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Non negotiable writing


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Hi, this is my first ever post although I've been a member for a while.

This is probably a silly question but could anyone explain non negotiable writing to me? My foundation stage leader has told me that I am going to have to make every child sit down and 'write' about a given topic at a certain time every week. Starting next week! I feel that this goes against everything I believe should be happening in reception but I could be wrong? I encourage the children to mark make and if they are able I provide different activities in different areas that encourage writing such as word hunts, labels etc. please help any advice would be gratefully received!

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My feelings too but she said OfSted want to see non negotiable writing but couldn't explain what this meant? Of course I encourage writing but I hate seeing my children bored out of their brains. I like to link it to interests and make sure everyone is engaged and making them write something they don't want to write about especially when some aren't ready.

It breaks my heart...

Next week the title I've been given is 'I can ...'

 

Cry...

Scream ...

Give up...

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Lannie, sometimes you have to play the game. I know this is hard but if you have to do this make it as easy as you can for yourself and the children. Talk about it with the children and support them. Encourage them to mark make by giving them some nice paper etc, all the tricks you would usually use to encourage them. If they do nothing or very little then that is where they are and should be acceptable!

 

I had to do Independent writing once a week with my children, I called it exciting writing and they were all pleased to have a go! I gave them writing frames etc as I usually would and accepted what they did.

 

So, for "I can" I would give a lttle book maybe with "I can" as a title and then encourage the children to draw a picture of something they can do and write accordingly.

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Our HT is an Ofsted inspector and has told her that its non negotiable so she has taken that to mean everyone writing about the same topic on the same day. As I'm not sure of the meaning of non negotiable ive ended up with 30 books to show at parents evening that all have to have the same work in. Any help on how to argue my point ; that it should be different according to interests/ ability etc.

Theyve only just started full time... but yet they have to sit with a pencil (even if they're not ready) and write on a blank page. I feel like I've stepped back in time. I had this argument with her last year and refused to do it but now she feels she has Ofsted support Ive literally lost the battle.

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I don't work in a school but I find this really shocking. Do you think someone has misunderstood somewhere along the way? It sounds like you need a proper explanation of what non-negotiable wrting means and why it is necessary. We sent 22 children off to reception a few weeks ago and the thought of most of them having to sit and write about a given topic just makes me sad. im all for having high expectations of children, but they've only just started school. Some of them are only a few weeks past their fourth birthdays! On the other hand, if you really have to go with it, Susan's ideas sound fab!

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http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/literacy-non-negotiable-introduction

Hi Lannie, I can't help I'm afraid but found the non negotiable stuff on ofsteds site. I haven't watched it, I'm feeling a bit too fed up with what the powers that be are doing to our babies at the moment. I'm sure you'll be able to find a way of making it work for the head and for the children :)

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I do think there has been a misunderstanding and she couldn't give me a proper explanation. I was just told that from now on writing is non negotiable and I got the feeling I wasn't going to get the answer I wanted. Of course ill try and jazz it up but I don't feel I'm supporting my children by making them do something they might not want to do. Some of them haven't spoken a word to me yet, I've got crying, vomiting and all sorts going on and 'writing' in this environment worries me too. My daughter has just turned 4 and I cannot imagine her writing anything. And if I'm honest I wouldn't want her to. She isn't ready and neither are many of my children at school... But hey if Ofsted say so...

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Thanks Rea, I watched it earlier and it's a joke. Guided reading with 6 kids. Hmm where are the other 24? No one patting them, making them playdough cakes, straightening their hair ( I have some old hairdressing stuff in my role play), painting themselves, wetting themselves... The list is endless. It's a dream world they live in. How is that showing good practice?

Nothing in video showing writing although I couldn't watch it all. It made me ill. I wouldn't bother watching it. Thanks again though:)

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The non-negotiable part seems to me is 'that teachers must teach' and not that children must, as in your case, write. Teachers can no longer give acceptable and reasonable answers as to why they are not beginning to teach writing skills etc., they just have to get on with it and bear the consequences - don't you just love Ofsted, they obviously think teachers have been pandering too much to the little ones.

 

As has been said before, give the children the tools and accept whatever they do with them at the designated time, encourage as best you can for them to put something to paper. Praise as much as you can every effort you see, try to record the progress made over a few weeks from having this consistent attempt you might be surprised, or on the other hand you might have some powerful evidence to show your Foundation Leader/Headteacher that there is harm being done with this approach and it is not for every school to undertake this type of top down dictatorship

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That video made me sad.

It seemed to imply that reading and writing are the fundamental skills for learning and for life. I couldn't disagree more. I think that in the reception year and even higher up the school, the fundamental skills for learning and for life are a drive to explore and discover, resilience, perseverance and critical thinking.Given those, the children will drive their own learning of literacy and the other academic subjects.

 

Making reading and writing non-negotiable means, at times, doing it against the child's will. I've sat in a reception classroom trying to get children to focus on writing and calculations. It was soul destroying having to participate in turning these activities into grim tasks which must be endured in order to earn the reward of time playing. What a perfect way to destroy their intrinsic drive to explore text and numbers and turn them off learning for life!






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I despair! what are we doing to our youngest members of our community? I have just sent a lovely cohort to school but one of them was 3 until 2 days before he started school....how is he supposed to cope with this sort of policy? It seems to me that the government have forgotten that they are taking children in to school younger than they were ...it wasn't long ago that they were 5 when they started ...some are now just over 3!!!!!! come on politicians get the message!

