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Learning Journey rant...


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I have to say something or I will burst....today a new 2 year old started ...lovely little boy....no probs no tears when parents left.They brought with them his previous learning journey from alocal setting where he has been since a baby....(we only take from 2yrs so that is why they changed....) Looking at that Learning Journey as the Owner,made my blood boil.We keep to the Statutory Guidance as best we can,as I expect we all do...for the benefit of our children and their parents.That is why we have been full for the past 9 years......but if you had seen this Learning Journey from a setting that was inspected 2 years ago and were graded 'Good'..........

1) No photo portrait on the front cover....just a pencil 'sketch' of the child !

2) No photos at all in the L/J (unforgivable)

3) 7 observations for the whole 2 years

4) No 2 year Tracker

5)Parents contribution page had been filled in by staff.(writing is identical to other notes in L/J

6) " **** tryed to do a leave rubing today ".....enough said ...spelling,grammar was horrendous...

7)L/J was only started and completed on the day the child left.....parents overheard the staff.

 

Please tell me this is an isolated setting....I pride myself on my excellent staff...who always do their best for every child...and every Learning Journey....but am so disappointed that out there are settings that are not toeing the line....and Ofsted are obviously missing their failings......

Rant over....

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In my setting our LJ are in large excercise books...each child as a base line done in first 2/3 weeks. we then do post it not obs and these are then recorded on to assessment sheets with next steps on......we include photos and each child as at least a couple of photos in x We try our best and do our best.....

 

 

rant as much as you want xx

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I have in the last few weeks received a variety of learning journeys/stories ...which is an improvement ...at least i'm getting them!

I'm sure my paperwork is looked at critically when it goes elsewhere....i often find it easier to criticise than to praise (bad habit!) but the information held has been varied to say the least ...spelling and grammar always seems to be an issue but i can't guarantee mine are mistake free.

One said the child had good speech and scored high on self care. She was not toilet trained and we have just referred her to salt!

one was SO complicated it took me ages to work out what was what ...why would anyone make their staff write each link to the eyfs out by hand for it to them be printed and put on another sheet???????

One was well presented (computerised results) but didn't show where the child was or any of her personality

i could go on.............!

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i think its hard - we all like to feel our books are to a good standard but not all settings have such expectations.

we get reasonably good books and terrible books but guess everyone does?

we have 11 staff working with over 100 children so it is hard to keep track of all their books which is why we want to go down route of tapestry next september - i have fought for this for ages !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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So why assessing children during their early years if we are unable to ensure they it is done accurately, for lack of time, training or funding? We are making judgements of people after all... Images are being created of the children, which may affect how they are responded to.

Isn't there another way, in which we assess ourselves instead of the children - how we observe, respond, react, relate, create environments and provide experiences? What if we focus on being aware of the interpersonal dynamics in the group, the children's degree of involvement and the learning processes, and on nurturing children's innate urge to understand their world, relate and belong?

Processes and relationships, awareness and creativity cannot be measured. But young children's learning are primarily about those things. Wouldn't we prepare children for school by being with that, fully and deeply, during this part of their life? *

I should go to bed - I've been up working on assessments, updating the children's progress records

Edited by Wildflowers
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wildflowers i love your idealism but we have to work within the system.....if i had my way children would not be entering school before they were ready at about 6/7 but i can't change the world ...only help in the lives of a few children....but that'll do for me!

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I would love to say our LJs are perfect (but I know that they're not) HOWEVER my staff work damned hard to put in a range of observations; written and photographic, they also do progress and continuous provision access trackers and we use word documents with a standardised format for layout throughout. This is on top of meeting with parents to discuss progress and next steps and joint developmental benchmarking three times a year which is all typed up with copies to parents.

The nub of the problem is this - it costs. If you take pretty much funded children only there is no funding for PPA time, no inset days or anything else to enable staff to do this outside the 38 week funding allocation. If you are a setting taking unfunded children or children too young to qualify for funding their are pricing factors such as being sustainable and competitive to factor in.

For some staff in early years settings they have no "control" on whether their setting management are "out to make a profit" (good luck with that one xD ) and therefore not too bothered about which staff can undertake a keyperson role or have the appropriate skills to undertake a keyperson role or whether their setting "expects" that all LJ work is undertaken in staffs' personal time outside of their normal working hours. Those of us who try to keep it all done during working hours most definitely fall into the not making a profit camp xD

A huge factor in this whole issue is that the childcare sector has always been (and sadly continues to be) poorly paid and has little to no professional status unfortunately this is sometimes reflected in the quality of the workforce and their skills levels :(

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wildflowers i love your idealism but we have to work within the system.....

It's done in other countries, e.g. Scandinavia, and their children don't turn out any worse than those in the UK. (I'm one of them. Perhaps not a good example!)

Oh, perhaps I should mention - we don't write a single observation and this was not questioned at all in our inspection two weeks ago. We have a very thorough tracking system in place though.

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Oddly By chance I bumped into a mum whose child used to come to our group only this morning. Her child is now Year 3. She said they stilll both love to get her LJ out to look through and marvel at how much work went into it. I had a very smug look on my face for a few minutes. Keeping records up to date and relevant is something of an art form sometimes, you have to have a passion and a respect for your families - maybe some groups just drop the ball on it. Frankly sometimes I just wish the other groups we share a child with would keep us more informed than they currently do.

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It's done in other countries, e.g. Scandinavia, and their children don't turn out any worse than those in the UK. (I'm one of them. Perhaps not a good example!)

