Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

When do your staff write up observations?


Recommended Posts

We use Tapestry, have a laptop in the playroom and 4 Ipads. We are spilt into 4 key groups with 2 or 3 key people to each group, and each key person has some key children who they are primarily responsible for observing, etc. The Ipads are primarily for Tapestry.

 

Least amount of key children per key person is 2 (me, due to having children leave), most is 7, average is 5. 1 key person only works 2 days but only has 3 key children. Most staff are in 'all day' (8.15 to 3.45, with children in from 8.30 to 3.30), and have the option to start earlier as I'm in from 8, &/or to stay to 4pm.

 

We have a morning session from 8.30 to 11.30, lunch club attended by at the most 5 children from 11.30 to 12.30 when staff have their lunch breaks and also can work on observations etc, afternoon session from 12.30 to 3.30.

 

We started this school year with a colleague saying we should be doing at least 2 observations per child per week, which resulted in lots of little observations that didn't necessarily tell us much about the child and usually just linked to 1 aspect of an area of learning.

 

We've moved to about 1 a fortnight of more quality observations and reminding staff that a more detailed observation with more links to the areas of learning/characteristics of effective learning actually tell us more about the child.

 

Staff say they do not have time to write up observations and want to be able to use Tapestry at home.

 

My feeling is that observations should be done in the preschool, with the child (how do I know what next step a child might do if they are not there to talk to them about it?), and that using Tapestry at home is a minefield of internet security, both virtually as I don't know what internet security staff have at home, and physically (for example, I've stepped away from the computer several times while typing this up, to feed the cat, make sure younger son is going to bed, etc). I also think that doing observations at home will not let staff relax and spend time with their children or other friends & family at home.

 

However, some are currently taking (paper) notebooks home and working on the observations there to upload to Tapestry when they are in. So they are focussing on work children and not their own children (although not all staff have their own children, the 2 I found out today are doing this do have their own children).

 

The directors have previously said they will not pay staff to do observations at home as they want to keep them on site and for staff to have lives outside of preschool, to which the current response from (some) staff is that they don't want to be paid for it, just to be able to do a good job of observations. (Given that some other staff said they wouldn't volunteer their time to do an out of hours fair that they wanted to do, this clearly doesn't apply to all staff.)

 

So, what do other settings do?

 

Do people have set non-contact time to be able to write up observations? (We have tried this in the past, and I think it works well when we are fully staffed, but we've currently got 1 office staff & 1 playroom staff away on holiday & 1 staff off sick for at least 2 weeks; and will have the other office staff & 1 other playroom staff on holiday after half term, and don't know if the person off sick will be back.)

 

Do your staff use Tapestry at home and if so how do you ensure they are keeping it confidential?

 

Are some of my staff spending too much time sitting chatting to each other about their planned holidays, leaving the others trying to be with the children and do observations...?

 

Are all of my staff utilising their time when the children have gone home to do observations or do some chat about what they're going to do that evening?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our staff have time out written into the rota, we have two part time supernumerary level 2 assistants who don't have any key children who work across the rooms on a cover basis to allow the level 3 staff to go out. Their time out allowance is based on how many key children they have. Any catching up has to be done on inset days as training courses are usually only 6 hours so they have a bit of spare time.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our staff have time out written into the rota, we have two part time supernumerary level 2 assistants who don't have any key children who work across the rooms on a cover basis to allow the level 3 staff to go out. Their time out allowance is based on how many key children they have. Any catching up has to be done on inset days as training courses are usually only 6 hours so they have a bit of spare time.

 

Thank you, we don't have supernumerary staff at the moment but our admin asst is L2 so is cover staff as well...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ours have 2 - 21/2 hours per week during work hours depending on how many key children they have (average 9 - 13). We do scribbled obs in 'real time' then put it all on Tapestry and add photos etc in their allocated time.

Edited by Stargrower
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might be interested in this safeguarding protocol document I have put in the resources library this morning. It is not a definitive answer but I hope it gives you clear pointers about the kinds of things you need to be thinking about when staff are accessing children's data in the setting or at home. It also is worthy of a read in terms of making sure you're safeguarding policies as a whole are robust and fit for purpose. You can read it here.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might be interested in this safeguarding protocol document I have put in the resources library this morning. It is not a definitive answer but I hope it gives you clear pointers about the kinds of things you need to be thinking about when staff are accessing children's data in the setting or at home. It also is worthy of a read in terms of making sure you're safeguarding policies as a whole are robust and fit for purpose. You can read it here.

 

Thank you Rebecca, very useful.

 

Our deputy & I spoke to the chair of directors yesterday and the plan that will be put the the rest of the directors is that going forward from Sept we have enough staff to be able to release staff for non-contact observation time in the preschool.

 

We've said that if we have playroom staff off on leave or sick for 1 or more weeks, we want to re-deploy 1 day a week of the L2 admin's 3 days a week into the playroom to give the playroom staff their Tapestry time

 

We're also aiming to have all playroom staff work an extra day or session throughout Sept to get to know and make the observations that record their knowledge of the new children (and the changes to the old children over at least 6 weeks off for summer hols).

 

For the rest of this term, it will be harder to manage with the existing staffing levels, though it looks as though the playroom staff member who has been off sick will be back after half term, so that will be good for her and the rest of us.

 

I further said that though it was lovely that the directors had said that we could get up to 1 week unpaid holiday over the school year, it needs to be on a one person at a time, whether playroom or office staff, and that the same person cannot have the same time every year, which is partly why we are currently so stressed! (Not personally stressed by the same person having the same week every year ;) , that's just there for fairness.)

