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Do we really need to drown in paperwork?!


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So.....first post (how exciting!) and I'm hoping to get some proof that we're doing things right or some ideas if we need to do a total overhaul of our planning!

 

I really don't see the point of writing down endless things if we're not actually learning anything from them but would like to make sure I'm actually covering everything I need to. At the moment our planning goes like this.....

 

Post it notes obs and an Interest/Needs book for staff to jot down anything a child shows particular interest in or any next steps we need to work on.

 

This is then used for the weekly planning. Incorporating it where we can.....eg focused activities, a change of topic to reflect interests etc

 

When a childs needs or interests have been met it is signed off in the book with the date that it went on the planning.

 

More detailed observations are done by key workers and as staff know their children pretty well they are confident about planning some next steps for their children.

 

I suppose my question is does this show enough tracking for individual children??

 

Trackers and summaries and plans are filled in once a term by key workers.

 

 

This all made sense in my head. I'm aware that it may just sound like 'waffle' to you guys!!

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What worries me is that we are all know where the children are at in our heads but I know that Ofsted will want to see it tracked and documented....the whole journey if you like!

 

 

I expect there are a million and one ways to do it!

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I'm not 'at the coal face' so don't plan, just wanted to say hi and welcome to the forum.

I will add though that in my experience, planning is quite an individual thing, I used to change how we did things termly and was still never happy with it. There always seemed to be a new way told to us by advisors of one sort or another.

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Welcome from me as well.

 

After our recent inspection you most certainly need to drown in paperowrk, evidence, evidence evidence - next steps in all areas and corresponding observations sorry, but that is our recent experience - apart from cutting down what Tickell wanted looks like we need to expand.

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A warm welcome from me too. I agree that evidence is the key to a successful inspection from my recent experience. Comment made was that it was no good the key person having it in their head, what if they left scenario. We base our planning on children's interest from the week we are in for the next one, using our continuous provision alongside. Key persons plan for individual children's possible next steps. Have to say ours is much more fluid now and changed often ( do prefer it) but always conscious are we covering all areas of learning.

As for drowning in paperwork, my hope was that this would be more manageable in time, but sadly finding this isn't the case.

Good luck with it all enjoy this great forum.

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Welcome to the forum what a great place to come for professional and personal chats!

 

I think most people's planning, when they personally have some control over it, is very fluid!

 

Ours is changing often and I am not sure it will ever be exactly right!

But we can aim for that!

 

We have continuous provision plans and then a weekly sheet that shows the enhancements or the things we have had out to meet the needs and interests of the children. We also have a focus sheet for the focus activity if we get time for one!

 

I was just thinking yesterday that I needed a box added to the plans so that if an inspector looked at it they would know on individual days which child had had some one to one work or small group work done with them.

Again we the staff would know but key here is showing it so someone else could see it.

I think this would also help evidence the targets we are trying to meet with children on IEPs.

 

I think our learning journeys are fabulous evidence of what individuals do also.

 

As I say I think planning changes often and what would suit one setting might well not suit another!

 

Enjoy the forum!!

Edited by Scarlettangel
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Each setting is differnt and what suits one does not suit another. We plan (my staff, sorry not me) individually for childen all the time

planning is basd on long obs done at the beginning of each term, more and more though we have based on what my staff see rather than write

we also complete WBI. Staff then plot where they want to take each child's individual interests and combine it with DM this forms the next steps.

evidence for the planning is gathered via photos graphs and post it notes. These are stuck into a learning journal WITH their key childen.

 

My staff have individual data sheets to plot progress and i input this onto a tracker - I like really like PRAMs

 

I think you do need to be showing progress.

 

My staff know their key children inside out and if Ofsted asked, would be able to tell him/her about an individual child. This is not written, it is what they know

 

well it works for us

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i recently went to a conference were OFSTED inspectors attended.

 

one thing they mentiond was that on going tracking is needed (termly is not good eough)

 

my staff now track their observations weekly then summerise them termly, ready to be applied to the tracking wall then analysed. swo we constantly know who is below above their agre related bands, then action plans are made by th staff from the analysis which are ongoing till they summerise again. hope this makes sense to you.

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Hi and a very warm welcome from me too! :1b

 

Planning - aarrgghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh - I change my methods like the weather - just now feeling it may not be considered 'thorough' enough :blink: ........

Yes, I'm feeling like this too

I'd stopped doing a LOT of my planning paperwork this academic year but reading some of the recent posts I think it all needs to come back again - who for though that's the question?!

Our children haven't suffered by us not having every little thing written down because if they had then we wouldn't be happy as they wouldn't be achieving - getting seriously fed up of it all :(

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Interesting that you say that, Thumperrabbit, as we have just come to the same conclusion, so now trawling about to see what everyone's doing

 

I'm in that boat too..... :(

 

We're a packaway, and we have started putting far more info on our daily set-up sheet. In that respect we are moving the children on on a daily basis.....

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will be watching this topic, with interest as currently evaluating our planning/assessment system as like a lot of you say it is constantly evolving and keep 'tweeking' things all the time, never sure if what we are doing is 'enough'.

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We have adopted some new planning and the paperwork from a training course we attended.

 

I'm finding since the new paperwork and planning format have been in place, the staff have lost their way... As in they are finding there's not enough structure to the new system.

