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Observations and learning journeys


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Hi,

I have never posted here before but really value the wise words I find on here, so I thought I would see if there is anyone out there who has a found a way of providing evidence that children are making progress without using observations? I see that there is no expectation any more that children have learning journeys so how do you provide evidence of progress? I'm confused!

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You have to show progress and although key staff may be able to talk about their children, I would back this with evidence and a learning journal I think is the best way. We don't do long obs we take photos and written incidentals from memory mostly and link this to the DM's. We plan individually based on our visual obs of the children and what we might capture with photo's. We also track progress.

Our children take ownership of their own LJ they love them and proudly show them to visitors, it's a lovely story of their time with us

Parents also have a voice and therefore contribute to their child's learning and our planning.

 

The goals should not be a tick list, how would you prove to Ofsted how your children are progressing?

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Thank you Suer. I have a similar system and I have to say it has in the past been admired by county advisers and even Ofsted. Now however I have been told it has to scrapped and a better system found which does not involve observatios - feeling a tad anxious about this as really not sure how to provide evidence of progress without it.

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I wouldn't scrape it, if you are confident in what you do,like what you do and it works for you then tell them that and continue

Each setting is different which is why there are no descriptors for this, no one says it must be like this.

 

Be strong and go with what is right and working.

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As long as paperwork doesn't affect children's learning negatively, i.e. that excessive time isn't used to record instead of support learning, you can use any system, provided that records are based on thorough observation and understanding of the content of the seven areas of learning, and show progress from starting points established during a child's first weeks at your setting. After trying different systems we have concluded that the one we use, and have created, benefits the children we work with the most, as well as keep parents and (hopefully) authorities reassured that the children learn and develop as expected - or more!

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Then I would be asking her(I'm assuming here) what she wants it replaced with put the onus back her shoulders.

This should not have been done behind your back and I (being a little rebel ) would raise this point at your next com. Meeting

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We do an observation at start of half term and then do a next steps document with 3/4 points including resources/activities linked to current interests, parental input, observation points etc! This then goes for half term with notes made on the back. We then also make notes relating to eyfs phrases too, highlighting phrases achieved in a diff colour each term! Works for us but sounds more confusing than it is!!!

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I agree with Wildflowers. Having a thorough understanding of childrens development, alongside unique learning styles should not impact to the detriment of excessive observation taking.

As for changing the way you work, I would certainly be asking the chairperson for a meeting to discuss this.

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The eyfs is fairly clear about the process of recording. It should be based on an observation /asessment/ planning cycle.( Is this your staff just being lazy?????)

You cannot know what a child is doing if you are not observing them?????....there are many methods of how you record this and as said you have to find the best for your setting but not only do you all need to know what all the children are doing but if one of your staff was off that information needs to be in a format that could be passed to another key worker and be understood. (i have been asked this question by ofsted before!)

As to progression you need to be able to show a starting point an end point and what you did to get them there (this includes observing what they are doing now to know what they must do next!)

This all sounds a bit basic but i wonder if your committee chair needs to be reminded of this and that she employs you to sort these issues out....i am assuming she has no EYFS knowledge?????

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Thank you,thank you thank you! I have been banging on about the observation / assment / planning cycle for so long now my head hurts - even produced various pretty diagrams to illustrate this. What I keep coming up against is either there are no observations or there are observations but they say nothing useful. I am not sure what to attribute this to but I think it is a combination of lack of time, forgetfulness and not knowing what to look for. There are lots of issues here around the process of observing and recording which I could adress with my team given the chance.( I guess I asked the question 'can you provide evidence of progress without observations' to see if my understanding of this was wrong) And i totally agree with Wldflowers that observations must not be to the detriment of the children. I do think though that you do children a disservice if you do not provide activities / resources matched to their needs and interests - which you get from observations!

The learning journals we have should have covered the point you raised about key persons, or whoever, being able to pick one up and know from that where to go next with the child. In mine, for my own key children, there were starting points, there wwere observations, complete with possible next steps, there were photographs and there were end of term assesments. BUT NO ONE BOTHERED TO LOOK AT THEM!!!!!!!!! I guess the Chair is right, we need a system that works by osmosis, no effort required!

