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What do Ofsted want to see when you read this statement?


thumperrabbit
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The following is a statement that I am reading time and time again on local mixed age pre-school setting Ofsted reports

the leadership team have focused well on the areas for improvement identified at last inspection. However, the ongoing self-evaluation and action plans are not sufficiently focused on further improving teaching, learning and experiences for children.

Is this as simple as staff going on courses? Teaching is mentioned on virtually every report that I read.

what are your thoughts?

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"Teaching and learning" is a big focus for OFSTED inspections now. But in the Evaluation schedule, they do define what they mean by teaching, which I have copied below.

Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term which covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment they provide and the attention to the physical environment as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations. Integral to teaching is how practitioners assess what children know, understand and can do as well as take account of their interests and dispositions to learning (characteristics of effective learning), and use this information to plan children’s next steps in learning and monitor their progress. (p.7)

 

If you look at the description, you will see that this is the stuff you do all the time. It not about being carried out by a teacher, but that in your role, you are doing the things above that equate to 'teaching'. Its not a bad idea to look through the definition and see which things your setting does well, and which, if any, you think you could do better, and how you might achieve that. (peer observations with the definition in hand, is one way to heighten the staff team's awareness of what to look for.

 

In terms of the comment above from inspection reports, I would take this to mean (without actually knowing of course) that actions have been addressed from previous reports, but any existing action plan is not linking in some way to the difference it may make for children's learning. A list of things to buy at the shop for example is not an action plan. I would always suggest, (other may disagree) that when you complete an action/development plan that you always have central to that, why are we doing this and what will the children gain from us doing this? And always follow up with what happened (rather than just ticking it off a list) and how its making a difference to your children. This is the part I often find missing from plans when I see them.

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I would always suggest, (other may disagree) that when you complete an action/development plan that you always have central to that, why are we doing this and what will the children gain from us doing this? And always follow up with what happened (rather than just ticking it off a list) and how its making a difference to your children. This is the part I often find missing from plans when I see them.

Thank you Mundia - and this is the part where it all falls over for me I just can't seem to do an action plan :( I've asked for advice from my Early Years team and they say I am very reflective I just can't seem to document it in a plan

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thumperrabbit have you thought about a spidergraph or something like that. Ofsted will just want you to evidence that you are being reflective - however they can gain that evidence through discussion, observations and any documentation that you may have, All 3 are brilliant - however if you can talk the inspector through how, why, when and most importantly the gains that the children are receiving?

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Hi Thumperrabbit, as taffygirl said, you can document (or even not document!) in any form you choose.

I prefer things written down for the following reasons

  • writing down can support your thinking process
  • It keeps you agreed developments always in mind, so that you dont trip off onto tangents and the lose track
  • they are easier to share with staff, parents, committee/governors etc
  • it is easier to get the contributions of others (so it isnt just all in your head)
  • You can 'see' progress as you review it and note the difference it has made for children.In a busy nursery its easy to forget where you were say 12 months ago and that change can often be lost.
  • it supports your memory if you get that 'rabbit in headlights' feeling when visited by OFSTED
  • I see it like the children's learning journals..documenting progress over time.

 

Is there a particular aspect that you find difficult to write down?

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This is our format:

Goal (Month Year)

What to do

How to do it

Actions taken

Evaluation

And here an example:

Goal (June 2014)

Ensure continued progress for children exceeding the early learning goals in mathematics

What to do

Develop our educational programme for mathematics.

How to do it

Ensure that the descriptors for children exceeding the early learning goals for the EYFS Profile are covered in our educational programme. Study the national curriculum for Year 1. Search for lesson plans and resources on the Internet.

Actions taken

Added statements to our record form for tracking children’s learning and development. (Jun) Bought access to a web site with support for teachers. (Jun)

Evaluation

The older children are eager to learn new things. (Jul)

 

I add to the plan as I do new things (actions) and observe new impact (evaluation), with the month in brackets (e.g. 'Oct' to keep it brief).

'Proper' development plans have a 'by whom' and 'by when', but I do everything and do it as soon as possible.

Edited by Wildflowers
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I feel you pain Thumperrabbit! - sometimes when you are so reflective you've already moved on and done other things in relation to your original development (esp by the time you get time to go back to your action plan and write on it!)

- we are believers in just doing it - writing about takes up valuable time but 'someone' needs something accessible to read so you can prove you do it and it is nice to see your achievements written down for those days when you feel you've achieved zilch!

- stopping and finding out at which point it was achieved is the tricky bit but keep reminding yourslef of the orignal goal, what the impact is you've seen (that's the easy bit if you've already moved on and are a reflective practitioner) and what next (if anything!)

 

Our table column headings are

Development

Who identified it (so they can see it's a team effort or parents are involved)

Why you've identified it and how (again we try to relate this to impact or lack of it!)

what the evidence will look like when it's achieved /or the date to be done by /costs too if needed

Brief reflection on what the impact has been for the children's learning etc

and then we add another column for so what next for this - sometimes we continue to develop it or sometimes it's just finished!

 

It's landscape so not massive boxes which helps remind yourself to just write notes or signpost to where further evidence can be found i.e assessment data, a journal or display etc - or the sef evidence box! (everything goes in there!)

 

working back over is incredibly hard so start a fresh action plan for next term say or between now and Christmas and you'll find it easier

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When I action plan I do it this way:

Identify the thing I want to be different.What needs to change.

Then identify the baseline picture - this is what it is like now.

Then I identify exactly what I want to achieve: the target, outcome whatever. This is the impact statement.

Then I identify the actions that will get me there - the specific things that will enable me to hold others/myself to account for the steps we need to take, This can be broken down into other bits like who, what where and when.

However the baseline picture and impact statements are the main two bits to evaluate to see what has actually changed.

Cx

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi thumper, let's see if we can help co construct the start of your development plan.

First of all, do you have a format you are happy to use?

Next can you give us one of your developments..doesnt matter if its vague at this point.

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All of us have things we need to improve...however good you are. Tuning in to your good points is quite easy (well sort of :blink: ) or if you are like me you will find it easier to find the negatives! From my SEF (which i have now finished ;) ) i need to start to use prams in order to statistically analyse my data. I am starting a carer and toddler group to support parent partnership, I Will increase the use of our new tablets for the children ...concentrating on the IT ability. Then i have management tasks like looking in to training for parents (triple P program or alternative) setting up maintenance schedule with the trustees (so that we can budget for it) planning expenditure better ...so purchase schedules etc etc etc i could go on! then staffing /moderation with settings etc...blimey when i write mine out properly its going to be huge!....oh and another thing WRITE MY SIP! :D

I wonder if people will post their plans or whether they think admitting they have some problems is a sign of failure....just the opposite in my opinion...you have to know your route to get to your destination!

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Totally agree FM and Catma. Also to match your actions to actual needs. During our last but one Ofsted the inspector complimented our HT on the school development plan saying it really tied in to what we need to do. "Well, yes..." said our HT a little quizzically and she told him it was a worry how often she'd SDPs saying things like 'improve boys writing' just because it was the thing to say whereas if you actually looked at that school's data they had no problems with boys writing. I sometimes think of action planning like a big lesson plan - what do I want the children to learn/how will I know they've done it.

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How about Gaining everybody's input to the SEF?

I've written it - no staff input (although asked) no committee input (they stare blankly and say you're doing a good job)

BUT I have sent out parent questionnaires and have had 11 replies out of 17 and they are still coming in :1b

One (all the others were just complimentary) comment to work on from the replies was that a parent wanted to know what their child was learning each week.

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