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Peer Observations


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Hi Sue

We have had to do them for our QA. What we did was to let the last member of staff to join choose which area she wanted to be observed on then she picked a name out of a hat who was going to observe her. We went through all the staff that way-that made it fairer as I think they were all a bit worried they were going to get me!!! They were all a bit concerned-I don't think any of us like to be "watched". But it wasn't that bad really.

Linda

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Linda,

Did you find the feedback constructive? How did the staff take the comments? I expect there were good comments - were there any negative ones?

You said that you had to do it for your QA, is it something you are going to continue with?

Sorry---lots of questions.

 

Sue J

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Hi Sue

We didn't really have any negative comments-I suppose like anything if you are being observed you tend to be on show and try not to make any mistakes. The staff found it quite useful but I think we found appraisals more so as they were looking at themselves and identifying their strengths and weaknesses-so it wasn't just me saying what I thought needed doing and what they were doing well.

I don't think we will carry them on-we were given specific areas we had to cover for the QA. Can't remember them off the top of my head and my folder is downstairs and I am in the loft. Being lazy I can't be bothered going to get it right now. I can let you know tomorrow night though.

Linda

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Thanks Linda

I know just how you feel (about being lazy). I must go to bed - keep promising myself an early night - then I get on here !!

We have completed 2 modules in Stage one of the QA. I think the observations will come in the next module - "Working together as a team".

Actually, I have just picked up the folder and it is in the next module. The question relating to it asks - How do you use peer observations to develop your practice?

 

Probable will have to do them then.

 

Sue J

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We also had to do peer observations for our QA scheme. I paired up the staff to do observations on each other. The senior more experienced staff hated the exercise and were adamant that it was a complete waste of time. The junior less experienced staff were more positive. I didn't repeat the exercise this year as I decided it was more important to keep my senior staff on side and in a small pre-school we are all working so closely together that we have a pretty good idea of each other's practice anyway. But I do insist on staff appraisals each year when they are asked to assess their own practice.

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We started doing them for the QA too.

We have seen it as an extension of what we do for the children and also appraisals. We have various ticklists and time sample forms and also do narratives. We do snapshot obs so e.g. a normally fairly shy member of staff recently stood up to a quite aggressive parent who wanted to drop his son off early so he could go to work! We often decide on our TA day that we will pick a time and just observe someone in whatever they happen to be doing.

 

We haev found this means we get true obs rather than looking for particular things or knowing who is observing us and when.

 

We aim to each observe every other member of staff once a half term.

 

They are purely objective as the children's are and the person observed is asked to make comments which are then discussed at appraisal.

 

I am hoping to continue it as I think it is really helpful to have concrete examples of practice to discuss at appraisals as we all work part time and so I don't see some staff very much.

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Peer observations are a really good tool for identifying strengths and areas for development in both staff and your provision.

 

I recommend to my mentor group that the manager puts themselves forward to be observed first to show that the process is valuable and not be worried about it - and how often do the staff really get the opportunity to see the manager on the 'shop floor'? ( know I didn't when I was a nursery nurse)

 

If you have set questions to answer relating to interaction, positive reinforcement, eye contact, supporting children's development etc (such as in NDNA Quality Counts) you can score from 1 (infreqent examples) to 5 (always does this) and then transfer it to a master score sheet or grid. (I will attempt to reproduce this and attach it later on - don't think I have time to write all the questions out, but you can adapt the needs of your setting to create your own!)

 

Make sure you always score against the same questions and that way when you look at the master score sheet you will be able to easily identify questions that have consistently high or low scores or members of staff that have particular strengths or areas for development.

 

This can then be used to inform appraisals and also to support members of staff by using a 'buddy' or mentor system for the areas that need developing.

 

I have worked with settings that have really enjoyed this (after getting over the initial fear of providing feedback) and they now use the observations on a regular basis and focus on certain areas in the nursery to ensure that there is consistency across the staff team when working in the home corner, water play, outside etc etc.

 

:D RB x

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We, like Deb, are only small staff wise, 6 of us altogether, so we find we can monitor what is happening without formal observations. We work really well as a team so we all feel we can make comments on each others practice, without fear of offending.

Linda

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Hi Peer observations for the Investors in people award and now do them regularly. I also get my leaders to do a job chat with their staff and the staff do their own self appraisals and then it all comes to me and I go through it. We find that by the time they have done the peer observations then the job chat with the leader, they are used to talking about whats going on and themselves, I then don't seem so daunting!!!! :oxD:D

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Thank you for all your comments.

Will think about it. Similar to you Linda, there are five of us working full time and we have worked together for a long time. As we work closely, we can observe other members of staff during the morning anyway, although, nothing is formally noted.

After discussing peer obs with the staff they are not keen on doing it and neither am I to be honest but I will seriously think about it.

 

Sue J

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Hi Sue

I think our request for peer observations is different to yours. We didn't have to do them as a part of our normal routine. We were asked questions like "How do you ensure staff, students and volunteers are interested, enthusiatic and approachable?" and part of the evidence they wanted was a peer observation. So our QA scheme was not looking for peers observations as something we were already doing or should do but as a specific for them. Strangely, one of them was about locking the door! Quite why they wanted a peer observation for that I am not sure. (Staff name) locked the door at 9.20, what else can you say?

I do feel that these are one of those things that are useful if you find them to be. They are not necessarily the thing for all settings to do. We didn't find them particularly useful, but that could be because of the things we were being asked to observe.

As with all things, it is what you feel comfortable with and what works for you. But, if it is an expectation for your QA that you continue with them then you will have to find a way of doing them that fits with the way you work and that all the staff are happy with them.

Linda

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