 

But I've spent the week phoning round parents to ask why Olaf and Kristoff aren't at preschool today and updating their attendance sheets to record this, which only takes about 30 minutes a session, but that's on top of walk-in enquiries, taking fees, trying to see if we can swap a day for Anna because mum didn't want to bring her today when her elder sister Elsa had a non-pupil day at her school, arranging to come in at half term for the septic tank people to empty & examine the tank, ordering some card, translating accident forms into home languages... Which would have been done by our admin asst if she'd been in. And wouldn't have been so stressful if we'd not also had 2 playroom staff unavailable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wish I had an admin staff. Everything you have just listed is all down to me, in between being in ratio! Except I think you are being extremely generous swapping little Anna's days just because she didn't want to come in that day. I certainly wouldn't have. Don't think I could translate accident forms either.

 

However like OP has said I trust my staff ( they have all been with me over 10 years at least) so allow them to access Tapestry at home. I can't see the difference between that and paper LJ's. We have good robust safeguarding and use of tech policies etc..

 

we have one staff member take the first 30 minutes of each session to update their key children's journals. It's done on a rota basis.

 

Do teachers not take home children's work to mark anymore? They certainly where up to a few years ago and really what is the difference?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wish I had an admin staff. Everything you have just listed is all down to me, in between being in ratio! Except I think you are being extremely generous swapping little Anna's days just because she didn't want to come in that day. I certainly wouldn't have. Don't think I could translate accident forms either.

 

However like OP has said I trust my staff ( they have all been with me over 10 years at least) so allow them to access Tapestry at home. I can't see the difference between that and paper LJ's. We have good robust safeguarding and use of tech policies etc..

 

we have one staff member take the first 30 minutes of each session to update their key children's journals. It's done on a rota basis.

 

Do teachers not take home children's work to mark anymore? They certainly where up to a few years ago and really what is the difference?

 

Oh, I didn't swap little Anna's day ;) I pointed out to mum that we were open all day & that Anna was booked for all day & that mum was therefore very welcome to bring Anna in for her booked sessions & have a day with Elsa instead... On Thursday, mum said she didn't think she'd bring Anna in, but lo & behold, in came Anna on Friday! But it's the time it took for someone else to tell me that was what Iduna was after, for me to look up her phone number and have the conversation and make the note on Anna's file about it.

 

I use google translate to translate accident forms, 1 sentence at a time & back into English to make sure it's saying what I want it to say... Time consuming! But with more than 90% of our families having English as their second or other language, and often parents not being able to read English, it's better for the families to do that to make sure there's someone at home who'll be able to understand what happened.

 

We didn't take paper LJs home either - they only go off site for meetings and are signed in & out.

 

I guess the difference between teachers taking work home (which they still do, I see the teachers at the school on our site lugging stuff back & forth) and accessing Tapestry at home, is that homework rarely has personal details about the child & family such as dates of birth and home addresses (and yes, both of my sons have had occasional homework where their address or dob was needed), and is a physical item.

 

Also on teachers, the School teachers’ pay and conditions document 2015 and guidance on school teachers’ pay and conditions states:

 

 

53.5. A teacher employed full-time must be available to perform such duties at such times and such places as may be specified by the headteacher (or, where the teacher is not assigned to any one school, by the employer or the headteacher of any school in which the teacher may be required to work) for 1265 hours, those hours to be allocated reasonably throughout those days in the school year on which the teacher is required to be available for work.

53.6. Paragraph 53.5 applies to a teacher employed part-time, except that the number of hours the teacher must be available for work must be that proportion of 1265 hours which corresponds to the proportion of total remuneration the teacher is entitled to be paid pursuant to paragraphs 42 and 43.

53.7. In addition to the hours a teacher is required to be available for work under paragraph 53.5 or 53.6, a teacher must work such reasonable additional hours as may be necessary to enable the effective discharge of the teacher’s professional duties, including in particular planning and preparing courses and lessons; and assessing, monitoring, recording and reporting on the learning needs, progress and achievements of assigned pupils.

 

Our contracts may well state "any other duties..." but mine, certainly, is not that specific about what I must do outside of 'working hours'.

 

1 of my staff lives in shared uni accommodation with assigned flatmates doing various non-childcare related courses (so not DBS checked)- it would be pretty unfair of us to say 'Prue and Piper, you can have the details to log into Tapestry at home because you have your own house, but Phoebe, we don't know your flatmates that you had no choice about, so we're not going to let you have access to Tapestry in case any of them are cyber creepers that will use the shared internet at the flat to see what you're doing and grab the children's details.'

 

But it would equally be wrong of us to give out the Tapestry details to all the staff without looking into who else at their homes could potentially see stuff. So it's got to be at work.

 

Just as a matter of interest, for those of you giving staff access to Learning Journeys at home, whether paper or virtual, how do you assess new staff's suitability for this?

 

lynned55, you said all of your staff have been with you for at least 10 years, so I can totally see how you know you can trust them and probably know their families as well. (I know my staff who have been with us of 10 years are like that. We're of course all pleased when someone's child passes their driving test or gets a new job, but for the staff who've been with us for a long time, I'm as pleased as I was when my nephew got a job, I recognise their voices on the phone and they know mine, etc.)

 

Is it when they start as you have DBS checks & references for them already, is it when they've passed their probationary period or something else?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)