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on entry assessments - nursery


sooty99
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how long do you take to complete these? we try and do it in 3/4 weeks but one staff member says we should allow 6 weeks and the other thinks ofsted say 2. what do you all allow? we are discussing early starters entry levels ....

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We did start doing the early assessment review at about 6weeks - mainly because most of our new starters only do 2 days a week. However LEA suggested 3/4weeks so we 'aim' for that. Can't see you would get a very true reflection in 2 weeks - takes most children at least that to 'settle-in'.....especially if we're talking two year olds...

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We'd advise within 4 weeks, but that is with all the home visit etc info as well.

Ofsted don't say anything - it's not their remit. However if you were doing assessments so late that you were effectively assessing your own teaching then they might have a problem with the validity of what you said was on entry outcomes!

Cx

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Only our inspectors viewpoint but at our last inspection in April 2013 she said initial assessments and starting points have to be completed within 2 weeks,we stick to this, although can be very hard when a child is attending on a part time basis.

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Within 2 weeks especially if the children have had visits, they learn so quickly that you want to get a true assessment of what they come in with. The majority of the children just need the 'experience' of Nursery to begin to progress.

Ofsted in December appreciated this and agreed with our timeline.

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We use a 'building a picture' sheet over first half term, all staff add notes not just kp, am thinking of setting up an Ob on tapestry for September intake that gets edited/added to over first half term, or may just set the first half term as baseline dates, but like the idea of all on one ob to then print out.

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I think its a little bit of a variable feast, and that's where I would use your professional judgement. There isnt a 'set' time period, but if you leave it too long, they are not really starting points. For most children 4 weeks is about right, but if a child attends once a week, or arrived then got chicken pox and was off for a week, then its reasonable to extend that. On the other hand a child in all day every day, that has settled very well, you would get a picture earlier than that.

Also good quality 'all about me' information should help with that early assessment.

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I was lucky enough to be at the 4Children conference yesterday when they launched a document called 'What to expect when'. I'll post more under another topic, but it is Development Matters in parent friendly speak, set out by age expectations. It occurs to me that it could be used as a tool to get information from parents on entry about their child's development. I think it could be really helpful with on-entry assessment.

It will be available through the 4 Children website, probably from today.

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As all of you, we observe children from day one and make note of their progress. As a prime example I just had a boy start, 15 hours funded, term-time only place.

He settled in week beginning 20/02 and week beginning 2/3. EAL, Mum speaks little English. The two week period is up and we have just seen a change in him in regards to how he behaves when he comes in. He seems to be warming up to the idea of nursery a bit. He does not join in any activities, he does not interact with children or adults at all.

How can I expect my key person to make an accurate assessment even in the prime areas? He will need another few weeks. Then its Easter Holidays and we may start again with him...

I will explain that to Ofsted any day, I can make an assessment now and say he is very delayed for his age or give him another few weeks and actually make an "accurate assessment" of that child.

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As all of you, we observe children from day one and make note of their progress. As a prime example I just had a boy start, 15 hours funded, term-time only place.

He settled in week beginning 20/02 and week beginning 2/3. EAL, Mum speaks little English. The two week period is up and we have just seen a change in him in regards to how he behaves when he comes in. He seems to be warming up to the idea of nursery a bit. He does not join in any activities, he does not interact with children or adults at all.

How can I expect my key person to make an accurate assessment even in the prime areas? He will need another few weeks. Then its Easter Holidays and we may start again with him...

I will explain that to Ofsted any day, I can make an assessment now and say he is very delayed for his age or give him another few weeks and actually make an "accurate assessment" of that child.

But to some extent the assessment is just that. It's his characteristics and well being/involvement that you are reporting on here.In 6 months you will look back and see such a change in him!! So whatever you see now is in effect accurate because it is what the child is like, in the setting, right now! Yes they may be more confident at home etc, but ultimately we are not assessing them anywhere else except in the setting. Otherwise we could agonise and agonise over where they are - it should in my opinion be a really quick best fit, based on professional judgements.

His English will be less developed so his C+L will be lower, but you have to assess this in English anyway, his PD may be appropriate, his PSED may be variable depending on confidence...but you don't need millions of observations to make a valid judgement I think.

Cx

Edited by catma
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