Reducing your paperwork burden
Ofsted has recently given guidance as to what written paperwork Childminder are required to have . You can download a copy of the guidance from our DfE & Ofsted documents page. Here is an extract from the document detailing written requirements in regards to learning & development:
“Good childminders will find that they are able to meet the learning and development requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage through the type of play they provide…. We do not expect you to have extensive written plans of your educational programmes, but we do expect you to know children’s abilities and where they need help, and to use this information when planning activities. Many childminders will find it helpful to note down what they will be doing, especially if they have children at different stages and with different abilities. We will expect you to know where each child that you care for is in their learning and development and whether this is in line with, above or below the developmental milestones for their age. Inspectors will use the development bands in Development matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage when they talk to you about children’s progress (see note below).
The Early Years Foundation Stage says that everyone, including childminders, must make observations of the children. We do not expect long written notes or ask that you take time away from the children to make these observations. The observations should be used to assess where children are in their learning and help you to plan what happens next. Useful methods are ones that most childminders have always used, for example samples of children’s work, photographs, shared diaries, notes of what children do and so on”.
To help support you with this, we have been looking at ways to reduce your planning paperwork but still be able to record a child’s learning & development and recognise whether it is in line with, above or below the developmental milestones for their age. The result is our new ‘Lean EYFS Circle’.
Some of you may have noticed that we have taken out our ‘Observation, Assessment & Planning (OAP) record and amended our Child’s Personal Plan.
How the new Lean EYFS Circle works
First of all don’t worry, we haven’t taken the learning journey document out of the circle, we get too much positive feedback about it! So use this as normal, this means adding in ad hoc observations that you spot and recording those activities that you think are especially relevant to their learning & development. The observations can just be quick notes that you can write down whilst caring for children.
Next, perhaps once every 2-3 months, complete the single sheet ‘Child’s Personal Plan – lean EYFS Circle version’. This sheet has spaces for you to write in your assessment of the child (including age/stage bands) and the child’s learning priorities for the next few months. To help you we have created ‘Learning & Development Crib Sheets’. These sheets (a page for each area of learning & development) are summaries of the information in the Development Matters in the EYFS DfE document. They may be easier to refer to than the whole document. If you laminate the sheets or put them in a clear folder you have have them to hand whenever you need them.
The outcome of the single page Child’s Personal Plan is a record of the child’s abilities against the seven areas of learning & development and the Development Matters’ milestones, plus pointers for priority learning for the next couple of months. You can put these sheets in the back of the child’s learning journey so that you can refer to them easily in your planning. This helps to ensure that the activities you include in your Weekly Activity Planner will promote that child’s learning & development.
Remember that you only have one Weekly Activity Planner for your setting. This means that you might plan ‘finger food delight’ as an activity for the whole group. However, for one child this could be used to promote their moving & handling learning priority by encouraging them to pick up the finger food, for another child the same activity could support their health & self-care learning priority by understanding healthy foods.
We hope that these new resources will help you to simplify your paperwork whist ensuring you have a clear understanding of the child’s learning & development.
Our new resources are available on our EYFS 2012 resources page.
Thanks for reading,
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 Requirements for written documents: childminders delivering the Early Years Foundation Stage, Ofsted 2013
 Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage, Department for Education, 2012; www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/curriculum/a0068102/early-years-foundation-stage-eyfs.