Self Evaluation

Tweseldown Playgroup Self Evaluation 2018/19

Tweseldown Playgroup believes in continual Self Evaluation and uses a variety of sources to inform a rounded evaluation. Evaluation is ongoing and informal but is formalised annually. Points for development for the following year are chosen and a Development Plan written. Developments often tie in with staff appraisals and supervision meetings and something relevant for the committee too. Evidence and ideas for our Self Evaluation may be drawn from:

Staff training feedback

Environment improvements

Staff supervision

Parental surveys

Children’s voice

Staff meeting minutes

Committee meeting minutes

The setting’s data

Ofsted inspection actions

Ofsted’s grading descriptors

Ofsted inspection trends

Current industry trends and new priorities

Progress on developments from last year and its impact on our practice

1. Following our Ofsted inspection, further develop ways to work with parents with a focus on the planning and how parents can continue their children’s learning at home

We have:


  • Trialled an information evening on how your child learns through play. This was well received and will now be an annual event.
  • Updated the sharing sheet in the folder to include specific questions for parents on what the children are doing at home currently and ways to support the next steps. Parents have said this was a good change and gave them an idea of what to tell us about. It will stay.
  • Displayed the planning on a large white board. Parents didn’t really read this but the staff like this way of planning, making it more straightforward and easier to refer to so we will continue.
  • Provided a whiteboard to put outside at pick up time detailing what has been happening that day or week, both connected to the planning and spontaneous activities with suggestions, if appropriate, of things to develop these at home. This has been well received with parents saying it enables them to talk to their children about what they have done. Childminders take photographs of it to pass on to parents later.
  • Trialled stay and play/coffee mornings once each half term so parents are encouraged to come in and see playgroup in action. These have been well received too with parents saying they love to come and see how we set up, what is on offer, especially outside and in the woods as they don’t see that when they drop off.


Overall this target has had a positive impact on how we work with parents which in turn impacts how the children learn, particularly on how the learning started at Playgroup continues at home and parents understand how children learn through their play and what happens during a typical session/day.

2. Following our Ofsted inspection, ensure all staff use every opportunity to include children’s next steps in their daily interactions with their key children.

We have:


  • Used the new planning board to ensure all staff are aware of the planning and how this connects to the next steps for each of their key children. This has helped us all connect planning and areas of development including the characteristics of effective learning more securely but particularly for newer or less confident staff members.
  • Used supervision meetings as a discussion time for staff development and awareness of good practice with regards to next steps. This will continue next year. This target is still ongoing as we develop our knowledge on how we confidently record the most valuable and relevant information in our observations.


3. Management

We have:


  • Started to find ways to allow the manager more time to manage both for the present but thinking about succession planning for when the manager retires, and another manager takes over, expecting to be able to be a supernumerary manager with no key children. Progress so far is that another member of staff has been employed and the manager will not be given key children from September 2018. The impact of this is just beginning with the manager having more time to focus on all aspects of management.
  • Kept up to date with the 30 hours implementation and its impact on playgroup. There has been an impact on numbers, with playgroup having spaces in September 2018 for the first time ever. This will continue to be monitored closely.
  • Continued to benefit from the manager’s role as an LFSP allowing the development of leading edge practice.

This target is ongoing as the manager’s role changes from always in ratio to some out of ratio time with the children. However, it is already having a positive impact as the manager has more time to complete paperwork during the Playgroup hours (allowing a better work life balance), including looking at data, meeting with parents, attending meetings without worrying about cover and being available for staff spontaneously if required.


Reflection going forward

Leadership and management

The manager has overall responsibility for the running of the Playgroup and meeting the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. She is ably assisted by her two deputies and an enthusiastic staff team.

The manager has attended a management course and evaluated her strengths and weaknesses. The strengths being the ability to listen and respond to the Playgroup community which includes, staff, committee, parents and carers, children, childminders and supporting professionals. Having listened, any changes are undertaken after consultation and group discussions, so everyone is happy with the changes. Additionally, a strength is to be open to change and manage it in a relaxed and non-dictatorial way which works for the current staff team. Weaknesses were a tendency to flit between tasks and not be clear enough in instructions to staff. These have been addressed and more management time planned for the future.

The manager is a Leading Foundation Stage Practitioner (LFSP) for the local authority (LA) and supports other groups, sharing the good practice that has been developed at Tweseldown Playgroup which has been recognised as such by the local Early Years Advisory Team.

