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Hi,

I need an honest answer from all reception teachers! A member of staff is really upset as she (and all staff) are spending hours and hours on these record of achievement books to cover the foundation stage and after a visit from a relative (who is a teacher), she is now thinking seriously about her job in pre-school, she was told that they don't even have time to read them and are set aside and use their own assessments. This is fine, but why make us work under this enormous pressure, we spend so much time and energy on them as we are a very large group. Other aspects of pre-school are sadly taking a back seat (FUN) as we are over worked.

All books have to be taken home to complete as we haven't got time in the session, so every weekend and most evenings are taken up with this - not great for family life! If we are ill, family problems etc. etc. it just makes things worse.

 

So please could ALL of you just write a few reassuring words or just the plain truth, so I can at least arm myself with something!

Thank you :o

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I also work in a preschool and agree with you - these take so long to complete and as you say you can't do them during the session and often staff at our setting have to take them home to complete usually unpaid for this work . I would be interested in any answrers to this.

Sue

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Sue,

From reading your other posts, you seem to have the same set up as me, working from a church hall and all the problems that go with it. To be honest, we are all exhausted! I feel that we do an absolutely brilliant job with all the restrictions, setting up and packing away each day, no office space, lack of a safe storage area etc. etc. etc. I often think that the powers that be can't seem to grasp the idea that we are limited to what we can provide. I could give a list (a very long one) of all the things we would love to do if we had a safe, secure outside area, self selection drawers, wall space, low level toilets etc..............................

Who else would work under such conditions for between £5.00 - £7.00 per hour! We all do it for the children and their families, but my goodness, do we pay for it! Our families suffer, no time for friends, can't be ill, my house work suffers! But tomorrow when I get there at 7.45a.m. to start setting up for the children and then wait for their arrival, I know they'll bring some cheer, then when they leave at 3.00, I look forward to packing it all away, washing the floor and cleaning the loos - what bliss!!! Oh! and not forgetting the 2 books I'm going to tackle in the evening. Can't wait!

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I know exactly how you feel kymberley. I now work with an agency but have been in the position of leader with all the paperwork that goes with it, especially after I found out the same thing regarding the assessments. Now I arrive, play and leave and I am so much happier and better at my job. A thing that does annoy me is the great ofsted reports some settings get just for being a purpose built nursery compared to a church hall. I seriously think money changed hands when the present nursery I'm in was inspected. Keep plodding on, you obviously want to do the best you can. I saw a link on the TES site a while back for a record book for use in the nursery, apparently Ofsted had told one teacher that she was spending too much time on photo and other evidence for each child and this was suggested. Hope this link works it looked strange. here

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Hi Rea, we use these Foundation Stage Individual record books in my setting and the feeder school really like them. We find if you colour code the stepping stones using highlighter pens they are easier to follow (and share with parents). They do take time to fill in though! I do find they help the staff members to get more familiar with the stepping stones as well. I would recommend them.

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Hi Kimberley,

It does appear that we work in the same type of setting - don't start as early as you though - is that your offical starting time.

 

I have compiled a timesheet of my actual hours over the last two weeks as I srtruggle to get all the paperwork up to date to give to my committee next week - hoping I'll scare them into recrruitng my deputy ASAP.

 

It is as you say the children who make it worthwhile - I love my job but this endless paperwork drives me insane, I am curently trying to update our polices, operational plan etc etc.

 

 

The children think I live at playgroup! Come to think of it so does my husband and own children!!

 

I love it really but wish sometimes all my hard work could be acknowledge by my commitee.

 

Sue :

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I work in a DN and recently the Reception Teacher at one of our schools and I have been meeting with a view to developing strong links to help both School and Nursery support the children at a potentially difficult time in their lives. She assures me that she reads everything we send with the children and finds our records very helpful in taking the children forwards. She also says she is really pleased that we are usually spot on with our assessments of the children - although that's me being a big head, I suppose :o. The pre-school staff in our DN were greatly heartened by this information!

 

So, keep on with the good work, would be my advice

 

Sue

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Thank you for your replies, I am looking more on the positive side and will pass on the comments to my member of staff, she is really having a bad time at home at the moment with the amount of time she is spending on the books. we try to do the best job possible and to provide as much info as we can, but this takes time as you know. I think things are changing with the links to schools, we are lucky that all the schools in the city are using the same books, but when we first started them we were ALL under the impression that they would be carried on through the reception year, therefore our work in them was important. The fact that this member of staff's relative is a teacher in this area and has told her they don't really look at them, does cause resentment. The time could be spent on family (as it should).

I look forward to more comments and hopefully tomorrow I can go in with a new sense of enthusiasm, instead of feeling down trodden.

Thank you again for your replies, I do appreciate it.

