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Writing Please Help!


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Hi everyone, this is my first time on here and I really need some help. We had OFSTED a couple of weeks a go and the school needs to concentrate on reading and writing through KS1. (Big time!!) Unfortunately being in foundation, and the first to have these children some staff are laying the blame. Some don't agree with the foundation stage curriculm, and have made it very aware they think it is this that has contributed to a decline in results. I would love to know how other people are taeching writing, as in my head I want it to be purposeful, and fun. It seems that management in our school and the threat of OFSTED coming back next year, they want to see evidence of every child writing every day. I believe this could be achived on some levels, but I think they have forgotten, we are delivering a whole curriculm. It would be really useful to see where your children are in writing, as the other day a member of staff mentioned that they will have their work cut out yet again when reception comes upto them. this was very upsetting to me, as this particular child is easily working at point 8, and once his writing is encouraged to become smaller, and letters formed correctly, he could easily be a nine! He is writing stories independently, and putting them into books. Perhaps my expectations are too low. I am a recently qualified teacher, willing to learn. Please help, I don't want to do these children a dis-service. Sorry about my writting by the way, I just really need to get this off my chest quickly!!!!


Thanks woodyfreak x :o

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Hi Woodyfreak and welcome!


Please dont despair, sounds like you know what you are about and are going through a rough patch after Ofsted. Do remember that your school would fail if it were not delivering the foundation stage curriulum adequately, although perhaps it other members of the staff that need to remember that one!


Are you the only reception teacher?


The transition to year 1 can be very difficult but that does not mean it is your problem although perhpas you could suggest some more child friendly ways to encourage it, as I would imagine from the little that you say that the year 1 staff still work very formally from the onset?


I am afraid that over the years I have come to accept that however well prepared I think the children are the next teachers can always find fault! The jump backwards can be difficult to remember and especially if expectations of a formal curriculum are also encountered.


If you search you will see that writing has been a popular topic recently and that your concerns are not umcommon.


You may get some ideas from the Early Writing document (available free!)and there are some excellent ideas in the Belair Early years "Writing" book.


Good luck.

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Good advice from Susan. Remember that it is considered that the average child will have acheived 6 points on the FS profile. This needs looking at with your KS1 staff and Literacy co-ordinator. Perhaps your school needs an INSET day on writing, and you could suggest that your FS Advisory Teacher and Primary Strategy Literacy Consultant come and run the day. Writing seems to be a problem almost everywhere doesn't it? It is very easy for Staff to blame the person beneath them. A cop out really! If they have the right curriculum balance and preparation in the FS then they should make good progress once they start NC in Y1 and in Y1 is where it starts.

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I definitely agree that you should have someone 'high-up' come and speak to the staff. In some schools this seems the only way to convince teachers! In my last school one of the teachers observed me in 'Science' and commented that it was too noisy because children were all over the room, and that my group couldn't concentrate (v. practical activity) and ALL the children should be sitting in their seats!!!


Anyway, I'm Literacy co-ord in my new school, and am trying to push for a more FS style curriculum in KS1. Most staff are really receptive to the idea, and the head is totally on board so I guess I'm really lucky.


I do worry about the progress of the children still, but then because of the way we teach writing in Reception (based around emergent styles, and in a practical / real-life context when possible) we don't have any children who say 'I can't write'. They're all happy to have a go! By putting too much pressure on children to write 'properly' before they are ready we can put them off it, which is very hard to change round.


I definitely don't think you should be pushing for formal writing everyday. How would there be time for the rest of the curriculum? However, you can make sure you provide lots of opportunities for writing throughout the day, which might go some way to pleasing your KS1 teachers! e.g. interesting. varied activities and resources in the Writing Area; notepads etc in your role-play area, clip-boards in the outdoor area, post-its / whiteboards etc dotted around.


Anyway, good luck! Let us know how you get on. :o

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Wow everyone,


Thankyou so much! My other half is sitting looking at me really stange because I have a beaming smile on my face!! It is great to know I am not alone, and good to know I am doing the right thing!


I just don't know what to say, thanks XXX


There is annother teacher in reception, she is actually the KS1 coordinator, but is finding the pressure after ofsted hard. their is a lot of negativity towards her unfortunately, and it is a shame because I know she is an excellent foundation teacher, and I really have learnt a lot from her.


We were thinking of getting the foundation stage advisor to come in and speak to the whole school, as some don't undertand what or why we do things in reception. I hope this would give us a real boost. I also want to go and see other schools, and as far as the transisition is concerned I have mentioned how other schools are progressing in this. But again understanding and the pressure to push children to year two standards is hindering progress.


Thank you so much for all your advice,


Woodyfreak :D

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who is worried about writing progress in Reception. This is my first year teaching reception and after marvelling at how, over the course of only 2 terms, children who knew no letter sounds now know them all and can put them together to make simple words, I'm suddenly feeling the pressure of producing independent writers ready for year 1. I'm sure I couldn't learn so much so quickly, yet we expect 4 and 5 year olds to practically perform miracles! (It's amazing how you can go from elation to despair so quickly.) I am determined not to put any of them off writing by forcing the issue and will stand my ground if needs be when the time comes. As their class teacher I am extremely proud of what they have achieved, infact out of the whole of the school I really think they are working the hardest and learning the most and I'm pleased that they are having fun doing it.


Just had to get that off my chest - hope I feel just as confident when the Year 1 teacher has them in September!

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earliedawes, I know exactly how you feel when you say you feel proud of your own children!! I feel elated at times, even with those who are not producing writing that is of 'standard', simply because in reception, I feel we have more opportunities to value the whole child before the true pressures of the NC start.


I think every year will bring issues from the year above, we just have to stand by the fact that we are giving children the best experiences they deserve, as they never get those minutes back!!


Wow, I just had to get that off my chest too!

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