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Utter bile from Secret Teacher, The Guardian


Rea
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oh dear, i find myself agreeing with her...... the pressures on school nursery staff and reception staff are immense. it is really hard to get children to age-related expectations when they come in really low (16-26 months or 22-36 months when they start our nursery. making 1 year's progress is not good enough..... so it's accelerated learning all the way. which is harder when children are not able to do the basics when they start.

each of the parent's meetings in February, which should have been 10 minutes long, took 20 minutes or more, as we were discussing getting rid of dummies/bottles, and how to get their child to stop coming into bed with parent(s). of my key group of 14, only 3 stay in their own beds all night, and one of those three has mum come in bed with him, and lie there until he falls asleep ..... poor mum. sorry if i seem a bit harsh. i haven't got time or staff to do the basics - 37 children and 3 staff (8 are just 3 and started after christmas....)

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I wonder what percentage of children are in need of these interventions simply because their parents are lazy and have really decided to delegate their parenting to the teachers. I would imagine it to be very small.

 

My guess is that, if you looked into the majority of these cases, you would find children with, as yet undiagnosed, additional needs, parents in abusive relationships or other very trying circumstances and parents who have their own additionals needs and are without the skills or resources to ensure their children are 'school ready'.

 

My younger daughter wasn't 'school ready' when she started in reception and I was roundly criticised by the school staff for insisting that she attended for mornings only for the first two terms. I am aware that I was viewed as one of those parents because she crashed out into a deep sleep as soon as we left every day so was definitely still in need of an afternoon nap. The reasons behind her lack of school readiness didn't become apparent until three years later when she was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.

 

I'm sure all teachers come across parents who behave appallingly at times, as do early years practitioners and people in all sorts of other professions. I'm not sure it's appropriate to have a public rant, tarring everyone with the same brush and making parents of children with additional needs feel even more judged than usual.

 

This article just promotes the idea that parents are the root of all problems in the classroom and undermines the good working relationships required for each child's education to be properly supported by all the adults involved. We need to move away from this culture, not reinforce it with rants in newspaper articles.

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I've not read the article yet, but going on what has been said above think I get the gist, my issue is this ...

 

10 years ago children weren't in school until they were Reception year aged 4/5 yrs old

 

All the basics that Sooty mentions were being dealt with in day nursery / pre-school / playgroup / childminder settings - it's what we do, it's the norm and parents were happy to listen to the advice and work with us as there was no pressure - the majority (not all) but the majority of these problems were sorted out before the child got to start school aged 4/5yrs

 

Now in most areas children start school at 3 or now even 2yrs in some areas, and schools are wanting them 'ready to learn' - they aren't going to be. I totally sympathise with the School Nursery teachers, as I volunteer in one, and the pressure placed upon them is HUGE but the children aren't ready to learn their ABC's & 123's - the look on the teachers faces is total despair when you tell them at transition meetings that the child who is just turned 3yrs old isn't toilet trained and has issues with sharing and needs help to follow a routine; not because they don't care or want to help but because of the pressures placed upon them and the lack of adults to support all of this.

 

I see it for myself I am in a very affluent area with well educated parents but once the child is at school parents change, they want them to be learning their ABC's & 123's and focus on this rather than the basics.

 

Just wish the powers that be would leave the 2/3yr olds in the community settings and let schools focus on the support & care that some of the Reception aged children still need, so that they can then be 'ready to learn' - lowering school age isn't going to sort out all the problems.

 

Phew, that's enough of a rant from me at this time in a morning think I should go back to bed - Or maybe actually read the article and find that it's nothing to do with what I've written :DxDxDxD

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I can see a lot of truth in the article, for whatever reason!

 

Last Septembers intake I had 6 children in the very early stages of potty training and even though I am an EYP I spent a large amount of time in the toilet!!!

 

This intake I have 6 children in nappies. Three due for school in September.

 

One went to reception in nappies last year.

