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Writing in the EYFS


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I'm new to the eyfs this year but had no previous experience of working in a foundation class (i had never seen an eyfs classroom or a eyfs lesson!!!) I explained this to our new head and she sent me another school to observe. I had an amazing time but left slightly worried that im something seriously wrong! Her class were writing full sentences, capitals and fullstops too!! their writing was lovely and neat and they applied their phonics so well...

My class cannot do this apart from a couple of bright sparks. I'm a bit worried that they should all be at this level by now?

Also our new Head has set some very high (possibly unrealistic) targets for July - how many chn are u predicting to be exceeding ELG? i've been set a target of 18 in maths! otherwise if they only meet the 'expected' ELG i am only a satisfactory teacher which is not good enough by todays Ofsted!

Is anyone else feeling under a lot of pressure and seriously demoralised by the new eyfs profile and ofsted guidelines?

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Hello I am finding that my children fully understand the concept of sentence writing but when we do iit unaided it goes all to pot., however through lots of child interest themed activities they Are slowly picking it up independently and do it in phonics very well. I do have a few very bright sparks who can write sentences unaided.i am happy at the moment that they Are reading more independently and writing CVC words and labels on their own.keep modelling your writing and planning it into your cp based around theirs Interests and next steps and you will be fine, there is still a half term and a term left dont worry. In terms of the early learning goals I am on track for quite high this year but i have a bright class all but 6 should meet or exceed by end of year a rose board. Hope this helped

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I'm an NQT in reception so not the best to advise on everything you have mentioned but my class are certainly not writing in the way you describe! I hope some will be by the end of the year but it won't be half of them by any means. And I have an intake from a "good" background if you know what I mean.

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Hi am an NQT working in reception. Does anybody know where I can get some ideas for planning a topic on 'spring'. Also I have observed a child riding a 2 wheeled bike. I know this links to physical development bu does anybody know which bit? Thanks

 

P

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  • 3 months later...

My kids are pretty confident when it comes to writing but even my brightest ones aren't yet at capital letter & full stop level- we're going to look at it in a guided session next week actually! We have daily challenges for the chn to choose from and every Friday is writing day- chn have 4 different choices of different types of writing and have to have a go at one of them. It's all independent writing and some are still very much emergent but they are all happy to have a go which is what I'm looking for really. This probably doesn't help but I'd say don't get too hooked up on what those other kids could do- my kids aren't at that level but we've been rated good with outstanding elements so we can't be too bad!

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Hi, ah yes I'm feeling the same...

I have about 10 children who i would say can independently write a sentence, sometimes punctuated. Then there's about another 8 or so I'll really be pushing to meet the elg but if I'm totally going on what they can do independently I doubt there will be any more!!

When working with them, most of them can then write a simple sentence. They know what they want to write and apply their phonics so well.

It does stress me out and I worry the progress will be seen as satisfactory!

E x

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It varies year on year but I usually find I have about 2/3 of my children able to write at least a sentence independently by the end of the year. Today i asked them for 2 sentences about our trip yesterday and about half managed independently with capital letters full stops and finger spaces. The rest needed adult support to help hear the sounds in words. I have a very mixed intake and starting point very below expected on entry. We do a lot of modelling and every child in the class writes a sentence daily in phonics sessions and we do a guided writing session each week. What I would say is that the writing I get from them in ci play is minimal i probably only have sufficient evidence for about 10 children out of the 30 so far. It is really tricky to say what your children should be doing by this time of the year as it depends on how they came in. It isn't always helpful to compare different schools and different cohorts.

On the target front I get them every year from my head, she gave me mine before I'd even worked out where mine were starting from. I'm experienced ( and gobby ) enough now to laugh at the target and say 'give me whatever target you like,I'm going to do my best with these children whether I have targets for them or not' Some years I get them there sometimes I don't. Nothing bad has happened to me when I/ the children havn't met these targets. Just be prepared to show how much progress they have made over the year by knowing their starting and ending point. Your grading as a teacher is about progress made not about how many are achieving exceeding.

Debx

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Hi Im pretty sure the goal is for them to write a sentence that THEY can read isn't it? As long as they understand what a sentence is and can write it independently so they can read they are at expected goal. Finger spaces, capital letters, correct spelling and punctuation would be exceeding would it not?

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The goal is this:

Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words.(i.e the words they have learnt as tricky words through phases 2 and 3) They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.

The explanatory note says much the same in a different way:

 

"The child writes for a range of purposes in meaningful contexts. The child’s writing may include features of different forms such as stories, lists, labels, captions, recipes, instructions and letters. The child’s writing is phonetically plausible when he or she writes simple regular words and particularly when he or she attempts to write more complex words. The child and others can read and make sense of the text."

