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Help With Fsu Organisation


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Hi. I have been coordinator in our FSU since September and we are regularly making changes and amendments to routines etc.

We have 26 place part time nursery and 30 reception children in one big room with no divisions whatsoever.

We have 3 groups (myself and other teacher and nursery nurse) and we split into these for carpet sessions for Literacy, number, circle time etc. This works really well and the children gain a lot from the smaller groupings.

The problem I have is being able to fit in quality guided reading and writing sessions for the reception children as the focused activity times are used for activities which all children access in a differentiated way. If guided reading was the focused activity for literacy then that is all we would do and the nursery children would not get any literacy focused activity.

 

Not sure if any of that makes any sense, sorry, but basically what I am wondering is how other units manage to fit guided reading or individual reading for that matter into their day.

Any help appreciated

Thanks in anticipation :)

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Hi barbarann,

I know what you mean, I am very new to FSU's in fact we are just setting ours up. I have posted a help topic asking about timetables as like you I am struggling to find time for focus group work and how to split the children. There either doesn't seem enough adults or not enough time!! sorry I haven't been any help just letting you know you're not the only one!!

Take care

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We have a nursery level numeracy adult focused activity and a reception adult focused literacy activity in the mornings and a nursery literacy and reception numeracy in the afternoons one week and the next week reverse this so that the pt nursery children get both inputs over the course of 2 weeks. It also means that the reception children get 2 literacy and 2 numeracy group activities each day as do some of the more able nursery children

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Hi, thanks for the replies! I'm glad I'm not the only one sallyb.

 

Thanks for the ideas Marion... that sounds good. How do you manage to get through all the children though because we end up doing the same focused activity all week to get through all the children. It's a bit of a nightmare! lol

I think maybe I need to restructure our day.... yet again!!

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How can you possibly work with ratios like that!! We only have about 15 more children than you and have persuaded the Head to increase from 6 to 7 staff!! (We have 3 rooms and a large outdoor area which would be impossible to manage with 3 or 4 staff. Also our KS1 classes are now small (22/23) with full time support, so he couldn't really argue with me!) When we had a 30 place Nursery we always had 3 staff.

Do your KS1 classes have support? You are in effect running a Reception Class with no support.

 

I think it would be very difficult to run effective guided/individual reading with those ratios and 1 large room. Do you have a good sized outdoor area? Perhaps as weather gets better most chn. could be outside with groups working inside?

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Exactly Magenta..... running a Reception class with no support is exactly what we're doing and that is what I keep telling people but noone seems to appreciate this fact!

 

Yes, we have a large outdoor area and have continuous free flow so one adult is outside and 2 inside or if more children go out then 2 outside. It is very hard to manage and seems to be getting more difficult now that the Reception children are older and getting more capable.

 

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

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I thought the ratios in FSU were usually 1:13? That's what we have been quoted by our local primary school which is setting up a unit in September.

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Right, I am frantically trying to persuade the head we need another adult at the moment but not getting anywhere fast yet!

 

Marion, sorry to keep asking questions but I am wondering .... do you have a different focused activity every day and if so how do you manage to get through all the children?

 

Suzanne..... it is 1:13 for nursery which we have but only 1:30 for Reception which I think is ridiculous especially when KS1 and 2 in my school get lots of support. They think because we have a nursery nurse we have plenty support!

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We have found that as the year goes on we have had to give Reception chn. more structured sessions, their needs are very different from just three year olds!

We are lucky to have 3 rooms, 2 connected at one end and the third with folding doors, this means that we can be flexible in our routines. Nursery are in the larger room with folding doors, so in the summer last year the doors were opened less, but chn. did mix in the outdoor area.

We are planning to have further folding doors to separate the reception areas, this will mean that we can have one quiet room and so door between Nursery and Reception bases can be opened more for CI Play.

 

You really need to try to sort out this staffing issue! My Head takes more notice if I write things down - I wrote down a bullet point of the issues that staff agreed on and the changes that could be made to resolve the issues. This formal document will then be taken to SMT and the Governing Body. I'm sure you've tried really hard to make people listen - persevere!

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Its great to be able to read through other people's queries and advice as we are planning how to organise ourselves as FSU from september.

Sorry barbarann don't have any great advice except I understood 1:13 ratio has to apply across unit so therefore with 30 R and 26N definately need 4 staff (I know you know this but to try and convince your head) - possibly need to explain ratio works out as 1:18 - even for R good practice is recognised as 1:15 where children are under 5.

Don't know if this helps but wish you luck.

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The government recommend the 1-13 in FSUs but it is up to the head and governors as it is only a recommendation not law.

 

Q14: What is the ratio of staff to children in a Foundation Stage Unit, and do I have to have qualified teachers?

 

A14: There is little statutory guidance provided for children in the Foundation Stage, but there are recommendations. Decisions about ratios in maintained provision rests with the Governors of schools, with reference to their respective local education authorities. A higher adult:child ratio is needed for young children than for those of statutory school age. Favourable staffing ratios help children to make the most effective use of resources, they allow children to work in smaller groups or individually with the support and encouragement they need; and they help foster the necessary sense of security in children whose experience of groups larger than their family may well be minimal. Easy access to an interested and responsive adult is an essential means of reinforcing the learning process in young children.