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Hi Kimberley,

It does appear that we work in the same type of setting - don't start as early as you though - is that your offical starting time.

 

I have compiled a timesheet of my actual hours over the last two weeks as I srtruggle to get all the paperwork up to date to give to my committee next week - hoping I'll scare them into recrruitng my deputy ASAP.

 

It is as you say the children who make it worthwhile -  I love my job but this endless paperwork drives me insane, I am curently trying to update our polices, operational plan etc etc.

 

 

The children think I live at playgroup! Come to think of it so does my husband and own children!!

 

I love it really but wish sometimes all my hard work could be acknowledge by my commitee.

 

Sue :

46810[/snapback]

 

 

I always thought it was the committee's role to review/update policies :oxD:(

 

Peggy

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I own a preschool based in a scout hall, everything in cupboards etc.

 

We have 52 children on register aged 2- 4.11yrs. The staff used to take achievement files home but

1/ I felt uncomfortable about them using their own time and

2/ I felt uncomfortable about confidentiality and security ( what if they got lost the term before school-possible 3 yrs of work/records lost :o )

 

I personally don't like any tick lists against the stepping stones because children don't cover them in an hiearchical way. Some stepping stones can be split into different skills/knowledge, and a single stepping stone can be achieved in a variety of contexts.

 

However, our achievement books are made up using the 6 areas of learning, with 2 aspects and stepping stones described on each A4 side, with a space for assessment and photos.

30 aspects = 16 page document. I also include 6 transparent pockets, one for each area of learning- these double up as file indexes.

 

I have made a book which has blank forms, headed date, name, comment, area, ie: staff may write KUW. Every time a child does something during the session which the staff know needs recording, they write it in this book.( these pages are spiral bound- individual records are easily cut and torn to place in file-no need to re-write- plus other staff can read them before they are filed)

 

Evaluations are also made of adult led activities, with comment on particular learning that a child has shown. The staff also plan in their diary ( day and time) specific focused observations they need to do for individual children. All these records/obs are all kept together.

 

I have 3 staff who do these records and every week these staff have one hour non-contact time each ( this is planned after lunch break so that the staff member which I use to cover lunch breaks stays an extra hour to cover non-contact time), this costs me 3 hrs extra salary per week.

 

The staff 'work' a 4 week cycle with their 'paperwork'

Week 1- collate evidence and file

Week 2 - collate evidence and file

Week 3 make assessments and write in achievement file- a conclusive comment not an observational comment.

week 4 - non contact time is used to do work on their officer roles, ie; SENCO Officer, Health & Safety Officer, Child Protection Officer- this would be looking at systems in place, reviewing policy, informing staff of new legislation, preparing reports for staff meetings, etc.

 

Then back to week 1

so.....

For 2 consecutive weeks, during non-contact hour the staff will collate and read through the obs/comments/evaluations and file them in the relevant transparent pockets, on the third week they write an OVERALL ASSESSMENT derived from the collated obs/comments/ evaluations into the relevant aspect of the achievement file, they do not re-write any obs etc.

 

Each week, the staff can discuss at planning meetings their childrens interests, needs, skills etc and use this knowledge to inform planning. After the third week they are able to see which areas need more evidence, which have too much evidence and what to focus on for the next few weeks of observations. So for 52 children it takes just 3 hours per week, worked between 3 staff, to keep files up to date. :D

 

This sounds complicated when written down but it works very well. Observations are more focused, all staff know all childrens needs/interests ( they all observe all children, not just key children- so there is not a biased / subjective assessment)

No work has to be done at home. Basically the system is manageable. At the end of each half term we plan a staff meeting where all the staff look at all the achievement files together, sharing successes, concerns, etc. ( this also ensures that all staff keep their files up to date as they know everyone will see how much work they have done on them xD )

 

Last part of summer term is used to write up records of transfer (R.O.T.). Feedback in my local area from schools is very positive- however, I must admit I don't send mine to school until 1st week in September, most of the children only start part time, plus the first few weeks are for settling in- my rationale behind this is that if the teachers read them at the end of July, they are most probably forgotten by September, so are more useful to read at the beginning of term. I have wondered whether records of transfers are used to decide which class each child will go into, maybe one of you reception teachers could let me know- when is it best to receive R.O.T. end of July or beginning of September?

 

Hope this helps.

 

Peggy

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So did I Peggy , I have waited for them to be updated in vain and siome are as old as 2002!!! I fear if I don't set the wheels in motion no one else will.

We have a new committee who are asking me what the rate of pay is for new staff? maybe I should enlighten them to how much I thinK I should be paid for out of hours work?

 

Sue

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Hi Peggy

Thanks for your great post, it does 'sound' easy and is certainly going to be discussed at the next staff meeting!