The manger takes the lead on Safeguarding. She ensures staff are fully trained and updated on current issues. She attends termly safeguarding support group meetings provided by the LA and feeds back at staff meetings. Topics in the last year have included breast ironing, FGM, Prevent, hidden adults, head trauma in young children, fabricated illness and a talk from the local LADO.

The curriculum and how we deliver it while not using the Development Matters statements as a tick list has been a topic for discussion recently and has resulted in a change of focus. The staff felt we had become too focussed on completing very specific outcomes across all 7 areas of development and a more relaxed learning environment with a focus on following the children’s interests would be preferable.

The manager leads on staff supervision, appraisals and staff training. Recent inclusion in staff supervision and appraisal targets has included using the Characteristics of Effective Learning in our observations and making sure we use every opportunity to work on our key children’s targets. In the last year training undertaken was around working with parents, using the role play area and maths.

Moderation on our learning judgements has taken place. One individual meeting between ourselves and the local infant school and one meeting between the cluster of schools with local preschools led by a local head teacher. Moderation of our observations will be included in this year’s supervision meetings with individual staff members.

Developments in leadership and management for 2018/19

Consider and manage how we plan for each child without using the Development Matters as a tick list, concentrating more on spontaneous child led learning.

Lead improvement in the learning environment, 1, develop the area under the canopy 2, replace rotting fences, 3, make resources more accessible, revamp 2 year old area and discovery area.

Revisit moderation, meeting with the local Year R teacher to look at the judgements we made on the children who moved on to school from us in September 2018. Include observation, assessment and planning (OAP) in supervision meetings.

Continue to develop management time to allow more time to be spent on administration tasks and less in ratio with the children, while staying in touch with the daily running and the staff team.

The curriculum, staff team and learning outcomes for children

Our Playgroup prides itself in the way the children are settled with us and how we welcome families. This starts from the first contact with the family and continues until the children move on from us. This feeling of being welcomed is ratified by parents in the end of year questionnaires with everyone confirming the warmth of the staff and the setting. This includes how well the key person system works with staff recognising that children will only thrive if they feel settled.

The local schools would, if asked, confirm that we send well rounded children on to them who are ready to learn in the school environment.

Staff have discussed making sure we don’t use the development matters statements as a tick list and would like to try a change in our planning and next steps for each child. We have always been flexible in our planning and how the day goes, following children’s interests whenever possible but staff would like to spend more time playing with the children letting them lead the play rather than having something planned that the staff have chosen, so more child led learning. Staff are aware that the learning still needs to be high quality and recorded effectively but want to try something new. Planning will still happen each fortnight but will be open and left to evolve naturally depending how the children run with it.

Following on from this change it will be important to monitor and evaluate outcomes for children. This will be done primarily at staff meetings and during staff supervision and can be verified by the data we collect on the children. We will be ready to change if our new way isn’t working.

It has been noted that although the setting’s learning environment is amazing, especially outside, it mustn’t be allowed to become tired. We need to make sure we keep updating the equipment, fixtures and fittings. The area under the canopy has been highlighted by ourselves as needing more focus and the fences need mending. Some of the zoned areas inside need thought, especially the 2 year old carpet area, the discovery area and we have highlighted the need for a finger gym area. Each staff member has an area of the room they are responsible for and will be working on improvement. New furniture will be bought to make access to resources easier and to replace our old tables in the discovery and 2 year old areas allowing us to display the resources in an inspiring way. A story shelf is to be developed in the small book corner.

With the manager having more management time the two deputies will lead some of the sessions. The manager will ensure they are supported while doing this. They are experienced practitioners who have led sessions regularly but the impact of the manager being out of ratio needs acknowledging as a change in their role.

Developments in the curriculum, staff team and learning outcomes for children for 2018/19

Consider how we can change each child’s next steps to be more child led

Trial a term (minimum) of pre-chosen next steps in the Prime Areas and a less prescriptive approach to the Specific Areas

Ensure our planning encourages the possibility of learning across all areas, following the children’s interests whenever possible

Have consistent regard to the Characteristics of Effective Learning (in our planning and observations)

Work with staff at supervision to ensure observations are specific, relevant and follow a OAP cycle.

Tidy our resources to make them easily accessible

Provide a finger gym area and resource it

Review the discovery and 2 year old areas and use new furniture to display resources to inspire

Develop story shelf in the book corner