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EYFS teachers: what is your criteria for exceeding in writing?

(72 Posts)
Iamnotminterested Wed 31-Jul-13 10:45:00

The posts about the new EYFS bandings seem to have created a fair bit of confusion, angst and wide differences between schools and LAs as to what constitutes emerging, expected or exceptional writing standards.

What in your view fits the latter? A properly punctuated story? A couple of sentences albeit properly spelt and punctuated?

Genuine question, genuinely interested.

simpson Wed 31-Jul-13 19:54:49

I think what is bothering me about it is that yes certain LEAs are giving different guidelines but schools within the same LEA assessing totally differently just seems a bit hmm

simpson Wed 31-Jul-13 19:58:18

Peri - a 1B is not the average level for end of yr1 but the expected level (for some schools, my DC school want a 1A in reading).

PookBob Wed 31-Jul-13 20:04:13

My son is currently in Nursery and will be for another year. When I spoke to his teacher at the end of term I enquired about when he and his class would start blending phonics (CVC etc) and I was informed that they would not start this until the summer term of his reception year.

I'm now really confused reading this thread.... If he doesn't even start blending phonics until the end of reception all these literacy goals are completely unachieveable surely?

How could his school's timetable be so different to what is explained here? Any ideas?

Pozzled Wed 31-Jul-13 20:04:15

Periwinkle I don't think it's necessarily wrong for a 1b child to be exceeding, but I do think it's wrong for schools to be applying such wildly different standards.

Intheshed I do know what you mean and to a certain extent I really don't care what words are assigned to DD1- they won't change her skills or abilities! But I do think that it can cause problems when people start to make inferences from the categories. I'm worried that DD1's school is thinking 'oh, that child is exceeding, she's doing really well so we don't need to worry about her'. Another parent seeing DD1's report could be seriously misled about how she is performing.

Pozzled Wed 31-Jul-13 20:11:00

PookBob Are you sure they didn't mean the summer term before they go into reception? They wouldn't be able to fulfil the expectations of the new EYFS if they left phonics so late. It does seem very strange.

simpson Wed 31-Jul-13 20:12:56

I would agree with pozzled, as that's when DD was taught phonics at nursery (after Easter).

Most schools get stuck in from the very beginning of the school year although it can take a while for reading books to come home.

PookBob Wed 31-Jul-13 20:26:40

Thank you for replying, I really hope you are right!

I am certain they said the summer of reception year as they wanted the class to all be at the same point with regards to recognising alphabet etc, at which point I asked if they would start earlier with any children who were confident, and I was told not.

The school he attends is in a very deprived area and has just come out of 'special measures', if that is the right term. Could this affect the speed at which children are taught?

Periwinkle007 Wed 31-Jul-13 20:28:52

oh is 1b expected at the end of Yr1 then? in which case surely it SHOULD be exceeding at the end of reception, even if they do want to change things a bit.

I agree Pozzled - I think it is completely ridiculous for them to vary so much but that doesn't make it wrong for children to be marked as exceeding at a 1b just because some schools have set the bar higher (quite wrongly I personally think)

I would hope no school would take the approach of 'that child is exceeding so she is fine' as I thought they were supposed to ensure each child makes progress but I can see where you are coming from.

A school which has the bar set higher will end up with lots of children in expected but with the most enormous range of ability.

At the end of the day the reception teachers will hopefully pass the ACTUAL ability on to the Yr1 teachers and they will build on it probably taking absolutely no notice whatsoever about the levels in the EYFS.

simpson Wed 31-Jul-13 20:37:09

Well, if the school has done the EYFS assessments correctly then the yr1 teachers should have been involved in the gradings.

They weren't in my DC school because the EYFS Head is a KS1 teacher (usually yr1) some years.

Pozzled Wed 31-Jul-13 20:44:55

I hope you're right Periwinkle. I have been waiting all year for the school to take a real interest in progress- they treat reception very much as settling in and seem to see any learning (at least in numeracy and literacy) as a nice bonus. I expect things may change in yr 1.

The teacher DD1 will have next year is new to the school, so won't have been involved in moderating with this class. I'll be interested to see how things go.

Periwinkle007 Wed 31-Jul-13 20:55:41

hopefully a new teacher might be coming in with lots of ideas from elsewhere...

My daughter's teacher for next year is apparently very good which is a relief as her teacher this year was good (and my other daughter is about to have her). I was worried at first that she didn't seem to be being challenged or given the opportunity to do work at her level but having seen her work now they certainly really picked up the pace in the summer term and have been able to see what she is able to do and give her things that were right for her. I think many schools see reception more as settling in and I suppose that is what it is designed to be. I suppose whilst some may tread water academically they get the exposure to the other skills so it all balances out.

I know Yr1 were involved with it in our school across both classes so 2 yr1 teachers and 2 reception teachers.

simpson Wed 31-Jul-13 21:27:02

DD's reception year has been very high ability so they have been pushed/extended quite a bit ie guided reading, in writing and in numeracy.

