Drowning in Paperwork by Blossom Educational
17th February 2017
Stacey has owned and managed Paddington Stars Nursery for over 20 years. Her nursery cares for nearly 90 children, and she employs 12 members of staff. As you can imagine, Stacey is always very busy, typically works for over 12 hours a day, and loves (almost) every minute!
Over the last decade, Paddington Stars has consistently been rated Good and Outstanding by Ofsted. Stacey, having been in the Early Years sector for nearly 30 years, considers herself to be an expert manager and practitioner, and is very confident about the running of Paddington Stars.
However, the constant changes from Ofsted do take their toll. Following on from the last EYFS update a few years ago, Stacey had worked tirelessly to make sure that her pupil tracking forms and templates reflected all of the new requirements. As soon as she felt like she was happy with things, the Department for Education announced the new Common Inspection Framework (CIF).
This changed everything for Stacey. Although she knew each and every one of her children, and could tell you exactly what their development needs and next steps were, she had never had a system in place to track the progress of groups of child at a cohort level.
Stacey had always used individual ‘learning journey’ folders for tracking the learning and development progress of each of her children. These included observations written by her practitioners, pictures of children which demonstrated their progress, and a summary of the 7 areas of learning and how children were progressing over their time at Paddington Stars. Her practitioners would write up observations, take pictures, print them as needed, cut them out and then stick them into children’s learning journeys. The time this takes means that Stacey has always paid her practitioners for a couple of extra hours per week to work on observations, but the system has always worked well for Paddington Stars.
The Common Inspection Framework means that Stacey is now required to be able to have data analysis in place to assess how different groups of children are doing. She has no way of doing this with her current paper-based system, but has always been very reluctant to use any online-based platform. She is not a fan of computers and does not want her practitioners to spend their time staring at screens, rather than working with their children.
Very reluctantly, Stacey started her search for an online platform which would be able to give her the information that Ofsted requires her to have. Unfortunately, we had not yet launched Blossom Educational at this point!
Watch out for our next article in a couple of weeks, where we will continue the story of Stacey’s journey to find the right online platform for Paddington Stars. In the meantime, you can find out more about my online learning journey platform, Blossom Educational, at www.blossomeducational.com. I am an Early Years practitioner and have created Blossom specifically for the sector, based on what I know is needed – something that is simple, easy to use, and comprehensive. Sara Dhokia – Founder of Blossom and Early Years Practitioner
Blossom Educational are exhibiting at Childcare Expo London on 3 & 4 March. Be sure to pop by to their stand E42 for more information about their Early Years Learning Journey Platform.