I am sure there are questions I need to ask you, but Have to go out in a while, so I will ask later.

Thanks again!

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hi i always make a piont of reading them all as it gives me an insight as to where the children are. this informs my planning before i have the time to observe them on the first few days. i have the same problem as a reception teacher. i feel year 1 tecahers never read the assessemnts i do and them wonder why certain children are like they are

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Clare,

So it's not just us then!! That's the purpose of passing on records, so we can help the children and staff.

Thanks for reading them anyway, it does make me feel better.

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Hi i'm the same as all of you. In a church hall horrendous cupboard etc. etc. We had the same response from our reception teachers that they only used our assessments, if they really neede to, but everybody used different ones. so our Advisory teachers came up with an All about me that in the last 5 years has been re-done each year, and still the feed back was that they would sometimes get an All about me for the same child from 2 different settings and it was as though it was 2 different children. So now the Advisory teachers are looking at us using a fixed level because everyone looks at a child and see's different things. (bit like half full, half empty syndrome). Also that all the pre-school staff will get training on using the same sort of comments, like saying a very lively child, could possibily mean runs riot xD:o

also in the summer term the All about me's go to the school and will be handed back to the parents on the first Parent/Teacher consultation when the child is in reception. The teachers will then be able to go over the assessment with the parent to compare with their first assessment.

hopefully this way we won't all feel that we are doing them to just use up a bit more paper in our paper orientated world. We wait with baited breath to see if the new system workd.

Does any body else use this type of system.

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P.S. forgot to say that with nearly 70 children and 10 of us we still have alot of writing to do each term. and trying to do the assessments during a session takes one member of staff out of the equation always. I don't like to ask my staff to do them at home as I feel with everything else that they do its one more added pressure that they don't get paid for.

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As a reception teacher I would say records before the holidays would be a great help (after all what else do I have to read on holiday :o ) The problem from my side is that not all records tell me what I need to know/ are not user friendly/ take up most of my home. Please keep them clear and shortish :D Yes I do read all records that are passed on to me but often by the time they reach me I have had time to make my own assessments.

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Hello All!

Steph, I think the only way forward is by having the same books from each setting and training is a must. In our area they hold regular sessions to update and to try to make us all understand how best to do the books. At the beginning, it was endless writing, obs after obs and we all hated it because we just felt the interaction with the children wasn't there and after all this is what we want to do. Our lives were totally focussed on these books - 'have we crossed that off, can he do that, did I miss something! where do I put it - which stepping stone etc.

I did pay my staff an extra amount each week to complete them at home (only the initials were on them for confidentiality), but still the payment is no where near what is deserved.

We have 68 children and 7 key workers, so this is alot of work between us.

I am definately going to look at how Peggy organises 'non contact time' although, just how we manage to do that, I'm not sure. We have 26 per session and 5 adults, but with ratios for outside play, focus activities and general day to day hiccups, we never seem to have time - and we want to be with the children.

Just another thought too, we have to do books for all children (in foundation stage) who come for 2 sessions or more, this surely must cause hassle for the teachers, getting 2 books on one child is more work and we could be giving totally different accounts of this child. All settings are different and we may see things in our group, that may never be seen in their other and vise versa.

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That last one is a good point, Kymberley [not saying the others aren't!!] I'd never considered the teachers receiving 2 books on one child. If they had the time they'd be able to look at consistencies and areas of conflicting information, but having seen how hard they work I can understand that may be a tall order.

 

In our area I'm not aware that we've been asked to follow any particular format. We feed up to 9 schools each year. Last year one asked us to fill in some of their own booklets. I found that unacceptable because it was imposing another level of work on my staff. We compromised & took them photocopies of the children's Records of Achievement, having first obtained written parental permission. I'm hoping we'll get some feedback on their usefulness when the next round of visits starts.

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Just remembered the last way we did it..Instead of filling out assessment sheets we wrote a short synopsis on each child based on our observations, the kind of thing you get at the end of a school report, 'X is a lively child, he has an extended vocabulary and can voice his opinion. He is working towards understanding right from wrong'. We included a short piece to cover all 6 areas. Any assessment sheets were passed to parents with the option of them giving it to the reception class. It was easier for the R teachers to get an overview of each child. :D

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Hi Rea,

That's how we used to do it, a brief summary in the six areas of learning, highlighting their achievements, or if there were any concerns. It was parent friendly, teacher friendly and a whole lot easier for our staff. The books we work to now have 142 'tick' boxes to consider (over the six areas of learning), this is just for the yellow and blue stepping stones, if some children are further than that (which alot are), this is an awful amount of work for both pre-school staff and teachers to get through. You also have to have evidence to back your judgements up, so this means more observations or a positive and accurate judgement which some of my staff feel cautious about.

