Giving children the best start in life, we know, is one of the main reasons why early years practitioners choose this as a profession. But the increasing amount of paperwork has become a burden to many within the sector, particularly when it comes to being prepared for an Ofsted inspection.
So, with the recent introduction of Ofsted’s Education Inspection Framework (EIF) in England, it seems like a good time to review the reasons behind this and how it aims to benefit you.
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman states that the driving force behind the changes of the new EIF is placing the EYFS curriculum at the centre of the framework, with a new emphasis on practice rather than paperwork:
“An industry has arisen around data, and what young children experience and learn is too often coming second to the delivery of assessment data. This data focus also leads to an unnecessary workload for early years professionals, diverting them away from the reason why they chose to enter the profession”. (Ofsted, 2019)
Rebecca Martland, registered childminder and early year training consultant, says that “this is good news for our sector, which has been drowning slowly in ever increasing piles of unnecessary paper whilst becoming disillusioned in the face of unrealistic, perceived requirements from Ofsted.”
Early years experts strongly advise that you should not be doing paperwork for the sake of Ofsted and that the new framework in England aims to ensure this. Make sure that the information you are recording and tracking is useful to you, enhances your pedagogy and your children’s learning and development. If it’s not, experts say, then don’t do it!
And if we review the EYFS, we can see that it was never the intention for practitioners to keep masses of data or paperwork. It says: ‘Assessment should not entail prolonged breaks from interaction with children, nor require excessive paperwork. Paperwork should be limited to that which is absolutely necessary to promote children’s successful learning and development’ (EYFS 2.2).
Ongoing assessment and sharing progress with parents and carers is central to the EYFS in England, even if Ofsted now state they no longer wish to see evidence and documents. We asked Rebecca Martland to outline her thoughts on the use of technology, in light of the new EIF, and how digital systems, like Kinderly Together, can support you in delivering the EYFS and benefit the learning and development of the children in your care.
"Digital systems are popular for good reason. For example, using an online system such as Kinderly Together enables you to:
- Record a child’s starting points/baseline assessment, with input from parents, all in one place which can be used to develop an appropriate, individualised and – differentiated curriculum for each child.
- Quickly upload observations and link these to the areas of learning and development, characteristics of effective learning, children’s wellbeing-and involvement and any identified schemas, which can be used in your curriculum planning.
- Use your observations to easily compile progress reports which are used to adapt your planning and identify any particular needs of a child, including experiences to provide cultural capital.
- Create suggested next steps based on your observations which you can assess based on your knowledge of a child and integrate into your planning.
- Enable other staff and carers working with a child to view your observations and add their own.
- Instantly share ‘Wow moments’ with parents and other carers.
- Receive information in the form of ‘postcards’ from parents about their child’s home experiences.
- Access and adapt PACEY policy templates to your setting (PACEY members exclusive).
- Simply generate invoices and accounts and considerably much more quickly and efficiently than using traditional paper methods, in a more environmentally friendly way.
All of this means that more of your time can be devoted to the important business of teaching and caring for the children. It also means parents can be fully involved in their child’s care without complicated communication methods being involved.
The system provides quick, straightforward access that saves parents and staff valuable time.
When implemented effectively an online system can complement a practitioner’s professional judgement and expertise, leading to them using the information and analysis gathered to enhance their own, expert knowledge of a child, informing their planning to create an appropriate and challenging curriculum that meets the needs of each child.”
PACEY member and registered childminder Karen McDermott adds that “Using a digital system can really help you stay on top of administrative tasks, so you have more time to spend with the children and enjoy more time with your own family rather than getting your paperwork up to date.”
Kinderly’s mission is to create digital resources and tools for early years professionals that support children’s progress and learning and ultimately to improve outcomes for all children. We hope that by using a digital system to support your practice, you will not only be well prepared for an Ofsted inspection under the new EIF, but you’ll improve overall efficiency, save money and have more time to spend with the children.
Kinderly Together is proud to have won the BRONZE award for both Kinderly Learn and Kinderly Together at the 2019 Nursery World Awards in the Nursery World Equipment and Resources Awards category. For more information on Kinderly Together, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.kinderly.co.uk