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'School Readiness'

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Our HMI has just left, with a few passing comments about 'likely changes' to the next Ofsted inspection framework.

One of them was a re-emphasis on the meaning of the term 'school readiness' for Reception classes - surely meaning 'more formality'.

So myself and the Head had a frank discussion on what a ridiculous, narrow minded and backward decision this would be. Her view is what they say is what we've got to do, regardless of how we feel.

My POV is that by having a stable mix of child initiated and adult initiated work we are already doing enough 'formality'...plus what exactly is 'school readiness'...surely in the EYFS we are already teaching and assessing positive learning behaviours (CoEL) that will help children throughout primary school.

Also - Reception are already at school! So they don't need to be 'ready' for it!

At my school, as I'm sure many other schools do, Reception already do x5 phonics and guided reading lessons per week. Just like they do in KS1.

I hate these knee jerk reactions. I feel like I've been fighting the same battle for years, I remember having the same conversations when I saw the light and taught my first Reception class back in 2000. 15 years later here we still are.

Rant over.

Edited by ChrisAR
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Politically, we are back in the battle for where reception sits. The baseline draws a line that says this is where they start school. I think gradually the EYFS framework will be revised to apply to nursery only somehow.

It's what the current administration are after I think. The consultation for baseline being in a primary consultation doc was the start.


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Our inspector used those words today, along with 'you call yourselves pre-school so you should be getting them ready for school'. Ours are 2, 3 and 4 yr olds. I hate the expression 'school ready'. We're a playgroup, the word preschool was added by an ambitious ex chair and I told het at the time it would change what people saw us as.


My check list:

Parents happy? Tick

Children happy? Tick

Staff happy? Tick

Ofsted happy? See above

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I rather like this quote:

The Minister of State for Children and Families at the time stated the following at the launch of the revised EYFS:-

“What really matters is making sure a child is able to start school ready to learn, able to make friends and play, ready to ask for what they need and say what they think. These are critical foundations for really getting the best out of school. It’s vital we have the right framework to support high quality early years education.” (Sarah Teather at the launch of the revised EYFS)

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Each year I see my pre-schoolers who are definitely ready for school:- they are confident with who they are, able to communicate their needs and thoughts, are excited about learning by themselves or with others, creative and individual - that's what I would regard as ready for school.

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My thoughts have always been not - "are they ready for school?" - but "are school ready for them?" -


whoops............ mind that gap!!

Hear, hear!!!

I love this quote 'If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn'

Isn't this what we do all the time, everyday in the EYFS? Maybe 'school' could learn a thing or two off us?

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  • 3 months later...

I am in a preschool and one way the leader has decided to get children ready for school is by doing a register in the morning and afternoon (just like school) on the carpet and then children are asked what they would like to play with and off they go. Is that enough?? There's no phase one letters and sounds at the moment.


I'm just thinking that that carpet time could be a bit more productive... And there are no other group times/key group times to focus on phase one letters and sounds which I think is a step in the right direction for school readiness too and in stretching and challenging children.am I right?

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