 

I do feel a lot of pressure to accelerate learning.

I am lucky that I am in a private nursery attached to the school and I work closely with the reception teacher, having transition time right from the autumn term once everyone has settled.

 

However other school staff such as the literacy or maths co ordinators dont GET early years at all.

One asked why a child had no maths in his learning journey....... He is autistic and I cannot observe what is not there to see.

The maths teacher asked if I could do some group work with the more able.......

 

Mmmmmmm we differentiate all our tasks, we have sound knowledge of our children and their stage of development, I have six being toilet trained and 11 children with additional needs all needing intervention work..... In the three hours I get with each child daily WHEN DO I fit something else in?!!

Just before I finish my little moan here () a new parent visited a couple of week s ago and said she was really pleased her child could start (another in nappies) because we could sort out his eating problems for her!!!!!!!!!

 

I rest my case!

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Do children really start school at 3 in most areas now? We have no experience of that as it is always 4 here. It does explain why this has become such an issue but not why it seems to be coming as such a surprise. Why would anyone think 3 and even 2 year olds would be as generally capable as 4 years olds?

I would like to see statistics on this so that we could be sure what is actually happening across the country in terms of how old are the children in school and how many of them are really not "school ready" at 4. Why should they be "school ready" at 3?

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Actually reading the article it does make sense and in a way I do agree with her.

The article is about reception age.. so not the younger nursery group .. which is where starting school has become an annual one year intake , so there are younger children starting school. Where in the past the PVI and nursery would have sorted out most of the issues with parents , they are now starting school so often still need the support which is not easy with the lower staffing levels.. The staggered year start was giving the children time to learn these skills.

Starting school at Nursery age and younger just makes it harder when there is not enough staff or training in younger age groups, and those above/ who set targets really do not understand enough about the child development at this age/stage of life. These children are the ones who need to be given the life skills and learn through play etc , without the constant target in areas that will come once they are 'school' ready.. but taking children at this age does come with all of these issues and more... like the needy parents who don't want to let go and think their child is the only one you look after.

Added to this is the push for parents to get back to work.. so many are juggling so many other things that some issues will be a case of not having time or inclination after a day doing it all.. so give up and let it go..

This will only get worse the more they have younger ages in schools but not fully cater for them or expect more than the child is capable of.. along with more PVI and nursery closing because they cannot cope on the lack of income, which at the moment does not cover their costs, or a decent wage for the level of qualification and responsibility.

 

Having just re read it , the ending does upset me and does not help -

Quote

"We care about your children but some jobs just aren’t in our remit – and toilet training is one of them. "

If a child is in your care then all their needs are in your remit..

Edited by Inge
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Do children really start school at 3 in most areas now? We have no experience of that as it is always 4 here.

I think people mean starting a nursery class in a school which you can do at three and at two in some schools. Children start in reception between their fourth and fifth birthday. Which is often still too young IMHO.

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This year our leavers will be very young ...i have a large percentage who only turn 4 in August including a set of twins who were born at 28 weeks therefore only really being 3 when they start. Potty training is being done later (not helped by HV's in this area who seem to believe children are going to wake up one morning and say can i i use the potty now??) . Toilet training is a huge part of the EYFS and features more than other areas of learning ....but is somehow downgraded as being less important than knowing how to count! Children need to learn these basic skills wherever they are and the emphasis in schools needs to be exacting to the developmental guidelines (IMO) . PSE is a 7th of the curriculum and a prime area Physical is another 7th and also a prime area.....they should be given priority over literacy or maths ...otherwise it is like teaching NC1 before foundation stage! I really believe there needs to be a mindset change and teachers need to understand the importance of what they are doing when they toilet train.