 

Maintained nursery school

Children Act guidance, volume 2

2:20 (qualified teacher status + NNEB)

2:26 (where the headteacher does not teach)

 

Nursery class in maintained school

Education Act (1988) regulation 4 states 'for the governing body to determine'.

Children Act guidance, volume 2 states, 2:26 is 'suitable and sufficient in numbers' 2:26 (qualified teacher status + NNEB)

 

Reception classes

Infant class size legislation applies, where the majority of children will reach aged 5 within the school year

1:30 (qualified teacher status)

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Thank you for the information everyone, it is much appreciated.

I am trying to work on the head and the moment and convince him that we need more support but noone seems to be able to appreciate this fact at the moment! Oh well, we will get there!

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Right, I am frantically trying to persuade the head we need another adult at the moment but not getting anywhere fast yet!

 

Marion, sorry to keep asking questions but I am wondering .... do you have a different focused activity every day and if so how do you manage to get through all the children?

 

Suzanne..... it is 1:13 for nursery which we have but only 1:30 for Reception which I think is ridiculous especially when KS1 and 2 in my school get lots of support. They think because we have a nursery nurse we have plenty support!

 

Probably the easiest way is to explain how we work (it's just one model and we had to juggle and try different ideas until we found something that works for us)

 

All the children arrive at 8.50 with their parents and split into 2 groups for registration and a short carpet session.

In the morning there are 3 focused activities (all children are expected to do 2 of the 3 and reception children are encouraged to do all 3)

The children come together at 11am for a story and a circle time session before lunch nursery children are collected at 11.30

Afternoon session begins at 12.45 the children again split into 2 groups for a carpet session and we retain one of the focused activities from the morning and the other 2 are changed (again all children are expected to complete 2)

This means that nursery children complete 2 focused activities each day and reception complete a minimum of 3.

The children come together at 2.45 for story/songs and are collected at 3.15

 

We operate a snack bar system throughout the day and also have free flow access to a secure outdoor area. There are 4 members of staff. 3 focused activities and 1 member of staff floating /observing.

 

I've kept it quite simple if you would like more details let me know.

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Hi

Sorry to hijack the thread, but I wanted to ask you Marion, the number of Reception places you have at your school, and if you went over it, would some children go into a mixed Reception/Yr 1 class?

 

Currently have 32 Reception in a FSU, and I get through 2 focused activities per day with Reception, and each Nursery session does 1.

Recently on a literacy co-ordinator course the suggested that Reception teachers do:

2 Guided Reading sessions per week, and 1 Guided writing session per week!

I find it nearly impossible to fit it all week, along with discrete phonics sessions, shared reading and writing sessions, numeracy etc etc etc

The other problem is being sent out on courses regarding new strategy, phonics, etc I feel I am never in!!!!

I guess we have to take it in our stride!

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Hi Becky

Our Admission limit is 34 (think the head is hoping to lower it ) we currently have 36 names on the books for next year so not sure what will happen in the past we have always accommodated all applicants (biggest intake since I've been in reception was 46) Before we became a FSU we achieved this by having mixed R/Y1 classes but I wouldn't want to do this now we are a FSU as I feel it would be unfair on the children.

I am actually still at home having only worked one week this term and feeling really lost with whats happening in my absence. But I would normally only do 1 guided reading and 1 guided writing session per week.

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Hi, sorry for delay in replying, my internet has been down.

Thanks for reply Marion. That has certainly given me food for thought.

We have 2 foucused activities each day and 1 member of staff floating/ observing but it takes us nearly all week to get through the focused activities which is a nightmare! The Reception children do have extra but I dont feel we are doing enough.

Maybe I need to give our timetable a re-think for after Easter.

Thanks again!

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  • 2 months later...

You might try telling your head that now there is funding for all 3 year olds, the attraction of a nursery within a school is diminished - therefore if you were a working parent, whose child has been in a day nursery from very early on, you would be very reluctant to move them to a school nursery where they can only be for 2 1/2 hours a day when you can get 2 1/2 hours per day paid for in the private day nursery they already attend! Added to this, the ratio of adults to children is much better in a private day nursery - you could find you will lose numbers of children and this could have implications for numbers generally in the school.

 

I take my hat off to you - how can you possibly do all of the good practice so far as speaking and listening etc are concerned if you have such low adult numbers? Do you have a lot of parent volunteers in? In our school we have 26 place nursery with 2 NNEB and 1 NVQ2 staff and two reception classes of only 20-25 each with 2 qualified teachers and 2 TAs (one an HLTA) - I can't imagine how you cope!!!! Even with these good ratios I find it difficult to fit everything in!!

 

I'd like to become a FSU but looking at all the postings I have begun to think we're better off as we are!

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Hi again!

Well, I am getting there with persuading the head. I have been given a TA for part of the day (only a small part but better than none!) and been told that from September he has budgeted for another adult all the time. So it is looking better!

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