely to have 1 teacher (me) 1 nvq 3, 1 nvq2 and possibly an unqualified assistant. Do you think both F1 & F2 should have equal 'teacher time' or do you think F2 should have more time with the teacher?

 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

 

Thank you!

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I'd be interested to know if an FSU can run with just one teacher or if you need 2 - 1 for nursery (F1) and 1 for reception (F2). All my experiences of them have 2 teachers and if they can run with just one does that have repercussions for preschools located near schools?

 

Certainly I would say that an area for each age group to have adult input is helpful as I have been in one FSU where the areas were not well separated and it made it difficult to "teach" due to distractions from the other "teaching" that was going on at the same time. And sometimes I long for a quiet corner to be able to hear readers or work on phonics with small groups.

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I also do not know of any FSU's with only one teacher.

 

I expect logically it will have a lot to do with the numbers you are expecting to have in the unit.

 

A local FSU has a reception group of 30 and then up to 26 nursery children. They have 2 teachers but the one is part time as the nursery is mornings only. I think they have a NNEB and a TA.

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I think you would need 1 teacher for up to 30 reception children AND 1 teacher + a level 3 for the nursery children, and be able to have up to 26 nursery age. You wouldn't legally need another TA to work with the reception children but obviously this would be preferable.

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Thank you all for your replies. We've had a guidance from an Early Years Development officer and they have suggested that the minimum staff required would be 1 teacher, 1 NVQ level 3, 1 NVQ level 2 and an unqualified assistant. This was based on a model of 30 reception and 22 pre-school, therefore children aged between 3-5. Apparently we can apply to extend the age range of the school once we have an FSU, when we can then call it a Nursery class and have funding for another teacher. It seems very complicated!

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We are a foundation stage partnership (we don't call ourselves a unit as we have separate management). So I am the manager of a PVI and operate on a ratio of 1:8 (usually 1:6) with maximum 30 children per session and we work in partnership with the school F2 who have 3 classes of 30, with 3 teachers and 4 TA's. We have 4 'classrooms' and share resources, and I plan with the teachers. Currently the children only free flow/mix outside, but by the summer term, depending on the cohort (currently ours are very challenging!) we have free flowed and mixed among the four classrooms as they all interlink and can flow from one to another.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all for your replies. I've been on some interesting visits this week and it seems there's a variety of ways to make this work, depending on your school.

 

Can I ask, do you assign all children in the FSU a 'key person' or just those of pre school age? At the moment it looks likely we will have 30 Rec and 16 pre school age, between 5 staff.

 

Thanks again!

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  • 2 months later...

Hi MCL,

 

We're setting up in the hope of opening after Easter, as this is when the pre-school next door is closing. We've had a coffee morning for parents of pre-school and Reception children to talk about how we hope to run it and to reassure them, that their children will be getting the education they need.

 

I've been given the task of gathering information for our brochure. Any ideas or examples gratefully received please!

 

We are also in the process of thinking of names. Not so keen on the term Foundation Stage Unit- sounds a bit clinical! I prefer Early Years Centre I think.

 

One setting we visited called the pre-school children Little Acorns and Reception children Big Acorns, which was quite sweet. Desperately trying to think of similar ideas.

 

MCL- Are you also in the process of setting up an FSU?

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Hi MrsL2009,

 

We are just at the talking our options through stage ATM, so are not as far forward as you are.

Could you give me an idea of how long it has taken you to get this far?

 

MCL

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Hi,

I too have been given this task!

We are looking to set up in September but I feel a little apprehensive about it all. I don't know much about key worker systems and feel worried about the organisation of staff - little bit old fashioned maybe but I think I will struggle with not being the 'reception' teacher. Has anyone else felt like this?

:)

 

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I too am worried about the organisation of adults/ keyworkers etc. Should only pre-school age children have a keyworker?

 

It will be a challenge, but I think the FSU will benefit our children overall.

 

MCL- we've been talking about it since about November last year, but we have a lot of legal procedures and TUPE to go through, as the current pre-school is closing and school is taking on the provision. We've got a lot of moving of furniture and resources to do over the Easter holidays! Hope all goes well in your school.

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  • 4 months later...

Hi we are moving from 2 FS2 classes and one FS1 to a unit in September we will have 3 teachers and 4 TA's, all FS1 children have a key worker and for the FS2 it is their class teacher! (or on our case as we job share we have a couple of groups each for organisational and reporting) I would love to hear form anyone running a free flowing unit like this. I have a plan in my head and hope to visit an existing unit but if anyone has planning, layout ideas would be welcome. We will have 3 rooms in a linear fashion with retracting doors between them and a shared covered outside area!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, we're joining 1 Reception class and 1 Nursery class in September (eek!). With 32 children-17 Rec and 15 part time N, split between morning and afternoon sessions, giving me max 0f 26 in any one session. We have 1 teacher and 3 TAs (2 job share). We are going to have designated spaces for phonics but free flow between spaces to access continuous provision.

 

I'm not sure what to call ourselves, I like the 'centre' idea. Do you call children Nursery and Reception still or class group names? I need to get my head round the planning and using such a big space!

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Hi TCD :)

I was wondering the same as our reception chn and nursery chn are going to be more integrated but I think we will still call them reception/nursery to distinguish between the two...

I'm starting to worry that the indoor environment is going to be chaos with them being mixed - I have got a very lively reception class coming up! My main concern is when reception chn need more focused, quiet time e.g phonics, guided reading etc...

If anyone has any timetables or planning formats they are wiling to share i would be most grateful :)

Em x

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  • 5 months later...

Hello all,

 

I'm new to the forum and looking for some advice. I Work in a small primary school in a deprived area of town. I am the only reception teacher in school and therefore Early Years Leader. I have responsibility for Nursery (am only) and Reception (all day). My current set up is that I lead and teach in the Reception class every day with a TA mornings and a trainee TA all day and my HLTA is with Nursery in the mornings. The room is set up to be able to be a whole EYFS unit with our own outdoor areas but is currently partitioned into separate rooms using sliding doors.

 

I feel I am neglecting the Nursery and would like to run more as a unit as of this September but have concerns over how best to provide necessary learning experiences for all ages, both challenging for Reception and accessible for Nursery. Children come to school with lower than average results in their EYFS development and therefore accelartated progress is a high priority of the school.

 

Any help, advice, timetables or formats would be much appreciated.

 

Thank you

Amy x

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Hi, I have just become early years leader of nursery and reception and finding reception bit fine, but nursery daunting. Did anyone get any plans! Or timetables etc to help! Sat midnight and still up worrying :-(((

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  • 8 months later...
Guest Rosiedog

I have been the only teacher in a foundation unit of nursery and reception. it is hard work but legal. We have one teacher and two TA's. we separate our areas into a base for phonics and numeracy and come together for focus and independent learning. Home groups are both FS1 and FS2 children.

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  • 8 months later...

Hi

 

I to have been given the task of setting up a Foundation Unit. There will be 1 teacher, 1 TA, and 2 NN with 13 Reception and 20 Nursery on roll (although not all in all of the time). I'm trying to get my head around the organisation of the day, the children and the adults! Just wondering if anyone has any advice, weekly timetables or plans to share? It would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks

 

Jade

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  • 3 months later...

This is something that might be on the cards at my school. We are a small school, private nursery will probably be closing. We need to know the legalities about taking over the provision. I think I have ratios pretty much sorted but its registration stuff and TUPE that concerns me.

Any advice from those of you who have gone through this would be gratefully received.7

Thanks

susiec

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  • 4 years later...
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