 

So I'm hoping you'll give me some inspiration for what's the best way forward :/

 

 

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We have adopted some new planning and the paperwork from a training course we attended.

 

I'm finding since the new paperwork and planning format have been in place, the staff have lost their way... As in they are finding there's not enough structure to the new system.

 

So I'm hoping you'll give me some inspiration for what's the best way forward :/

 

Please let us all know when you find that inspiration and the right path forwards, I think many of us are obviously now well and truly lost! :) :)

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The thing I'm struggling with is the 'follow the childs interest' thing and not have topics. We are a pack away pre school with 40 children per day. The place would be in total chaos if it was all left up to the children. We have a topic to give us a base and then a few mini topics running alongside that.....chosen by the children. These mini topics often only last a day or two but are fun to do.

How do you guys show on your planning the changes that may occur in the week? Is it enough to just fill in a weekly evaluation sheet? Surely that would show Ofsted that we're going with the children's thoughts and interests (photo evidence and observations are also made)

 

Arghhhh. The more you think about planning the more you realise that there is always something else you should be doing!!!

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Interesting that you say that the mini topics are fun to do. Could you scrap your over-arching topic and just do the mini themes? This is what we have been doing. We went back in January with a book (Room on the Broom) to start them off and I did plan some specific things for that, but out of what I observed and heard going on, I thought of a few different things we could do which picked up those ideas - for example, I overheard an argument about whether someone had made a bigger tower with Duplo, and it was obvious that the child had no understanding of the concept of sizing. So I drew some bones of various sizes and we threw them into our cauldron, starting with smallest one every time, then largest one. Then he stuck four onto some card in size order (then everyone wanted to do it) So it was child led in that it was led by his needs, rather than his idea. The dragon in the story led to a discussion about dinosaurs that we have spent the last half term on! It's been good fun - but there's no way I could have planned it like that in advance.

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The thing I'm struggling with is the 'follow the childs interest' thing and not have topics. We are a pack away pre school with 40 children per day. The place would be in total chaos if it was all left up to the children.

 

It doesn't have to be like that shellbell ...i have 60 children a day and no topics!! though we do have mini themes that run through the group which we use to encourage learning (so Pirates has been ongoing all term and we have one yound lad who is really into egyptology) personally i think the interest thing is a bit of a misnomer ...you can make anything interesting and exciting if you try but it may not engage the children minds unless you are using their strengths and building on their weaknessess.

Let go of the themes!! you'll be surprised where it takes you. Trust the children they have lots of ideas...let them express them ;)

As to planning my tip would be always start with the children....then you can't go wrong. Where are they now...what do you want them to do next ....how are you going to get them there (while engaging their minds and bodies!) simples!!! :ph34r: :ph34r: :blink: :blink: xD :lol:

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I understand what your saying Chellandrews about staff losing their way when we dropped themes (unless they come up as an interest) it did leave them floundering a bit, I think because when we were doing this or that for a half term I pretty much planned/prepared things in advance now they have to think about it a bit more based on their key childrens wants/needs/interests, a couple are very good at coming up with exciting things but some not so and I can't decide if its because they just don't have the creative/ imaginative thing themselves or its a ' can't be bothered attitude' and they are happy to leave it to others.

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I understand what your saying Chellandrews about staff losing their way when we dropped themes (unless they come up as an interest) it did leave them floundering a bit, I think because when we were doing this or that for a half term I pretty much planned/prepared things in advance now they have to think about it a bit more based on their key childrens wants/needs/interests, a couple are very good at coming up with exciting things but some not so and I can't decide if its because they just don't have the creative/ imaginative thing themselves or its a ' can't be bothered attitude' and they are happy to leave it to others.

absolutely agree with this.....i still have one member of staff who would say herself that creativity is not her strongpoint. the other thing is that some staff find it difficult to 'follow' the learning if the path is not set beforehand

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Please let us all know when you find that inspiration and the right path forwards, I think many of us are obviously now well and truly lost! :) :)

 

and have you noticed this happens more so when Ofsted comes in to the equation - Dot's recent inspection experience is enough to unsettle anyone's thinking about their planning/assessment/tracking!! After reading about it I don't think ours would stand up to this level of scrutiny and yet I can't help thinking there would be no more value to the children if we recorded even more than we do! (especially as the revised EYFS was to reduce paperwork...are Ofsted aware of this!!??)

 

Can I ask Kellie1 what you mean by 'my staff now track their observations weekly'? We write termly summaries and record evidence toward half termly assessment. Planning is focussed on the identified next steps from the assessments but is very much child led, spontaneous, around the interest of the children - who should not miss out on their childhood excitement and happy, fun loving memories because they enter the doors of pre - school!! The government want the children in settings but then try their damnedest to squeeze the fun out of it for everyone!!

 

I'm finding the new inspections are leaning toward being prescriptive again, instead of listening to what we do, seeing how much impact we make and patting us on the back for a job well done or guiding us to more development - they are supposed to be our 'supporting' body (especially if the LA back out of supporting us) yet we really do live in terror of them (well I do!!) because we just want to do the right thing by the children in our care and not feel that we are letting them down because we don';t have copious amounts of paperwork

 

We are never content with our planning either and it is tweaked continually to support the children, staff learning styles (agree about the staff creativity/can't be bothered dilemma) our own personal CPD progression and do dfrown in it to a degree but really don't want to be changing things for the sake of Ofsted

Edited by gingerbreadman
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