Oh, perhaps I should mention - we don't write a single observation and this was not questioned at all in our inspection two weeks ago. We have a very thorough tracking system in place though.

I would love to know what your tracking system is Wildflowers? I do have to agree with you LJ are lovely but they do take time and they are often done in unpaid time. However if we all just keep going along with the system then it will never change. I don't really like the developmentally appropriate system of assessment it is not a one size fits all despite the 'system' trying to convince us otherwise and our children are amongst the most tested in the world, I personally am not sure this is a good thing.

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Ahhh, the blessed Learning Journey! Whatever did we do with our time before them??? I cannot begin to count the hours and hours

my staff and I have spent, sifting through endless post its and photos, both in and out of working hours! We will never get that time back, its gone........... Its cost a fortune in stationery, and PHOTO INK ( don't get me started)! And the long and short of it is, I think, the person who came up with this initiative must have thought we were all sitting around drinking coffee! Ha! But NO MORE!!! we are prit stick free......Tapestry has unchained us from the LJ slog............you wont be sorry Blondie! And if parents want a nice 'keepsake' - let them do it!! :)

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This by no means intended as a criticism - but I don't actually worry about other setting's LJ folders or the 'quality' of contents - if we receive any 'dodgy' ones I think 'oh ours are so much better'! :1b

What a shame that the group in the first post felt under pressure to throw something together like that - would have been far more useful if they had put together a 'record of transfer'......

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My Grandaughter's nursery does this - not Tapestry sadly but a similar system. At the end of the year all info and attachments are downloaded onto a disc for parents to have.

As a receiving school, I get all their assessments etc on discs too - it works OK. We spend time talking about each child so we have a rounded picture, the data just comes alongside.

Other feeder lj's range from the sublime works of art to the scrappy piece of paper.

I'm not allowed to print pics for LJ's unless I'm taking them to moderation meetings, and don't currently have a system for sharing them with parents - something to work on I guess, but so many photo's include other children it's a bit of an 'issue' for us.

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Is it legal to expect staff to work unpaid?

teachers do this all the time don't they??? it is part of their contract.

 

It's done in other countries, e.g. Scandinavia, and their children don't turn out any worse than those in the UK. (I'm one of them. Perhaps not a good example!)

 

There was an interesting article this week where teachers from china were coming over and teaching maths in English schools because they had a good system...the leader then said of course you can't compare because our children are starting school two years later (the implication being that within a short time they were much better than our children!)

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Staff, children, parents and other family members all really love our learning journeys. Time is the main issue, however staff in my setting have paid time during the session to complete their key groups. I know of some settings that do not do them .... I know how proud our children are of theirs they get them out of their drawers at least once a week and go through them. They are a journey of the childs time with us so we ensure all staff complete them in a tidy and informative way. We are still not quite brave enough to go to online learning journeys but if we do we will use tapestry as it looks fab.

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We use ring binders and paper for our LJs and our staff take a lot of pride in them as pieces of work. I spend time at weekends working out next steps for my observations then I get an hour a week to stick everything into their folders (which when you have 8 is no where near enough time).

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What do you in early years settings do - contact the school or expect them to contact you? I send documents, but expect them to call or visit. Last year, there were a few teachers who didn't contact me. I assumed that they would be interested in what we know about their future pupil, other than what you put in a report, such as how the child responds to certain situations and what works and doesn't work in any tricky situation.

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Wildflowers

'Oh, perhaps I should mention - we don't write a single observation and this was not questioned at all in our inspection two weeks ago. We have a very thorough tracking system in place though.'

'I should go to bed - I've been up working on assessments, updating the children's progress records'

Hi Wildflowers, can't quite get my head around above statement and especially Ofsted not commenting on it. Would love for you to expand on it more. What do you actually do then?

We have just spent 2hrs this afternoon with our 5th EYIO changing yet again our format for LJ, So if like you we can get away from doing lots of paperwork in them- I'm all for it.

Ps How did the inspection go?

Cheers Manor

 

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The report came today. We got 'outstanding' in each area. The inspector agrees with us that our system enables us to "make precise and accurate assessments of children". It's a system I've created over some years.

I currently know what 25 children can do, their medium and short term plan (next steps) and progress they've made. It's some kind of tracking perhaps. (Though I have no idea how other trackers work.)

Judgements are made by at least two staff together, observing and discussing together, unless it's something obvious like 'which number comes after 5'. No evidence is needed as we are working in pairs. (In fact, the three of us together. We are no more in our team.)

Key to it all is that we have reworded the learning and development statements many times, and sought understanding about any area that has been unclear, so there is no doubt what we are looking to see if a child does, or which learning opportunities to provide.

Edited by Wildflowers
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What do you in early years settings do - contact the school or expect them to contact you? I send documents, but expect them to call or visit. Last year, there were a few teachers who didn't contact me. I assumed that they would be interested in what we know about their future pupil, other than what you put in a report, such as how the child responds to certain situations and what works and doesn't work in any tricky situation.

Schools can only contact you if they know who you are - I only know where about half of my reception class came from in terms of pre-school provision. I would also love to visit or call to talk through the children and do so as far as I can but I don't get any extra time for this - I do it in my PPA which is currently in two slots during the week so limits the amount of time I can spend with a setting. I would go and visit after school but both the settings which feed regularly into our school have finished their day by time I do and it's also a time of year when the general busyness of writing reports/reviewing IEPs/scheduling meetings with my existing parents. It won't necessarily be a lack of interest about future pupils.

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