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Guest Dannik26
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Guest Dannik26

I have another burning issue I need help with. :-)

We have a happy setting with thriving, confident children and staff who get on very well. However, however much we try and lessen paperwork and change the format, with input from all staff, staff do not seem to be happy with both the amount of paperwork we have (next steps and tracking every half term and a termly report) and they way we write them.

As we have lessened the paperwork to such an extent that we cannot afford to reduce it more and our learning journeys (still paper format as tapestry is not an option) are very child orientated, myself, alongside the director of the Pre-school are at a loss to why the paperwork is such an issue. Staff are also provided support with these if needed but are still telling us they find it all too much.

Whilst I understand that everyone is different and understand paperwork isn't everyone's part of the Job, I would be very grateful to know how much paperwork other settings have regarding children's development. I would also like to find out if there are any setting who may also have this/ or had and how they eradicated the problem!

Thank you in advance

 

 

 

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This is a perennial problem. In my years as manager I tried loads of different ways to do things. Staff would always complain that there was too much to do, and there always is more than you want there to be. I think the only way around it is to get the staff to devise it themselves. Ask them to devise a system that shows the progress etc. maybe they could each go away and come up with something. The thing is, what seems straightforward and sensible to one person is mind blowing to another. If you are confident that what they come up with shows everything you need, let them trial it for half a term or so, then come together again and talk about the different methods. You may find one you can all use. Or you may find it best to use slightly different methods. I used a different method from the rest of my staff with my key group, but other staff were familiar with it and my planning in case I was ever off poorly.

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It's a problem in any setting unfortunately my staff were the same (still are in some respects even though on tapestry) I tried to reduce as much as possible but I also found showing them and teaching them how relevant it all is! If your doing paperwork for sake of it you won't be able to sell it's benefits.... I for one really value the tracking of development and next steps as it can give us such an indepth picture of a child and highlight any issues quickly.

 

I Like the idea above put it in their hands and see what happens ! lay down expectations of what needs to be met and allow them to develop the rest - sounds interesting if you choose to do this come back and keep us updated I'm very intrigued ?

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Good advise (as usual :1b ) from Cait.

I have tried this - It sort of worked, some staff were more proactive than others!! My problem is, I have one member of staff telling me the others are not happy with the paperwork, however when I ask individually they say its fine! :huh:

Like Cait, I tend to work differently to staff, but I have told them they can use what works best for them individually-

AS LONG AS -

  • Staff discuss methods used at meetings - sharing good systems etc. (so everyone has a rough idea about how every else works)
  • It is a method that someone else can pick-up and take over.... (if key-person is ill/won lottery and done a bunk)
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The relevancy of the paperwork is the main thing. Ask yourself, 'who is it for?' If you are just doing it for Ofsted, then you need to examine the relevance of it to the child's documented progress.

 

The main things, I think, are the 'plan, do, review' type of things. Plan the next steps, do what you can to assist progress with these and review how it's gone, then set off planing again. As long as you can show that you are planning to meet the needs of each child, and showing how they are achieved, then you will be on track.

 

Ofsted want to know that you can show your knowledge of the children's development and next steps, how you are planning to achieve these and how you record it. How you get to that point is up to individuals, different ways of working, and understanding that we all learn in different ways - that doesn't just apply to the children, but to our staff as well. My paperwork showed that I learned about children through analysing data, but my deputy was more holistic and used different ways of learning about the children in her key group. One of the other staff members knew loads about her children, and could tell you what you needed to know about any of them, but struggled with recording. It's important that we understand that everyone may need a different method of recording and planning, and this can be a pain for the person who is trying to do an overview of it all, but through good staff discussions I believe it can be done, we did it. We formulated a planning sheet that all the staff in the twos room could work with, that they all created between them. It was simplistic, but that was the beauty of it as a baseline to work from.

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Exactly Cait!

My view is- that now that Ofsted will speak to individual members of staff about their key-children, it is important that the staff are fully confident in the method they use. It can be daunting enough speaking to Ofsted anyway, let alone trying to explain a system that your fully confident with using.

I think my staff member that tells me others are not happy would actually like everyone using an identical system.

I should add- our do follow a similar format - it's just how it's achieved that differs. :D

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Hi Dannik.

Just wondering if you really need to do half termly tracking and termly reports? Many of the settings in our LA do a summary/learning update 3 times a year which is shared with parents and therefore IS the report if you see what I mean. The last one of these would be the transition one, whether that be to school or another setting. I know when I did tracking every half term it was often hard to really see progress as some half terms are just so short.

Just a thought.

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We only do reports and formally track twice a year. (Although I monitor progress often) That is the requirement for our funding, and it still is plenty!

 

Just talked to our improvement advisor earlier today about whether we needed to record next steps on Tapestry as it provides them for you. She is happy with us printing off next steps from tapestry, which currently do at the beginning of term and beginning of each half as I stressed less written work for staff. She was concerned we might not cover children's interests because there isn't a next step that says..... Johnny likes dinosaurs but doesn't like mark making, so provide opps for dinosaur foot printing. I explained our weekly planning evidences opps for their interests, development or next steps, and she said I had enough for Ofsted and the sheets were fine. I have happy staff!

 

So pleased to learn I can now let parents see next steps! Another lovely addition to Tapestry which parents can see and Ofsted will like too!

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Remember you can also edit the next steps yourself to include own interests.

 

Our paper work has been greatly reduced by Tapestry , we use paper evaluation sheet for the week which all staff add to which has following areas - parents comments / feedback , children's voices and choices , communication and language , enhancements next steps .

 

Just trying to format a sheet though to show each child's next steps so all staff aware and so Ofsted can see it in writing because I know they will want to see how we implement them

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We have next step go onto tapestry, one obs per NS then the two NS are displayed on a board in room, KW use a sheet I put together where they put NS for child and plan a few activities etc for the NS but these must not be 'tests' they must show the process in which a child needs to explore to reach the NS so valuing the process not end result. I then each week go through and pick things to be done I put it on planning sheet and put a date on the KW planning sheet so we can easily cross reference planned enhancements/activities experiences etc. If a staff member has chosen to do something in addition to our resources etc then a note goes on planning for that KW to prepare for following week as it will be on then. This way we can ensure each child goes on the planning and also collate various KW children with similar NS.

 

Hope that makes sense! I think I have my cycle worked out and can easily cross reference and refer back where/when needed, it was a pain to devise though. same as lashes here paperwork is so minimal now still done but only a little.

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