She has a very good teacher next year with a small group of the highest ability kids all together (so no pressure on the teacher then!!) so fingers X it should be a good year for DD. I know they are starting the "big write" in yr1 which does not normally happen till yr 2.

Yr1 seems to be a bit of a funny year in my DC school and they don't have a great track record on yr1 teachers, the current yr2s had 6 yr1 teachers in one year as they all were either pants or kept leaving shock but this is DD's yr1 teachers second year at the school and she seems very good (I read with her kids this past school year).

DS has a brand new teacher to the school that he has not met yet (yr4) which I am a bit nervous about but as he is that much older it should be ok...

Littlefish Wed 31-Jul-13 22:16:15

We we're externally moderated this year and were told by our Local Authority Adviser that in order to achieve an "exceeding" judgement, children should be writing consistently at a 1b level.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Wed 31-Jul-13 23:47:59

I'd level my dts writing at 1b and both got exceeding. They both do as per pozzled's list but with capital letters consistently to start sentences. Dtd spells many words correctly and uses apostrophes too. Dts has beautiful cursive handwriting.
Dtd likes writing poetry esp rhyming and uses description like 'the diamong sparkled like the moon' without help. Dts hasn't written since school ended apart from a huge amount of text messages to his dad!
Personally i think it's ridiculous to only give it out at 2c, that's gifted rather than able - and able means they exceed your expectations!

RiversideMum Thu 01-Aug-13 07:55:58

I gave exceeding to children who could write independently, forming their own sentences and using full stops and capital letters. I looked for lots of CI writing and a variety of contexts.

Stillhopingstillhere Thu 01-Aug-13 18:09:15

To my knowledge ds has done absolutely no phonics in preschool.
He does know letter sounds and can CVC because I've taught him but I don't think they've done any with him.

I am slightly traumatised that he has to be using full stops and capital letters by this time next year when he will barely be 5. It's too little I think.

Periwinkle007 Thu 01-Aug-13 18:45:54

Stillhopingstillthere - he will be fine to be using full stops and capital letters by then I am sure

being able to do cvc words before he starts school will still be ahead of quite a lot of children. many preschools will start doing some phonics from January but on the whole I don't think that many actually REALLY move on to cvc words. They may mention them and bright children may pick them up but I was under the impression they only did initial phonics so if your son is able to do that already then he will be well away once they start teaching at school.

You will be amazed how quickly children can pick writing up.

I still feel it is early, at least for some children.

I feel there should be other priorities as well during the reception year.

Though I suppose this thread is concentrating on the "above expectation" or "exceeding expectation" level.

I'm glad when mine were in reception that emergent writing was considered sufficient, alongside other developing learning and social skills.

There's not always as much to be gained as people imagine from doing things at an earlier age.

Periwinkle007 Thu 01-Aug-13 19:06:44

It still is emergent writing though, children were always encouraged to use full stops and capital letters around this age.

It may be too early for some children but I would think for the majority it is the right time by the summer of reception and surely we can't expect the majority of children not to do something because for some children it is too early? Out of my daughter's friends who I am sure are a complete range of ability and certainly include the oldest and the youngest in the class (49 weeks apart) I think they can all write a simple sentence and use a full stop, even those who can't read very well.

I think there is plenty of time given to socialising, learning through exploring, playing, using imagination and so on. My daughter's classroom only has tables and chairs for 1 group at a time to use them so they can't spend very much time sitting down doing 'proper' work. I think the balance is pretty good, my daughter would have preferred more actual sitting down and learning but she is older and was ready for that, however she has enjoyed all the activities she has done.

Your daughter's class sounds good Periwinkle
I think some don't have the right balance though.

A couple of sentences about something the child is interested in may be (consistently) achievable for many by the end of reception.
(I think capital letters and full stops aren't a major priority at this stage)

But I think it's whether the child has a genuine interest in each task that is part of the problem.

simpson Thu 01-Aug-13 19:29:36

In the reception class I help in (not my DC school) most kids can write a very basic sentence but may not remember capital letters/full stops.

However I would say about a third cannot but can write all the letters unaided.

I don't know about my DD's class but I think the ability varies massively.

See I think that's something that Gove et al. don't necessarily appreciate - especially with all their talk of "expected levels"

... different children can demonstrate a wide range of ability in writing, and especially when so young this won't necessarily be a predictor of future ability - they may just be following a different learning/writing trajectory, or they may be younger than others in the class for example.

mrz Thu 01-Aug-13 19:46:21

It isn't meant to be a predictor of future ability just a snapshot of their development at the end of EYFS ...

It never is simply a "snapshot" though is it mrz ? - in my experience the whole assessment process has changed what is perceived as best practice, and added enormously to the stress on both staff and children.

Periwinkle007 Thu 01-Aug-13 20:03:03

they aren't saying though that based on their scores in the EYFS they will decide who is allowed to go to university. They are purely an indication of what the child is capable of when they finish in reception.

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