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'Pack Away' provision - how relevant and sustainable are they


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Hi Everyone and Happy New Year !


I am undertaking research to complete the final Honours section of my degree in Early Years Leadership, and would be grateful to gather your views and opinions on quality in the Early Years built environment, with particular emphasis on the pros and cons of 'Pack Away' provision.


I am aware of many 'Outstanding' Pack Away settings, and the dedication and hard work many within the Early Years workforce commit in order to achieve this. As such, part of this enquiry seeks to establish the main factors that contribute to this quality status, whilst considering whether overcoming any barriers to achieve this high quality is sustainable within the Pack Away system.


I have 2 slightly different surveys, dependent on your working location.


This link is for those working within a 'Pack Away' provision: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NLXZCF8


This link is for those working within a purpose built or site specific buildings: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B99SQRK


The surveys are short! But the focus of this enquiry is specifically chosen to help enhance the quality of provision for all young children, their families and the dedicated professionals who work with them - so please join in - your opinion counts !


Many thanks in advance,

I look forward to reading your responses!

Edited by Purplelilsy
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Hi Again Everyone,


I am overwhelmed by the quick responses - just shows what a hard working and dedicated lot we are in Early Years - so many responses on New Years Day !


My research findings and conclusions won't be ready until late Spring / early Summer, but certainly I will share the quantitative findings - much is up for qualitative interpretation as well, and given a bit more time I would have loved to extend this research with some discussion forums and interviews, (maybe later or for an MA !!!)


In answer to a couple of queries, both on the questionnaires and forum:


Yes please answer all Questionnaires that are appropriate to you - I haven't received many back from Parent / Carers yet, (I have posted a link on NetMums too), so if you can encourage any Parents to participate to have their voice heard that would be great!


I have been somewhat restricted by time and cost limitations and therefore have used the great medium of a Survey host site, at their basic, free, level, which has restricted the type and amount of questions I can ask. However, I have received some very interesting comments which certainly leads this research to explore other angles.


If anyone would like to also offer their opinions on what they feel the true costs are to operating in a 'Pack Away',


How many hours extra do you work at home preparing / planning? - (And is this more than in a non-pack away setting?)

Do you end up carting loads of resources in your car everyday ?

Difficulties in recruitment or retention of staff, (maybe due to inability to offer full time work due to restricted opening or due to physical stress of moving furniture).

Lack of time for training / CPD.

Broken equipment / resources.


There are many more points I'm sure - and I welcome them all!


This of course all adds up to the big question on the level of sustainability of the 'Pack Away' system - comments gratefully received!


I will also be coding some of the response words - (Back Ache is mentioned a few times !)


I have had many responses from those who have very successfully run 'Pack Away' settings for many, many years - and indeed the longevity of these settings is testament to their own individual success and the dedicated staff who work within them !

I understand what an emotive issue this is - as we are all naturally, and quite rightly, defensive and proud of our settings, and I know, (from personal experience), just how hard we all have to work in all types of settings, particularly in 'Pack Away' provision.


Please keep your comments coming, they are really interesting and very valuable!




P.S. If anyone knows of any specific literature about 'Pack Away' provision, for my Literature Review, please let me know, I would be extremely grateful!

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I have already done the survey. I have been pack a way for many years.In answer to further questions. All planning Is done in the group. Each staff member is responsible for a specific area. We always manage to find a quiet moment. All resources are stored in cupboards. The only thing I carry in my car is clean tea towels, dressing up, snack food , laptop, funding forms printed registers and other necessary forms. I have no problem retaining staff. I have a good rota of volunteers to cover absent staff. I am happy to answer any further questions. I enjoy setting up each day I try to make each day more exciting than the previous !!

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i have recently taken over a pack away provision and the staff have never mentioned the benefits of such a setting.


I would be very grateful to hear from you about the contributing factors of a pack away provision to achieving a high quality provision . The previous 2 oftsed inspections graded it as satisfactory.



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I've filled in your survey but I have worked in both pack away and purpose built settings and this is my opinion on both.

The purpose built have always been 'precious'. Carpets, lovely furniture, nice resources, rooms for different ages, rooms that can be used for a variety of activities i.e. sensory, physical, craft, so keeping other areas clean!. I found they could become stale places with no need for real thought to go into the daily activities or resources available, staff tended to lock the doors, go home and not have to think about work until the next day. They usually have an attached outdoor area so allowing for free flow. Admin office, so taking fee's, arranging waiting lists, claiming funding, staff appraisals, planning/writing up obs., confidential meetings can all be done without impacting on the children or staff. Being purpose built can allow funding in the form of grants to be easier to obtain.They often have a cleaner and cook and are open full time.

Pack away in a church hall or similar, is a shared space. One or maybe two rooms where everything happens meaning staff need to be clear about times, ready to clear one area in order for it to be used for something else. All equipment has to go into a small cupboard, this restricts the things we can buy purely because of space, funding in the form of grants is very difficult to come by as we dont have a rental agreement so cant commit to being on the premises for years. Displays arent allowed on the walls, our outdoor area is separate to the building. The hall is used by other groups so the hours we can offer is restricted, previous users dont always clean up after their time, the hall is also a polling station. Staff must do planning, obs, learning journeys at home. Equipment and resources are usually fresh as they're not static, a large room allows for expressive play, dance and movement. Our various age groups are all together. Our parents are free to come and go and are often called on to put the kettle on or wash the paint pots! Our staff have traditionally been parents who have gone on to train, they are aware when they become staff of the way we run so retention has always been good.


Overall, I always preferred my time in the pack away, for all its challenges! :rolleyes: :1b

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