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FSF Newsletter March 2014

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To mention again the debate over whether providers 'should' be using Development Matters or Early Years Outcomes in their progress monitoring, we've received a ministerial response from Elizabeth Truss, that makes it clear that neither are obligatory and both equally acceptable. The letter can be downloaded from this forum post - we're belabouring the point a little, as we've had several queries from members who have been told by some advisers (or even Ofsted inspectors) that DMs should not be being used. This is categorically not the case!

FSF News

This week we're off to the Childcare Expo event in Olympia, London (Friday 28th, Saturday 29th March). We'll be on stand F8 and, as mentioned in this post, would love to see any FSF friends there. We'll be showing off Tapestry and talking about - well, anything anyone wants to talk about!


We went to a real pre-school setting a few weeks ago and made a video of Tapestry being used, with parents and the manager being interviewed. Watch it here, and let us know what you think! If you find it useful to see it being used in real surroundings we may make some more (it was fun, and we don't get let out much!). Thanks to Vicky and her team at the wonderful Rotherfield Village Pre-school for letting us come and play.

Weavers (Tapestry users) should be aware that the new app (for both Tapestry and Android) now enables comments to be added and viewed by both parents and staff. The apps should now be updating automatically, but it's worth letting your parents know, and getting them to check they have the latest versions (3.0.5 +).

Also for weavers, we updated Tapestry's main web service last week with a major new version that concentrates on analysis of assessments, next steps, snapshots and reporting. Find more about this here. We're beginning to put together some video tutorials to help weavers get kicked off with this new material. You can find these in the Tapestry menu (on the FSF) or click here to go directly to the index.

LA Scheme

We'd like to welcome back members from the following authorities, which have renewed their LA subscription. Members from these authorities need do nothing; their individual accounts will automatically be re-subscribed:

  • For their second year - Central Bedfordshire
  • For their third year - Rochdale and Slough
  • For their fourth year - Cornwall
  • For their sixth year - Norfolk and Windsor & Maidenhead
  • For their seventh year - LB of Barnet
  • For their eighth year - Leicestershire and Essex
  • For their ninth year - Suffolk

Welcome back to you all!


New Content

Objective-led Planning (Alastair Bryce-Clegg)

Objective-led planning has to be the most effective way of taking teaching into children’s play that I have ever used. With objective-led planning you would still group the children by ability based on assessment. Rather than having 'red group', 'blue group' etc for Mathematics or Communication and Language etc. It allows you to group your children by their specific need in each area of learning. So, children who need more support in talk development and less in fine motor can get just that, rather than being in one ability group for both.

Characteristics of Effective Learning: Active Learning in Action (Ruksana Mohammed)

Active learning describes a child's motivation,and is associated with the need for children to develop concentration and perseverance in order to successfully and actively learn. Learning in this way involves other people, objects, ideas and events that can engage and involve children for sustained periods. Active learning can therefore be summed up as being about concentration, persistence and satisfaction.

Give your book corner a makeover! (Michael Jones)

We know that children who grow up from a very early age with a love of books are likely to become confident, happy and successful readers in school and throughout life. This love of books begins at home and involves parents spending quality time with their children: having fun sharing books. We also know that children who do not have such positive experiences of early reading at home are at a distinct disadvantage when they start school. We know that children benefit from enjoying a wide range of reading material, including fiction, non-fiction, and books with rhyme. However, from my experience and observation, many children in early years settings do not get the essential experience they need, to cement their early understanding of reading, or to compensate for lack of experience at home.

The big issue is this: while many settings may have designated ‘book corners’ these areas are often dank, dingy and uninviting spaces, where far too many books are squashed onto far too few shelves, with large grubby cushions as the only furniture. The only visitors to these types of spaces are children who are diehard bookworms, those seeking a bit of a snooze or possibly a place to jump around. Crucially, these spaces have become like this because they are only visited by adults for short amounts of time: either to search for a book or to tidy up.

From The Forum

Funded 2 year olds... under pressure from LA

Are we the only setting under massive pressure to take on more and more funded 2 year olds?

Check your payroll company

We suspected our payroll who is also our accountant, had some of our money. We pay a fixed amount each month to cover wages buy allow a little extra for overtime payments. I asked last week if we'd overpaid and by how much, the answer...£6371.00 which is being returned to us as I look for a new company to deal with our finances in the future. Check your company!

Observations and learning journeys

I have never posted here before but really value the wise words I find on here, so I thought I would see if there is anyone out there who has a found a way of providing evidence that children are making progress without using observations? I see that there is no expectation any more that children have learning journeys so how do you provide evidence of progress? I'm confused!

Is your setting a registered charity?

Are any of you running pre-schools that are registered charities? If so, what does it involve? And what are the benefits of being registered?

Baseline assessments

Just wondering how people are doing their baseline assessments? I'm thinking of using a highlighting sheet for the development matters but not sure where to record the evaluation of the assessment ?

Supporting pencil grip and control

Just wondering how other's actually go about improving children's grip and control when they have actually chosen to use a pencil/pen e.g. do you correct their grip/model correct grip/allow to develop? Seems to be a lot of advice as to how not to go about it but no clear advice as the right way to do it?

Need to be the 'best'

I have a four year old boy (an old 4 year - Sept. birthday) he is very bright and capable and an all round super little boy.......until now that is....... He seems to have some sort of deep rooted 'need' to be the 'best' - all the time and at everything!

Registered with ICO?

Just been notified by OFSTED (got registration visit this week) of new updated doc Registering on Early Years register. It now mentions that we should check if we should also be registered with Information Commissioners Office if we are taking photos of children. Just wondered if any of you have done this?


If you're going to Childcare Expo in Olympia this week (28th and 29th March) come and pick up a badge so you can wave at your FSF friends as you walk around!

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