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Observation Folders


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We are reviewing where we store our children's folders containing their observations, as a nursery close to us, after inspection has been told that they can not be accessable by the parents without a member of staff being present.

 

We have conflicting opinions from staff about this as in other settings that they have worked in, observation folders have being freely available to the parents.

 

If folders are kept in the children's trays is this a breach of confidentiality?

 

If parents sign to say that they are happy with their children's observations being in their tray (where possibly other parents can read them if they want) would this make it ok?

 

Which appreciate your views and how accessible your children's observations are.

 

Thanks

Gem

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Our folders are locked in a filing cabinet and parents have to ask the keyworker to see them. They are told this by the keyworker on the day they start, it is in the prospectus and parents are reminded at regular intervals to ask to see them.

 

we give regular verbal updated in addition as most palce do, usually once a week to most parents/carers, more if needed.

 

we felt that having the books where they could be accessed by parents other than those of the child was breach of confidentiality etc etc.

 

it works well for us , a list of keyworkers is on noticeboard so parent know who to speak to should they forget, and told to speak to manager if keyworker not available.

 

Inge

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We keep ours in the same room with the children, we have never had any problems with ofstead. Parents are free to view at any time, noone has ever looked through other childrens folders.

 

However examples of work, observation are on display anyway, so I dont see any differences between work in folders or walls.

 

Obviously any notes of a senstive nature would be kept with childen notes in office.

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We used to do a similar thing with our observation books, Gemini. They were kept in the children's trays in the hallway for parents to look at as and when they wanted to. Apart from anything else, by having them in their trays, it solved a storage issue too!

 

Now, however, our observation books are kept in folders in my office, as we did away with the trays (parents weren't using them). We hold regular progression meetings with parents and go through the obs books with them. This allows us to discuss any concerns we may have about a particular area, and it gives parents an insight into what their child(ren) can do. They get to ask questions about their child's development etc. Parents are also openly invited to look at their child's obs books outside of these meetings, but very few actually do!

 

As Akire also said, any information which is regarded as particularly sensitive is stored in the children's personal files and locked away. For this kind of information, we ask parents to request in writing access to this, by giving 24 hours notice. This is because we can arrange a private area of the centre (we are in a shared building) where parents can view sensitive information. Again, few rarely ask to see these kind of records though!

 

By storing obs books in the room rather than in the hallway, it means we also alleviate the problem of staff counted in ratios leaving the main play room in search of books! Staff have easy access to the books at all times so there is no need for them to leave the room to find them! Not a very popular decision, I have to say, especially for those who like a sneaky 5 minutes off!

Edited by Loopylou
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I was just wondering, what is kept in the observation books? Do you have one for each child? Might seem like a stupid question but we don't have anythhing like that at our school. We have 1 observation folder for all the children!

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We use 1 book per child in our setting. They are called (where we are, not sure about others!) Individual Child's Foundation Stage Profile.

 

We do informal observations on the children and record them on sticky labels, these are then stuck in the children's profile books under the appropriate headings.

 

I have never heard of one obs book for all children, though. Maybe it's just me...!

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We do similar to you Clare. We have 44 children and so it would be a waste having an observation book for each child as we don'tactually build up loads and loads of observations per child so a book each would be a waste. We stick post it note obs in a file with longer observations.

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We do use books for each child, as per the local early years team. We are still working to up the number of observations we do on children, but thanks to my lovely assistant, observations are being done more regularly. Our current aim is one obs per day on each child, but there are enough of us to ensure this is done, as it only takes a couple of minutes. However, if there is nothing of any significance to record, or it has been done before, we don't tend to repeat obs.

 

I thought all children had to have their own books though and that was why I was confused when Ellie mentioned they only use 1 for the whole group? I may be wrong though... :o

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we too have one per child, it shows how each child is progressing areas which need targeting for each child and is a record for parents

at the end of the year. it is used to produce the transfer to school document

 

Ours also contain photos of the child over the time they are with us, as well as the observations , and items of 'work' produced. often what they have forgotton to take home

(or for one child whos parent constantly hides the items his child makes and does not take it! we have often found them behind the piano and on top of high cupbards.)

 

By the end of a year or sometimes two there is quite a substancial file on each child.

 

Inge

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We have the children's profile books in one place, as I mentioned earlier and we also have separate folders for children's work. We have the same kind of parents as you seem to, Inge. We have to literally throw the children's work at some parents, but those bits that get left behind help to fill out our work folders and our evidence for Ofsted!

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Thanks for your replies. Our parents are actually asking where are the observation folders so must mean they are missing them! We are going to get in touch with the powers to be and see just what their stance is on it. There are ever changing goal posts here and with no ofsted therefore social services can determine what they want. Whether it means best practice or not.

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We keep 1 observation folder for FSP purposes and each child has a learning journey book which we add things to during their time in the unit. These are given to the parents to keep at the end of the Foundation Stage and contain examples of work and photographs of significant experiences.

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We keep 1 observation folder for FSP purposes and each child has a learning journey book which we add things to during their time in the unit. These are given to the parents to keep at the end of the Foundation Stage and contain examples of work and photographs of significant experiences.

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Do you save all samples of work for each child? We have used folders this year for Reception children for each area of learning but the KS1 co-ordinator has said we need to "display things in the shop window better" as she feels the children will not get to see this work again - nursery children have a scrapbook which is given to them when they move on to the Reception stage in our FSU - Has anyone got any ideas?? I feel I file everything and send nothing home and maybe I should use proper display folders or formal exercise books -what do other people use and what areas of the profile do they cover? Also struggling to collect PSHE evidence other than photos - any ideas?? Thanks!!

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We actually keep very little as we feel it is more useful to share the children's work with parents on a daily basis.

We take photocopies of any work we need to add to the file and also use display boards to show the work produced by the children each day.

Most of our evidence is in the form of informal observations, some formal observations, lots of photographs and a few pieces of written work.

We do NOT keep a piece of work for each child for each statement

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