Having said this there needs to be much more emphasis on teaching parents how to parent....the lack of nuclear families in our area means they have no one to speak to and compare and often don't have a clue what to do. Those who work also find it difficult to find the time to concentrate on this and don't want to do it in their precious holidays

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Do children really start school at 3 in most areas now? We have no experience of that as it is always 4 here. It does explain why this has become such an issue but not why it seems to be coming as such a surprise. Why would anyone think 3 and even 2 year olds would be as generally capable as 4 years olds?

I would like to see statistics on this so that we could be sure what is actually happening across the country in terms of how old are the children in school and how many of them are really not "school ready" at 4. Why should they be "school ready" at 3?

I feed into 5 main schools on the whole - they are all deemed Outstanding

 

1 school takes from the day that they turn 2

3 take from the day that they turn 3

1 takes from Reception age

 

Interestingly the school that only starts from Reception is the one that usually has spaces

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Not read the article yet either, but feel the problems are starting much earlier than when they hit reception class (we don't seem to have schools with nurseries attached in our area yet either) the biggest change (rightly or wrongly) was stopping being able to say children needed to be toilet trained when we didn't take children in preschools/playgroups until just before 3, not once can I remember a child not starting because they weren't, we are supporting children who are only toilet training in the setting and then have a nappy/ pull ups ( don't get me started on those) put on as soon as they leave, we are supporting Sen children within normal ratios, no area support let alone inclusion funding anymore, we are running around after 2 year olds, and running around after parents who just didn't bother turning up for the S&L appointment we'd fought for months to get them, completing endless paperwork, trying to fit staff in on the never ending training courses that seem to have increased since funding stopped, introducing endless changes to the EYFS and they wonder why the 4 yr olds aren't where they used to be ....someone needs to get a grip !

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Lets not forget the ratio in Reception classes is actually 1:30, although schools will generally add in additional TAs, who may or may not have any EYFS training or experience. Reception classes generally just do not have the available staffing to manage toilet training effectively for the increasingly larger numbers that they experience.

 

Even in a school nursery class with 1:13 it can be tricky and require all the children to come inside whilst one of the nursery staff deal with toileting... It's easy to criticise the teachers who, in my experiebce, are actually doing their level best to manage ALL the needs of 30 children. Statutorily, through their terms of pay and conditions of service it is the Teacher who is held accountable for everything,and now even their pay progression relies on their outcomes. Honestly, I defy anyone to be able to manage individualised toilet training for large numbers of 4+ yr olds on the typical level of staffing I see in YrR classes, whilst having to ensure they all get to the GLD by June.

 

Yes, teachers do what they need to do - they are professionals who work passionaltely with young children, but try doing everything you have to do on the staffing ratios they have and you might see it a bit differently.

 

Cx

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hea

 

Not read the article yet either, but feel the problems are starting much earlier than when they hit reception class (we don't seem to have schools with nurseries attached in our area yet either) the biggest change (rightly or wrongly) was stopping being able to say children needed to be toilet trained when we didn't take children in preschools/playgroups until just before 3, not once can I remember a child not starting because they weren't, we are supporting children who are only toilet training in the setting and then have a nappy/ pull ups ( don't get me started on those) put on as soon as they leave, we are supporting Sen children within normal ratios, no area support let alone inclusion funding anymore, we are running around after 2 year olds, and running around after parents who just didn't bother turning up for the S&L appointment we'd fought for months to get them, completing endless paperwork, trying to fit staff in on the never ending training courses that seem to have increased since funding stopped, introducing endless changes to the EYFS and they wonder why the 4 yr olds aren't where they used to be ....someone needs to get a grip !

health visitors around here are the same re toilet-training and our parents are not always happy when we ask when they plan to start it - one starts reception in september.... if you look in the development matters it does show that children should be gaining some awareness of bowel urges at 16-26 months. so that tells me that they could begin toilet-training then. our children in pull-ups (don't get me started either!!) are not SEN and parents do not have any issues with DV etc as i know my parents well, and they tell me EVERYTHING!!!!