This is where the difficulty comes in when children attend two settings. We have just received a book from another setting and the key worker of that child in our group felt uneasy as she had things crossed off in her book, but the other pre-school didn't and vise versa, which surely for a reception teacher would be no use at all!

I really feel at a loss at the moment, everyone is stressed (including me!), there just isn't enough hours in the day to complete everything!

I keep popping on here for answers, so please help!!!!

Peggy, I sent you a p.m. (I think!) YOU HOPEFULLY WILL PUT MY MIND AT REST!!!!!!

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So, and forgive my ignorance, what are the books for? They appear to take more time than anybodys got to write up, the people they are intended for dont necessarily read them and if you are ticking 142 boxes how are you fitting in observations and planning based on them? Are we really recording for the sake of the children in order to aid their development? Who benefits from these books? And now I ask, I seem to remember a similar topic once before. :o:D

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our advisory teachers came up with the idea of post it notes or observation sheets in each area like book corner role play etc. then if we saw a child do something good we could write it down then at the end of the week check through them and pass on the observation to the right keyworker. Well you can imagine the post it note scenario. we had them floating all over the place :o then the observation sheet the children wrote all over them and the staff forgot!!!! xD so we are still trying to come up with a scheme that fits in with our setting. :D

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There are some shrewd folk around. I am sure there ought to be something that is called the Emporer's new clothes syndrome!!!

I rely heavily on an 'I can do' achievement wall, as it serves many purposes all at once.

*share achievement with child-and parent

* can see overview of all children easily

* can inform where focused observations are needed (gaps)

*can inform future planning for individuals and for curriculum

planning.

I photograph where I can and use pieces of children's work, this and reading, letter check , sheets are as much as I can manage.I don't have anything pretty to look at-everythings in a folder

I don't know how you people out there manage it! I do wonder whether the process is more important then the end product and a brief synopsis more effective . I always try to read records when passed on but also keep an open mind as children DO react differently to different settings and people.

So Steph don't know if this could help as its an extension to what your advisory teacher suggested.

Rea I think you hit the nail on the head; Assessment is a tool and should not be taking important time away from making the environment right for the children.

Think I'd better stop or I'll just waffle on

Regards Lynda

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As a Reception teacher I always read any records passed on to me and mostly they help me to build up a picture of the child.

 

I have only had one record which wasn't a true picture. I have one child at the moment with quite challenging behaviour which I know is at home as well as school. There was no indication whatsoever of this in his nursery record. I asked mum about this and she replied that they let him do whatever he liked all day (for a quiet life, no doubt!)

 

However, that was the exception.

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As a reception teacher I would say records before the holidays would be a great help (after all what else do I have to read on holiday :o ) The problem from my side is that not all records tell me what I need to know/ are not user friendly/ take up most of my home. Please keep them clear and shortish :D Yes I do read all records that are passed on to me but often by the time they reach me I have had time to make my own assessments.

46904[/snapback]

 

 

Thanks for your response re: when best to get records, I shall consider sending mine off earlier.

What would be the most useful information for you, about the children?

How could we make them more user friendly?

 

Peggy

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I HATE TICK BOXES :o

 

Our record of Transfer docs were produced by collaboration between teachers, early years staff and EYATs.

2 sides of A4

 

 

Personal info - childs name, address, DOB, medication, and address of school they are going to. ( I add a photo of the child on the ones I send out)

No of terms attended at preschool, No of days, attendence-good, average, poor

Then boxes to comment on the following:

 

Social- ie: one of 4 siblings, middle child, recently moved / had a new baby sibling, LAC, etc.

 

special needs - and whether they are action, action plus etc, plus other agencies involved.

 

Then comment boxes on the six areas of learning we give a comment on what they know, can do, trying to show their learning style and disposition to learning. ie: KUW- 1 or 2 sentences on each aspect - A1-Tom independently explores his environment. He notices fine details in man made and natural objects and when doing cooking for example, he is confident to voice his own thoughts on what might happen if... Tom was thoroughly engrossed in our recent topic on growing, showing particular interest in the life cycle of animals.

Each area we indicate the level yellow, blue, or green level.

under each comment box is a box to write what we feel are their next steps ie: KUW- The preschool doesn't have a computor- he has used programmable toys and has use of computor at home. More opportunities to develop computor knowledge and skills.

 

At the end is a box for keyworker comment, parent comment, supervisor comment. These tend to be quite general and subjective, overall comments such as Tom has many friends, he loves outdoor and active learning but will also rest quietly with a book. He will be missed and we feel will enjoy school life

 

I would like to add a child comment box.

 

I will attach a blank one when I have time to transfer it from my other computor.

 

Peggy

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