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Integrated Foundation Stage Unit With Pre-school


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I am the chair of a pre-school, which runs from a terrapin on the site of a primary school. The primary school has no F1 provision, and about 65 children in reception, which is run very much like a FSU, with 3 base areas, and zones for construction, role play etc, utilised by all of the children. The pre-school runs 5 days a week both am and pm, and can have 24 children per session. It has an extremely healthy waiting list. The children from the pre-school eneter the school as a single intake at teh start of F2. So practically the pre-school has no F2 children.

The LEA approached the school and pre-school asking us to set up a pilot integrated FSU with the pre-school and school partnering to do this. There are clearly many issues to iron out, but I was wondering if anyone has any experience of this, and so could offer some advice.

We have asked for some more space to accomodate more of the F1 chidren, who currently scattered over other provisions and have a covered walkway between the building, but funding is proving an issue, so any advice in this area would also be appreciated.

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Susan, I have tried looking through the posts, but haven't seen anything, but perhaps I searched on the wrong words.

Thanks for the welcomes everyone. General advice on FSUs would help, and I am sure that we will get all of the usual issues plus a few more. I have read Ann's articals of course, and loads of posts. I do wonder how we will realistically manage with such a large unit.

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Marion,

Thanks for the links, I have now had time to read the ones, that I had not seen before. Many issues that I have heard have been addressed here, but of course with all of the people working for the same organisation it does make things somewhat easier. The LEA advisor did suggest family groups, but what I was wondering is if these family groups, when they are in operation are completely integrated, ie the just 3 year olds are in with the most able nearly 6 year olds, and if these groups are different to the ones used at small group time.

 

I have so many questions, but don't want to distract too much from main question, of does anyone have experience of an integrated pre-school / school FSU?

The LEA has advised us to look at a unit in Oxfordshire, which I will do, but this does not involve a pre-school, and the numbers of children are so much smaller than we have.

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Our unit is a nursery/reception but we do have children from their 3rd birthday to as you say rising 6 and do not find this a problem. We doseparate for short periods of the day for direct teaching and our numbers are much smaller as we are a single form entry. The advice we were given when we first considered becoming a unit was not to have more that 60 children and to consider parallel units if numbers exceeded this which might somewhat defeat the purpose in your case.

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Hello, as you qiite rightly say there may be issues or concerns to identify and iron out, but if the LEA (which one?) is willing to support this merger, both with staff,resources and finances???! then maybe it is worth talking seriously about it. When you talk about pre-school do you mean children who will be four during that year?

In my school we have merged our nursery and reception children into a unit, the benefits greatly outweigh the problems, if you can call them that. The 'problems' are really just things that crop up such as differentiation, group sizes for activities, things that you can work around really. Seriously, consider it!

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Traceys, I am not just seriously considering it, we are trying to do it. I'm not looking for an excuse not to do it, I am looking for advice to ensure that we get it done really well. The LEA are supporting us, after all it was their idea in the first place, but they only have a small amount to spend at the moment. The pre-school is registered to take children from 2-5, but actually currently operates a rising 3 to 4 year olds, with the school taking them as a single intake in the Sept of the year the child will turn 5.

 

Marion, yes I heard the no more than 60 children, but we really don't want parallel units. Reception have 3 great teachers, and 3/4 TAs, the pre-school has not teachers, but work on a ratio of 1-5 or 1-6, and the majority of the staff hold Diplomas in Pre-School Practice (NVQ level 3). Both places were recently Ofsted inspected and both had good throughout. We therefore have high hopes that we can combine to make a really excellant unit.

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We from a personal point of view I think its the best thing we have done for both staff and children. not sure which area you are in but its well worth visiting other units to see how they work. As youve probably gathered there are a number of models and its good to see which will suit your needs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well had a meeting with the school head today, and he expressed the concern that as both the school and pre-school are full to capacity how will we manage the free flow, there just isn't any physical space to have extra children in either the pre-school or in the school. The pre-school building is also across the playground from the school. We have asked for another building between the two, to allow us to cater for more children, and give us the space we need, but the LEA say that we can do that without. So please can someone help with a suggestion on how we "free flow", but yet ensure that if say 3 children flow over from school to pre-school that 3 children flow out. I can undestand that in good weather this probably won't be a problem as the children are keener to go outside when teh weather is not tipping it down, but on really wet horrible days how does it work?

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, I work for a Local Authority and we're supporting the development of partnership FSU's between maintained schools and on-site private/voluntary pre-schools. This is already happening in Oxfordshire, where there are several Partnership Foundation Stage Units in place supported by legal agreements covering management, funding etc. Early Years at Oxfordshire would be able to give you more info about existing units, and we've got a pilot project in place - I think this is only the start, it really seems to be the future for FS and many other authorities are looking at this way of working.

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Hi I work in a FS unit age range 3-5 are staff child ratio is a maximum of 14 it sounds to me like your ratios would be less, we are in our 2nd year and have tried different set ups with our current system working well. We have family groups 3-5 and and 3 rooms plus our outside area, 2 of our rooms and our outside area are free flow the 3rd room is our family group room and for 1 day a week a group is based in this room for the day. Could u poss do this basing 2 groups in your sep building 1 day a week per 2 groups over the week. whilst all other children have free flow. (free flow per group 4 days, restricted access 1 day) On our family day we share with the children photo's we have taken during the week which we put in their profile book and add their commentary they love sharing what they have done and for those who are reading we change books and check progress in jolly phonics) Hope this is understandable and of some use :o

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Thanks for that ChrisD. It is certainly food for thought, as you say it may be a case of trying out a few things until we find the one that works best for us.

 

Kate11 thanks for your pointers

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Guest Wolfie

Please let us know how you are getting on with your plans - it sounds a really exciting development for you, y0ur head must be spinning with all the issues and ideas to consider! Whereabouts in the country are you?

Edited by Wolfie
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