i am more than happy to change children - i know it's part of their development/learning. but if i wasn't spending time on this and teaching to wipe nose and put the used tissue in the bin rather than back in the box!! and how to use an open cup as they are used to bottles etc etc etc - the floor at snack bar is a sea of milk and we are not allowed to use the mop as it will smell!! - i could attempt to teach all the things i have to - external pressures from maths/literacy leaders and performance management hard targets.

change of mindset for early years is required and surestart centres attached to schools to take 2 year olds and support parents. and more health visitors. and more staff in nursery and reception, preferably who want to be there and have training. and to get 1-1 for children who need it without filling in sooo much paperwork/enclosing sooo many observations etc so that they don't miss out or affect the learning of the rest of the class. children who were in special provision previously. and HCP's are not in place and i had to explain to our health visitor what one was in january!!

it's the time it takes to write up all the interventions, then show evidence of how it has impacted on progress, write IIP's/review them, type up notes from our termly meeting with the health visitor, prepare for pupil progress meetings, make a note of all conversations with parents so we can keep track of who we have suggested having a hearing check, etc then following up to make sure they get one etc before referring for speech and language, and reminding parents to go the day before, so they don't get taken off the list and we have to start it all over again.... then when we do get a few minutes to spare we're on here. work/life balance?????????????

RANT OVER!!!

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Nor me...I never get how it can be right that we have a 8:1 ratio then 6 weeks later they are on a 15:1 if the teacher is lucky and sometimes the TA if one or the other isn't whisked away from the class, you can see why parents think their child will 'magically' metamorphosise into a 'school ready' child on the first day of big school as a country we expect it .........I take my hat off to them

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I have just read the article. In one way though, is the goverment adding to the problem by offering the 2 year funding. The majority of these children that come to our setting are from non-working families. They want the whole 15 hours ASAP including 2 whole days. I can understand that the governement wants to improve outcomes for the most disadvantaged children but they are also taking away more responsibilty from some parents who are now expecting us and schools to do everything for their child. The more we do, the more they expect us to do - toilet training, provide wellies, spare clothes, coats, sun cream, lunches. The list is endless. :blink: :blink:

I take my hat of to teachers - but in return expect the same respect back!

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I have just read the article. In one way though, is the goverment adding to the problem by offering the 2 year funding. The majority of these children that come to our setting are from non-working families. They want the whole 15 hours ASAP including 2 whole days. I can understand that the governement wants to improve outcomes for the most disadvantaged children but they are also taking away more responsibilty from some parents who are now expecting us and schools to do everything for their child. The more we do, the more they expect us to do - toilet training, provide wellies, spare clothes, coats, sun cream, lunches. The list is endless. :blink: :blink:

I take my hat of to teachers - but in return expect the same respect back!

perhaps you need to read my blog!!

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Thank you for sharing this Sunnyday.

 

There was a time when a lot of these children would have started school later or been shunted off, very inappropriately to a special school where there would have been no expectation of them achieving anything of substance.

 

Nowadays those children who are able to access an education in mainstream are included or at least that's the theory; I'm not sure how inclusive the secret teacher's classroom is.

 

This change, alongside a change, for the better, in parenting and Early Years provision of taking a more child-led approach to progress means that the children in reception classrooms do have more diverse needs but I believe that is hugely positive. Growing up around those with more diverse needs makes us naturally more tolerant and inclusive people.

 

While there is pressure to get children into education earlier and earlier, this 'problem' is only going to increase. Either we accept that all children have a right to this early education and make the system fit their needs or we look towards the success of the education systems where formal teaching begins much later. We can't have it both ways.

 

I would love to see a day when we don't judge each child's ability to fit into the educational system but look instead at the system's ability to meet the needs of every child effectively.

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Thank you for sharing this Sunnyday.

 

 

 

Not at all - can't tell you how pleased I am feeling with myself - how long has it taken me to master adding a link? :blink:

 

Watch out everyone - there will be no stopping me now! :D

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