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Bridging The Gap


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Hello Everyone


My name is Deb and I am new here. Was lurking yesterday but waiting for a code from my LEA to get on for free. All of your posts have been really interesting and some very helpful so i just wanted to say thanks for all of your help so far.


My real reason for looking on here is because I am trying to get out of going on bridging the gap training. There is a reason for this - our local trainer always tells me what ever I am doing is wrong whether it is or it isn't so I do my best to avoid her if I can.


background on us is I am in a pre-school setting that is sessional for two and a half hours. I took over the pre-school in September 2004. I was teacher training before hand but gave up as I was 18 and teaching 11-18 year olds and I just couldn't do it (I then did other jobs and had children etc). My whole team is as experienced as me in working in the FS ( i have DPP level 3).


My mum (who is my partner has passed her APEL) and the lady we would the pre-school from (who now works for me) have been working in playgroups for well over 30 years but have no experience of FS til 2 years ago. In June 2005 we had our first integrated inspection and failed miserably. We had, had no supoort from anywhere and was just doing our best with planning but had no idea how to do it. When that happend we had people coming from everywhere to help us over last autumn term (2005) and our next inspection was in January of this year which we passed - yay. I told the inspector I was working on BTTM and would be up to scratch by next time.


We accept children from 2.6 years however, we are chocka block and realistically we do not take children until the term that they are going to turn three, so our BTTM is right at the upper scale and there is usually a matter of weeks before they are going to turn 3.


So what we are doing


At the moment after downloading some of your info yesterday my understanding of bridging the gap should be as follows. Birth to three matters is a framework and not a curriculum and so should not be planned for but just work within the guidelines. But we should be able to show OFSTED how we do this within the setting.


How we are now doing this is I take my FS mid term plan learning intentions and transfer them for the associated week into my weekly plan, I then used that sheet that I found in one of the discussions that links the FS steps to the BTTM framework. and show this underneath each learning intention. Does that sound right? (I can always try to upload one if you need to see it)


We were doing next step sheets for two year olds but after reading some posts yesterday I have now decided we should be using an observation sheet (another of someones that I found) and planning according to what they enjoyed playing with as opposed to trying to guide them onto what we want them to play with.


We have a set of sheets that we use which has numbers and colours and shapes on, the second one has a list of things that they can do in speech bubbles ie pedal a trike, respond / answer their name at register time, put on an apron, go to the toilet. And we tick and date these when we see them doing it. Finally we have a sheet which shows all of the areas of the room and we note down what areas of the room they enjoy using.


What I want to know is is this enough for OFSTED to be happy with or am I going to have to try and get on one of these bridging the gap courses.


Sorry this has taken so long & thank you in advance for your help



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Hi Deb and welcome to the forum, it certainly appears like you have found your way around and found some useful resources.

I totally empathise if the tutor on the course is your EYAT, I had a clash of personalities with my EYAT ( luckily changed now) who also used to do the local training.

I also had a miserable Ofsted experience in 2003, and was inundated with 'advice' and 'support'. It certainly knocks the confidence doesn't it.


Like you I have since had a successful one and can now 'move on' so to speak ( I had to wait 3 yrs until they did my re-inspection).


Your understanding of the BTTM alongside FSC sounds good to me. All I would advise is that when you make any changes, as you have with the info you have found on the forum, give it time to embed into your preschool, give staff time to really get used to any changes and then just see how it goes for a while, at least half a term. This was one critisism of my last inspection, too many changes, well when every time an advisor comes in and says 'how about doing it this way' what do they expect. So I revamped my plans, similar to yours but I only have a long term plan then a draft weekly but mainly daily flexibility to engage what the children are interested in. ( like you have recognised).


If you really don't want to attend the training just let them know that you are going to evaluate your current methods in the new year and then you will prepare to attend the NEW EYFS training, which will cover all age ranges. :D:o


Good luck and let us know how you get on, I look forward to reading more of your interesting posts.



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Hi Deb, I well remember the days of 'helpful people' coming into playgroup :o If I had a pound for everytime I was given new advice I wouldnt need to work xD

In the end you have to decide that this is how you as a staff are happy to work, the children are happy and thriving the parents Aare happy to leave their childen with you and recommend others to you.

You can be open to new ideas and ways of doing things but dont be pushed into doing things for the sake of keeping anyone else happy. You sound as if you are on the right track and like Peggy says it can be better to let things inbed before you look at changing anything. Good luck and keep smiling :D

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