 

It doesn't ask for punctuation or neat handwriting...if you look at the writing exemplification you can see that children are applying their typically phase 3 phonic knowledge, making phonetically plausible spellings. As a moderator this is what I look for and also ask myself can I read the child's writing so they have communicated something to me. The examples are very clear as to the expectation for this I think and all the expected examples I've seen over the past few weeks are in line with them.

 

 

if they only meet the 'expected' ELG i am only a satisfactory teacher which is not good enough by todays Ofsted!

If they started at 22-36 then it would be outstanding progress! Attainment may be at expected but progress is from their relative starting points. Ofsted look at all aspects of children's outcomes - progress AND attainment to make a judgement on the achievement of children.

 

Whilst it is true that requires improvement (satisfactory no longer in use I'm afraid) is "not good enough" (and surely children deserve good or better?) the quality of teaching and learning is not defined just by a year group's attainment. And what would be used to measure the effectiveness of nursery, yr 3, 4 and 5 teachers who have no statutory assessment to judge them by??!!!!

Cx

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Have you seen the exemplification materials of what is an expected level of the ELG? These give examples of what this would look like. I suggest you also show them to your headteacher.

 

We had our moderation trialling session yesterday and we were told that the expected judgement was just that, the level that a child was expected to achieve by the end of reception. As part of the session, which was focussed on Literacy, we all brought examples of evidence of 5 children with a range of abilities and when you looked closely at the exemplifications and compared it with our evidence (both written and our professional judgement) it was easier to make the judgements. We were also reminded that any child we felt was exceeding the ELG we should moderate with the year 1 teachers.

 

Have you got any moderation events / sessions within your LEA?

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Your Head hasn't got a handle on the new EYFSP.

 

'Exceeding' is similar to the old Point 9, ie. gifted and talented. We were never had anymore than 5% - 10% at point 9 and I assume this will be the same this year. I work in a large primary in a low income area so depending on your location your percentages may be higher.

 

Have you heard of GLD - good level of development? To have a GLD a child must be working at the expected level in all of the prime areas and literacy and mathematics, (so much for the holistic EYFS :/ )

 

Someone correct me im wrong but is currently no national data for comparison BUT there was a national pilot of the new EYFSP and the GLD average came in at 41%....

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Until there is data this year we don't have a true national figure. The pilot figure for the GLD does look low, but the teachers who did this didn't teach to the new curriculum for a year prior or have the exemplification materials for long before they did the parallel assessments last summer.

 

With the shifts in emphasis and some of the raising of expectations you do have to look at the exceeding descriptors and the level 1 descriptors to get the feel for what exceeding looks like because it's a completely new approach based around the revised ELGs. STA have said this is a transition year for the exceeding judgement as clearly the new NC isn't in place and some of the EYFS curriculum has a higher expectation than level 1, e.g. counting/ordering numbers to 20, whilst the NC still has to 10.

 

Schools are not fully aware of the need to analyse their data now to see what their predicted GLD may be and to target any gaps where children maybe have 11/12 ELGs. The supporting measure (cohort average) takes into account the ELGs 13 - 17 so you get a holistic outcome with that.

The GLD will be what your school is judged by, e.g. Ofsted.

 

Cx

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Until there is data this year we don't have a true national figure. The pilot figure for the GLD does look low, but the teachers who did this didn't teach to the new curriculum for a year prior or have the exemplification materials for long before they did the parallel assessments last summer.

 

With the shifts in emphasis and some of the raising of expectations you do have to look at the exceeding descriptors and the level 1 descriptors to get the feel for what exceeding looks like because it's a completely new approach based around the revised ELGs. STA have said this is a transition year for the exceeding judgement as clearly the new NC isn't in place and some of the EYFS curriculum has a higher expectation than level 1, e.g. counting/ordering numbers to 20, whilst the NC still has to 10.

 

Schools are not fully aware of the need to analyse their data now to see what their predicted GLD may be and to target any gaps where children maybe have 11/12 ELGs. The supporting measure (cohort average) takes into account the ELGs 13 - 17 so you get a holistic outcome with that.

The GLD will be what your school is judged by, e.g. Ofsted.

 

Cx

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So Catma.......what do we do with children who you feel are at the expected level of development for their age, children who would have been given a 6 + last year, are doing absolutely fine and are where your years of previous experience tell you they should be , BUT on this years new ELG may not be achieving something specific eg in the numbers ELG that you mentioned. Are we right to put them in to emerging because they may not be able to reorder 1-20 securely but ARE secure in 1-10? Or do we go with the guidance that says they don't have to get all the statements in the ELG and don't have to have equal mastery of them all. Overnight a schools data could show a much larger proportion of children emerging in numbers and therefore will be judged as not having a good level of development which I feel will give the wrong impression of their ability and development.

