Another brilliant idea by the government entangled in a web of confusion and increased workload
The decision to become an early adopter school was an easy one for us at Pinkwell. We knew that a year of ‘playing around’ and speaking to other early years professionals would be beneficial in order for us to get our heads around the new framework.
As the government suggested the changes to the framework are being made in order to
- Improve outcomes at age 5, particularly in early language and literacy and especially for disadvantaged children
- Reduce workload and unnecessary paperwork so you can spend more time with the children in your care.
These aims sound wonderful! Just what we all have wanted for a long time in the early years. But, does this framework really allow for it? If so, how?
This year we have had to change our mindset and focus on formal observations, ensuring that formal observations on our children are only captured when they have mastered a new skill or an emerging skill. For years we as early years professionals have had to prove our knowledge and assessment of the children in our care by endless paperwork, observations and assessments, but now we are having to trust our own professional judgements and judgements of our colleagues of our children in order to assess accurately and correctly.
As the assessment bandings have increased for example from 8-20 months to 0-3 years, 3-4 years and Reception, we have had to shift our finite view of child development from a narrow to a more broad perspective. Trusting that we are able to competently be able to verbally explain the broad ranges of child development in each band.
Now as a part of the Senior Leader Team at Pinkwell, I do understand the importance of tracking progress and attainment across the year, however, how can you track and measure progress if children stay within the bandings over the course of the academic year or a term? Does this mean there has been no progress? Of course not! But that is what it will show on paper…...unless you change the bandings and make them less broad…. Just like they were before!! This lovely cycle of reflection, change and adaptation we are so familiar with in education.
Overall, would we change our decision to have been an early adopter school? No, why do you ask. Because without this time we have had this year to reflect, change and adapt it would be hard to support our trainee teachers and NQTs next academic year.
Alice Francis- Assistant Principal EYFS- Year 1 Pinkwell Primary school