We are a few weeks into the new term now and whilst the settling-in phase may be ending, we are taking a moment to reflect back on all the lessons we have learnt from the last academic year and, like we always do, strive to improve our practice for the benefit of all the children we teach.
With KS1 moderation going ahead last year alongside the implementation of new EYFS Statutory Framework, leadership and teaching teams had to work hard to ensure they met standards and expectations.
At One Education, we have spent time reflecting as a team on the most important themes and messages we took away from the year, putting together a list of key action points that schools can consider when planning for the year ahead.
1. Stick to the guidance in the EYFS Framework and EYFS Profile Handbook.
Checklists, tick sheets and termly trackers are not statutory and, with the introduction of the EYFS Framework last year, we are starting to move away from the tick-list culture – which I’m sure will be a relief to all.
Use the Exemplification Materials provided by the DfE as a guide and consider how this approach can be adopted in your setting. Think more carefully about your curriculum offer and how your environment puts the holistic development of the child at the heart. Don’t forget the Characteristics of Effective Learning too – these are fundamental for developing lifelong effective learners.
2. Reflect on the evidence you are gathering and ask yourself is it really relevant?
Now is the time to shake up the way you typically gather evidence, whether it be as a portfolio or snapping pictures all-day long to upload to an online platform. Step back and consider, is this a noteworthy observation or piece of work that will help me to talk about the progress and development of the child? Who is it for? How will I use this information to help move the child’s learning on?
3. Start to build in Child Development Conversations throughout the year.
Work together with the teaching team and wider leadership to hold regular Child Development Conversations and keep track of pupil progress. This will deepen understanding of how the child is developing holistically, allowing you to put in the right support, provision and teaching to help them achieve the next steps! Remember, practitioner knowledge of children in the early years is key; your team just needs the confidence to talk about a child’s development and communicate their potential needs.
1. Look at the Teacher Assessment Framework standards for Maths now and check that any schemes of work, or the curriculum you follow, covers all the ‘pupil can’ statements by the moderation window.
Some aspects of maths are taught early in the academic year and then not revisited or covered again, or, alternatively, they may not be due to be taught until post moderation. As a school, consider possible adaptations you can make to your planning so that you can ensure all statements can be demonstrated, particularly for EXS and GDS. This could be as a review of learning at the start of a lesson or during morning work.
2. Ensure that there are plenty of opportunities within your wider Reading Curriculum.
We know that phonics has been a huge priority for plugging gaps created from the impact of the pandemic, however, the wider Reading Curriculum should ensure children have opportunities to develop their fluency and comprehension skills.
Consider your reading lessons and think about the possibilities – do they offer opportunities for echo or choral reading? Are guided reading lessons accessible for all children and focused on improving their reading skills?
3. Writing about real events should be mapped into your long-term plan and revisited more than once.
When we talk about ‘real events,’ what text type comes to mind? A recount! We realise that many schools find it hard to plan multiple trips to write recounts about, so it’s time to get creative when we consider what writing about ‘real events’ means.
A recount requires children to write sequentially about a series of events that have occurred, ensuring their writing is clear and simple for the reader to understand. This doesn’t have to come from trips alone – any visitors or special days in school can be written about within a recount, as well as links to historical events that have been studied in lessons. These do not need to become diary entries, where children might imagine they were a soldier in the Crimean War being looked after by Florence Nightingale (that is quite an ask), but rather a retelling of the key historical events that occurred. So long as it is recalled simply and clearly, that is all that is expected.
I hope these reflection points help you to evaluate your practice and consider actions going forward. If you want more in-depth training on our learning from last year then you can attend any of the following virtual training sessions or purchase the recording.
For EYFS, we will unpick some of the ELGs that were challenging for practitioners to discuss and evidence, and provide you with practical ways to implement this within your provision.
For Year 2, we will delve into the KS1 SATs paper of 2022, sharing our analysis of what type of questions were assessed, and how to use this information to further understand the assessment process. Access your free KS1 Reading Analysis resource.
We will discuss more lessons we learnt from moderation and provide you with practical ideas to take back to the classroom.
All of this and much, much more!
This year we are continuing with our successful network meetings for EYFS, Y2 and Y6 where you will have the opportunity to network with colleagues, gain insights on any updates and developments, receive CPD through training and get the chance to share good practice.
Visit these links to book your place!