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Overnight a schools data could show a much larger proportion of children emerging in numbers and therefore will be judged as not having a good level of development which I feel will give the wrong impression of their ability and development.

 

I agree, and in my LA we are working as hard as we can to make sure everyone can see that it is a different assessment to last year from a different curriculum so will be a different outcome...however we can't ignore the fact that the expectations in some aspects have increased so what was "expected" under the old EYFSP is not "expected" now.

 

It is a "best fit"...but there has been a shift in the expectations for the maths hasn't there. Whether we like it or not counting to 20 has become the expectation for the ELG. So you'd have to decide from your internal moderation if that child is at the same level as any other child who you think is at the ELG.

 

This is the STA FAQ answer to the question:

"Do children have to demonstrate skills in all aspects of an ELG to attain the expected levels?

The early learning goals (ELGs) should be considered in their entirety to create the most accurate picture of a child’s embedded learning. An holistic view of the descriptor should be taken and the practitioner should judge whether the level descriptor best fits the child’s learning and development, taking into account their relative strengths and weaknesses.

An example of this would be where a child demonstrates that they are very strong in most aspects of ELG 11 (Number) but there is no evidence of them solving problems using halving. The child would still attain the expected level in this ELG as it gives the best holistic view of the child’s ability.

Additional information handed on to the Year 1 teacher would indicate the elements where a further focus would be beneficial.

If the practitioner insists that each child demonstrates each element of an ELG, this could result in a ‘check list’ exercise.

Please refer to the EYFS Handbook, pages 11 and 23 for more information."

 

 

Having said that, the issue I am picking up in moderation is not the counting skills but the application skills in the second part of the goal.

 

Cx

Edited by catma
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I agree, and in my LA we are working as hard as we can to make sure everyone can see that it is a different assessment to last year from a different curriculum so will be a different outcome...however we can't ignore the fact that the expectations in some aspects have increased so what was "expected" under the old EYFSP is not "expected" now.

 

It is a "best fit"...but there has been a shift in the expectations for the maths hasn't there. Whether we like it or not counting to 20 has become the expectation for the ELG. So you'd have to decide from your internal moderation if that child is at the same level as any other child who you think is at the ELG.

 

This is the STA FAQ answer to the question:

"Do children have to demonstrate skills in all aspects of an ELG to attain the expected levels?

The early learning goals (ELGs) should be considered in their entirety to create the most accurate picture of a child’s embedded learning. An holistic view of the descriptor should be taken and the practitioner should judge whether the level descriptor best fits the child’s learning and development, taking into account their relative strengths and weaknesses.

An example of this would be where a child demonstrates that they are very strong in most aspects of ELG 11 (Number) but there is no evidence of them solving problems using halving. The child would still attain the expected level in this ELG as it gives the best holistic view of the child’s ability.

Additional information handed on to the Year 1 teacher would indicate the elements where a further focus would be beneficial.

If the practitioner insists that each child demonstrates each element of an ELG, this could result in a ‘check list’ exercise.

Please refer to the EYFS Handbook, pages 11 and 23 for more information."

 

 

Having said that, the issue I am picking up in moderation is not the counting skills but the application skills in the second part of the goal.

 

Cx

Thank you catma. Unfortunately I feel pessimistic about this years data....nationally.if more schools are not going tonget a GLD, because the bar has been raised in literacy and numeracy, then I fear Mr Gove will say, " oh look, there's a failing school. You will now have to become an academy, whether you like it or not. " I do not feel inclined to play his game.

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You have to see it as a whole new data set. Our new LA data packs won't have a comparative GLD graph until there are 2 years of the new data to compare for example. In terms of becoming academies I think that KS2 outcomes are more important there! EYFSP is just small fry in comparison!!

Cx

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You have to see it as a whole new data set. Our new LA data packs won't have a comparative GLD graph until there are 2 years of the new data to compare for example. In terms of becoming academies I think that KS2 outcomes are more important there! EYFSP is just small fry in comparison!!

Cx

Is Expected equivalent to last years 6 to 8 scale points and exceeding 9 points? Or do we need to try to forget that bench mark? Thinking in relation to writing as well as the other areas.

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Well I'm saying avoid trying to correlate to the previous scoring system. It really doesn't help.

 

There was more wriggle room in getting 6+ out of 9 possible points - now it's looking at a best fit outcome from what's covered in 1 goal. For example I think the new writing ELG reflects the skills in the previous writing scale points 7 and 8. A child could get 6 points previously in writing without actually being secure with the skills of writing and spelling. They were expected skills and had no less expectation that any other scale point in the 4-8 range. Now they are the core focus of the ELG. Not a change in expectation but a shift in emphasis on skills.

 

Cx

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