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Observations as part of supervision process


Mollieben
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Hi all,

Have recently completed our Quality Improvement Plan with our LA and one of our targets was to implement peer to peer observations as part of our supervision. I started them today. My staff really got in a state about it - one was even up all night worrying about it! For the record, I am NOT a scary manager AT ALL. In fact I need to toughen up.... I feel the observations went well and I certainly saw the difference between my effective staff and my not so effective staff. My question is - how do you implement observations - do you give notice and time to prepare (I did) and how do you feedback? How do your staff respond?? Has it helped?

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I do staff obs as part of our practice, staff undergo a five-ten min obs every two weeks they are aware of them happening but no warning is given. I write them up staff are given them to look at a week before their half termly one to ones, they have to reflect on them highlight what they feel are there strengths and also areas they feel they can improve. I then give my thoughts in the 1:1's, the staff member then sets themselves targets and reflects and changes their own practice from this. Yes it may highlight In house training needs or external training as part of this. They are fully aware of the minimum expectations which is a min of 3 Makaton signs, sustained shared thinking to be evident and good body language to be evident. This helps staff take responsibility for their own teaching standards and helps drive a reflective workforce. Yes some staff panicked at first but now they are used to it, it will help them in the long run as when little old Ofsted do the peer observation with the manager they should be more use to it plus it screams good practice and I've found it unmeasurable in driving good practice. I found tieing them into the 1:1's gave the observations an importance and a set time to reflect along with not doing them just for the sake of it. Forgot to add Staff also get to do mine !

Edited by Rochelle
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Thank you Rochelle. We set targets together in the feedback session for next term and it has already highlighted some training needs for some staff members. I have tried to reassure them that the more we do this, the more prepared and confident they will be when our inspection comes round again. I am toying with the idea of them observing each other in between my observations but not sure that it will be as useful. Do you just generally observe or is it an observation of a specific activity?

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General observations, I try to cover all areas for staff to get a good picture as some staff have strengths in different areas. I observe snack, nappy time, activities etc. I would love staff to observe each other but at present it's a battle to move that step closer to full peer to peer interaction challenging and praising practice. I do want to get there but it's took me two terms to embed this! stop the worrying, address any big issues of negative practice and show them why it's a good thing it may be getting close to taking the leap as I choose to do it in small steps. Also I find it hard getting the time to observe them so trying to give them time to observe each other will also be a challenge. I did find I needed to get my foot up a few bums but also I could really praise others which has boosted their opinions of themselves. In my setting it seems to be the worriers that are the strongest ones with effective teaching skills. I had to do a peer obs with Ofsted inspector so just tried to take this on board as basically we walked in a room choose a staff member plonked down our bums and began so planning to cover only activities I thought would not fully reflect what happens day to day which is what is being inspected. :) keep at it I'm sure you'll see the benefits and so will the staff especially when the praise rolls in ha ha ha :)

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I do staff obs as part of our practice, staff undergo a five-ten min obs every two weeks they are aware of them happening but no warning is given. I write them up staff are given them to look at a week before their half termly one to ones, they have to reflect on them highlight what they feel are there strengths and also areas they feel they can improve. I then give my thoughts in the 1:1's, the staff member then sets themselves targets and reflects and changes their own practice from this. Yes it may highlight In house training needs or external training as part of this. They are fully aware of the minimum expectations which is a min of 3 Makaton signs, sustained shared thinking to be evident and good body language to be evident. This helps staff take responsibility for their own teaching standards and helps drive a reflective workforce. Yes some staff panicked at first but now they are used to it, it will help them in the long run as when little old Ofsted do the peer observation with the manager they should be more use to it plus it screams good practice and I've found it unmeasurable in driving good practice. I found tieing them into the 1:1's gave the observations an importance and a set time to reflect along with not doing them just for the sake of it. Forgot to add Staff also get to do mine !

can i ask you what you mean by good body language? think one of my staff may have an issue here, and interested to hear your take on this x

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What I look for is eye contact, turning where possible to face your body to the child for instance if sat down, bending down to their level (not bending from the waist !! This can be very dominant stance but the knees) this is not always done as sometimes a child may just come to you and ask you to hold something then go again but where the child/adult is involved in a two way communication or the child has just come in to school for example with something exciting to say the adult goes to the child's level. If when dealing with childrens emotions/conflicts this must be done at their level. We went through it all in a staff mtg and people put their views forward about what they felt was good body language so everyone understands what's expected and why. Hope that helps :)

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Hi Mollieben

Know what you mean by toughening up.

 

Has regards obs there never seems to be enough time to do these has often as I like. Sessions are busy.

Going to try and time table myself time to do it. Do you or anyone else have a format you use to do the obs??

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What I look for is eye contact, turning where possible to face your body to the child for instance if sat down, bending down to their level (not bending from the waist !! This can be very dominant stance but the knees) this is not always done as sometimes a child may just come to you and ask you to hold something then go again but where the child/adult is involved in a two way communication or the child has just come in to school for example with something exciting to say the adult goes to the child's level. If when dealing with childrens emotions/conflicts this must be done at their level. We went through it all in a staff mtg and people put their views forward about what they felt was good body language so everyone understands what's expected and why. Hope that helps :)

exactly what i expect, and confirming we need to do some work on this as a team! thanks

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I would really like some information about what is actually expected from staff about things like points Rochelle has made to give to staff once we identify an issue. Or beforehand to prepare them.

For example, it seems obviously that eye contact is a good thing but a statement I can share would really help to make staff understand.

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I think a really good and very powerful way to get staff to understand its importance is to do the following task;

In pairs one person talks say about what they do at home, the other looks everywhere except at the person talking, then also turns away often throughout.

Again in pairs one sits and one stands in front of them the person standing talks again as above.

Both of these highlight body language and the powerful impact it has, they will probably giggle as they feel very uncomfortable or stop talking as they feel what their saying is undervalued. :)

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We're a new setting so have only made one observation so far, planning three a year, one a term, as part of appraisal and supervision process. I have a grid that I use which has a continuum of qualities from 1-5 eg praises effort and achievement at one end to praises indiscriminately at the other or makes positive body gesture and eye contact to is cold and distant. I gave notice and agreed a time to observe. I then fed back in 1:1 time.

Staff weren't keen at first but we talked about the value of the process and I think they understand why we're doing it.

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A couple of questions on the difference between staff obs in schools and settings:

It's always been a part of an EYFS (school) teachers job to be observed and can be part of what triggers capability procedures and ultimately loss of job if performance does not meet the teachers standards.

Can I ask what you do in a setting if a member of staff consistently requires improvement or is inadequate as a result of your observed performance?

Also schools have to define the profile of teaching and learning (ie % of good or better teachers or RI/inadequate and share this information with the Governing body and Ofsted. In settings do you give a grade? I know the expectation is different in the school inspection framework to Early Years settings on this.`

Cx

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Ican have this helpful sheet of what you might look for in interactions

http://www.ican.org.uk/~/media/Ican2/Book%20Shop/Downloads/top%20techniques%20chart001%20pdf.ashx

Those of you that did ECAT may have something similar.

If you have never really done the observations before, and your staff are a little insecure, one things I did with a setting, was to film the manager in interactions, (where she was confident enough to make a few mistakes if you see what I mean), then the staff team watched it as part of a staff meeting, noting what she did well and what she didnt do. This gave them some initial confidence to be observed themselves. The manager started with senior staff first.

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