As for the Chair, I am at a loss as to what to think or do with this one. I feel badly undermined by her actions and at this moment in time I just want to walk away. She has planted herself between me and the team of people I work with and she has made a decision with which I don't agree and that will be actioned before I can get back to stop her. The problem, Finleysmaid, is not that she does not know the eyfs, she does, but she does not agree with it and neither does she agree with Ofsted. She is a very principled person and most of the time I agree whole heartedly with her sentiments but not this time.

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You need to explain this to her. If she undermines you, your pre school will suffer.

The job is hard enough without all being on the same page of the book. it's ok to be reflective, that is how it should be but altogether

 

Be strong be firm write down what you want to say, research what it is you want to do in relations to planning and go for it, you are the professional , you know your stuff

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Guest youngrisers

Love our learning journeys they reflect and show progression and the comments and observations from practitioners make them valued too. the children take great pride in seeing their own photographs and drawings /paintings in them in fact they go to the parents regularly who like them too. Such a shame that someone cannot see the value stand firm and explain that OFSTED love them!

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is not that she does not know the eyfs, she does, but she does not agree with it and neither does she agree with Ofsted. She is a very principled person and most of the time I agree whole heartedly with her sentiments but not this time.

 

Well when Mrs O arrives on the doorstep you better call her in to explain to Mrs O why there is not recorded evidence of the children's progress. There are lots of things we don't agree with but if you are providing a provision based on the EYFS and your children are getting NEGs then she may have to learn to agree with it or change your whole ethos and go independent or something.....you can't just not agree with Ofsted and government guidelines....that's nonsense.

 

You might find this thread started when the changes were made in September 2013 interesting;

http://eyfs.info/forums/topic/37804-changes-to-the-statutory-framework-and-assessment/

 

There are also some good points you could use in discussion with your chair as to the benefits of observations and recording progress.

 

Good luck with it all

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Thanks, guys this has all been really helpful - well, supportive is what I mean! I think what really hacked me off in the first place was being sidelined whilst I was away and everything I had worked really hard to put in place got binned. Makes one feel really valued! I have actually now resigned - this was just the last straw really.

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Thanks, guys this has all been really helpful - well, supportive is what I mean! I think what really hacked me off in the first place was being sidelined whilst I was away and everything I had worked really hard to put in place got binned. Makes one feel really valued! I have actually now resigned - this was just the last straw really.

Bless you - hope that you find another position (if that's what you want) really soon :1b

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What a brave decision- I really admire you. This will send a very strong message to the Chair and the rest of the team, and I hope they do something positive about it, to benefit the children and staff who remain. Wishing you lots of luck finding a job in a setting that really appreciates you. :1b

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  • 4 weeks later...

seems to me that this chair isn't putting the childs needs first AT ALL. Just because its her opinion doesn't make it right. I would love to be a fly on the wall when Otsted come visiting . What a silly person. the world seems full of them at the moment ! Good luck x

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Oh my goodness! Having just read this from start to end I am appalled that one person who possibly has no qualifications can drive your preschool into the ground for her own opinions. This it truly awful. Where were your early years team in all of this? Have they been informed at all? At the very least they need to come and talk to your chair about the damage she has potentially done. An Ofsted inspection under her ethos wouldn't be as good as under yours I suspect, and even if methods were changed back, the Ofsted grade would still stand until the next inspection.

Would you take back your resignation if the chair stepped down?

This is the main reason that I don't feel the PSLA system works. What's the point in all our training, reading, qualifications, etc if one person can come along and tell us to do things differently.

As an aside, no decisions on the running of your preschool should have been made in your absence

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Would I take back my resignation if the Chair resigned? No. When it first happened I did consider this option on the condition that the Chair apologised to me but it seems that the committee considers me to be in the wrong, so it is I who must apologise! The words 'cold day in hell' come to mind!

I have in my time worked with many, many different committees, and despite some really difficult times used to be more in favour of this system of governance than against, but now I am not so sure. As the early years workforce becomes increasingly professional and well qualified it seems less and less appropriate that these hard working and dedicated people be managed by people with little or no knowledge of what they are doing.

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I wish that I had seen this post earlier! There is some software that allows you to input daily observations which not only suggests 'next steps' but also creates your Learning journey for you (with much more detail than just the Development Matters statements). If anyone wants to have a look it is here https://secure.easy4nurseryeducation.co.uk/default.aspx. The nurseries that have developed it all 'Outstanding' so it is definitely worth a look.

Perhaps in your next setting - Good Luck

 

Helen (Kiddie Cats Pre-school, Huddersfield)

 

 

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