 

I do feel sorry for school teachers having to put up with this sort of thing. :(

 

I think if it was me i would be trying to use something like write dance ...an active way of improving pencil control and building up to writing....if you have a 'proven' program i find advisors will tend to allow this more often as they feel you are following a programme rather than going with the flow!

good luck.....you have my sympathy :bananas:

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I despair! what are we doing to our youngest members of our community? I have just sent a lovely cohort to school but one of them was 3 until 2 days before he started school....how is he supposed to cope with this sort of policy? It seems to me that the government have forgotten that they are taking children in to school younger than they were ...it wasn't long ago that they were 5 when they started ...some are now just over 3!!!!!! come on politicians get the message!

 

I do feel sorry for school teachers having to put up with this sort of thing. :(

 

So for the just turned 4 yr old, his writing is ascribing meaning to marks or whatever the appropriate phrase is. Maybe he can relate to "I can" verbally and this can be noted, if not this also can be recorded as evidence that leaves a papertrail, which I expect is what this HT really wants. If everyone has the same task on the same day, it is easier for the school to track. Lovely as learning journeys are they do not always provide the evidence needed for data trails that are required. A skilled practitioner should be able to do this in a non threatening way, even if it goes against the grain---which it does!

My experience of OFSTED, is that you have to make things blindingly obvious or it is not accepted. I have had judgements made about my classroom which although I was able to prove were wrong, 100% wrong did not alter the opinion of the Inspector because he had made it so it must be so.

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I find this all so depressing! What about motivating children and encouraging them to explore? Seems that the government has got it all the wrong way round AGAIN. Our children go to school earlier than some other countries yet results are worse! My son is now 14 but he still remembers being in reception and having to sit and write about what he did at the weekend every Monday morning. It put him off for years! feel so sorry for teachers having to do this against their own principles. Never mind, everything will be ok when they introduce free school meals!!!!! :(

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Hi,

 

Glad to have stumbled across this thread! I too am in Reception and having had the children in for only 4 days had to this week force them into formal handwriting sessions using photocopied sheets for each letter of the alphabet. It is non-negotiable- I have been told by management etc that I MUST use these sheets to work on children's handwriting. At the moment it is a battle just to get them to sit at a table with me for longer than 2 minutes! I have provided large scale mark-making, playdough, cutting and sticking etc to build their gross and fine motor skills and their pencil grip. But I am being forced into making the children "move their writing on" already! Most of my class can barely write their name or form any recognisable letters- some cannot hold a pencil. I am totally against this practice but as it is my first teaching post I am having to suck it up and get on with what the school wants. It is breaking my heart seeing them being forced to write meaningless things! I have tried and failed to fight my corner- just going to have to get on with it :(

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I wonder if in these schools where managment are insisting on making children write too early are ones who are under pressure to improve their writing higher up the school? Perhaps someone could point out that if you destroy children's interest and confidence in mark making in reception by forcing them before they are ready to try and 'write', you will have also destroyed their desire to write and will make it much harder for the rest of the school to improve writing. It is very sad to hear how children are being shoe horned into activities before they are ready.

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There seems to be pressure everywhere for the foundation stage to look like a year one classroom. I watched the Ofsted clips in particular the one filmed in the Nursery classroom. The teacher's task looked exciting and the children were engaged and reading.... There didn't seem to be anyone fighting, anyone needing help going to the loo, anyone just playing with the children.... am i missing something here... Could it be the fact that she had what I think to be 5 adults supporting....

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Perhaps this is also the thread to ask about demands that are being placed on my f2 class.... After much change and new staff a few years ago we had support from an early years advisor- she was great. She helped us to ease away from the set whole class lessons structure, encouraged us not to have a set break like the rest of the school , allowing for more extended periods of supported play, and generally gave us the thumbs up for what we were doing.

I have since moved schools and I am doing what I was back then.... But with a new head who struggled to give me too much feedback on a lesson on ' because he doesn't know to much about the FS stage' and a new KS manager who would like me to have formal writing and maths lessons ( as well as phonics) each morning I feel I am doing something wrong. I have always been a 'good with outstanding features' teacher, who has over the next few weeks been asked to go and look at schools that are teaching how I should be and are managing it ( without putting up a fight!)......it's hard to tell your manager that the reason her year 1 class works so well is because they were inspired, supported and nurtured in reception :-(

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I find it sad that we as Reception teachers are constantly being told about high expectations of formal writing. We must provide activites to develop their fine motor skills and these should be differentiated. If we deliver enthusiastic reasons for writing, the children will be motivated to respond. Go with their interests. No one understands that we should not be teaching for the sake of it but teaching to inspire a love of learning.

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I already do write dance, I've bought aquamats, painted blackboard paint on an old table and low down in the role play to encourage mark making. I've got a writing area, a fine motor area, malleable activities and all the other things you could possibly ever think of to encourage writing/mark making but my FS coordinator wants everyone regardless of readiness to sit down and write about the same topic so 'they' can see progress... Heartbreaking

I'm supposed to do it this week. Haven't managed yet as I can't bring myself to do it :(

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It is indeed heartbreaking. As an LA EYFS consultant I lost count of the number of schools where I tried (and often failed) to explain why this approach revealed very little indeed about children's 'ability' to write and subsequent progress and now that I'm in my second year of being back in school it's an argument I'm still not winning. No one has asked me to do this yet with my new YR class but I am sure it's only a matter of time. I'll go through all my reasoning again but experience has taught me that there will be bigger battles to fight, so I need to choose them carefully. In your shoes I'd probably just get it over with as soon as possible, without spending hours of precious time on it, then go back to doing all the fab things you know really make a difference to young children and the development of their writing skills. If other people then struggle to 'see' the 'progress' using this one size fits all approach then maybe they'll begin to ask why.......your cue to come winging in with evidence of how much progress your children have made using all of the things you've outlined above.

Good luck :-)

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