Introduction

There are 7 Nursery Schools in the Bradford authority and Hirst Wood has been operating since 1931.  The original Nursery was ‘open-air’ and known locally as the Sunshine School, the spirit of which is kept alive today as children have access to the wonderful outdoor area for most of the day.   There are 3 classrooms, each with a qualified teacher and Nursery Nurse/Early Years Practitioner and the statutory staffing ratio of staff to children in Nursery is 1 adult per 13 children. 

In response to parents’ changing needs and working patterns we have established a well-respected before and after school provision, known as The Sunshine Club.   This allows us to provide high quality nursery school education and extended provision between the hours of 7.30 am and 6.00pm and a range of services for children, families and the community.

 

 

Re: new ways to share our teaching and learning  - Electronic assessment system 

The set of circumstances that we find ourselves is has made us consider how we can continue to share with you the wonderful experiences that your children enjoy at Hirst Wood Nursery School.  In order to continue to work in partnership with you we have invested in an electronic system that we can upload photographs and observations to, and that you can look at on your phone or computer.  We hope that you will feel that this will be beneficial and reassuring to know that your child is busy and enjoying their time at School.   

 

We try to adapt the planned activities to individual children in order to reflect their particular skills, interests and development needs. This means that the staff constantly need to notice what each child is doing, to record this and to think about what it means and what the next steps in our planning to support their teaching and learning should be. The staff record their ‘observations’ in what is known as a ‘learning journey’ which is a collection of different documents prepared by the teaching teams to provide a picture of a child’s development under various areas of the EYFS curriculum such as Physical Development, Communication & Language etc.   

 

While there is a statutory need to record and monitor progress, we also need to ensure that this process  doesn’t get in the way of us interacting and engaging with the children - nobody wants to see the staff  following children around with clipboards!  We want to work in genuine partnership with you and your  children and evidence the impact that it is having on their development.    We will continue to maintain the wonderful Records of Achievement that consist of observations made by staff members including notes of relevant conversations or comments made by a child.  These are kept in our paper Records of Achievement and are shared with you at various points during the year.  This works well enough but is also quite limited.  If you want to see how your child’s speech has developed, how much better would it be to be able to listen to a  series of recordings over a period?  And wouldn’t it be so much better if you, as parents, could contribute your own  photos, observations and thoughts to the learning journey record, rather than it coming exclusively from  he nursery?  Please email office@hirstwoodnscc.co.uk your contributions to your child’s Record. 

 

To enhance our record keeping process we are introducing a system called eyLog (for early years Log) which allows staff to capture a photo, video clip or voice recording as well as written notes using a tablet computer  and assign this to one or more children. These observations from staff members are then uploaded to a secure web-based learning journey to which you as a parent would also have access too! Welcome to the world of  online learning journeys!   We believe that using online learning journeys will allow both a rich body of evidence  to support our partnership with parents, to help us plan for individual children’s development and of course a wonderful keepsake for you to share with your child. 

 

Parents will rightly have questions about the security of such an online system.  No data is stored either on the tablets or on the nursery computer. Secure servers hold the data within the UK and as such follow all GDPR guidelines. Staff work within the school's Acceptable Use Policy which clearly defines how computers and tablets must be used in order to keep children safe.   A copy is available – please email  office@hirstwoodnscc.co.uk if  you would like to receive further information.  As soon as an observation has been recorded and uploaded to the eyLog server, it is automatically deleted from the tablet.  All data is held in encrypted form and is accessed subject to a secure login and password. The only people who can access a child’s learning journey are the relevant nursery staff and you, the child’s parents.   In our opinion, the application not only permits a richer learning journey than its paper equivalent, but also offers a more secure way to record and share these learning journeys.