Highly effective planning and monitoring

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Well-planned indoor and outdoor activities are used to improve pupils’ core skills at Martine’s Childcare nursery. Teachers record pupil progression on hand-held devices instantaneously identifying opportunities for developing children’s skills. Literacy and numeracy skills are developed through interesting problem solving activities and fun themed tasks.

Number of pupils: 70
Date of inspection: February 2018 - March 2018

Context and background to sector-leading practice

The setting’s aim is to provide a warm, welcoming and stimulating environment for all children and to treat each child as an individual.  It provides an outstanding range of stimulating and interesting activities across the foundation phase areas of learning.  Practitioners work closely with the children to record their ideas at the start of every topic.  This contributes significantly to children's motivation and engagement in learning, and develops their independent learning skills very effectively.  Practitioners provide innovative opportunities to develop children's literacy, numeracy and thinking skills as they play independently.

Description of nature of strategy or activity identified as sector-leading practice

The setting has developed a highly effective way of planning.  This focuses extremely well on developing children’s literacy, numeracy, independence and thinking skills in all areas of learning through interesting and exciting activities, both indoors and outside.  It involves children very effectively so that activities reflect their interests and are highly relevant to them.

Long term plans follow a two year cycle based around books, seasonal topics and regular events.  They focus on children’s skills across all the foundation phase areas of learning.  Practitioners map the skills carefully to ensure that they cover all areas well both indoors and outside.  When they introduce the themes and topics, practitioners discuss these thoroughly with the children to find out what their particular interests are.  This allows children to contribute effectively to planning specific activities and identifying next steps along the way.  The setting uses its mid-term overview exceptionally well to record when different skills are introduced.  There is a colour-coded system that shows which skills practitioners plan to introduce as part of the regular routine, and which they will teach directly through focus tasks.  This feeds effectively into the short term plans, which also include the skills that individual children need to revisit and embed.  The setting managers aim to keep the format and language as simple and straightforward as possible so that practitioners can follow them easily.    

The setting managers have established a very practical and effective system for recording what children can do and what they need to learn next.  Practitioners record their observations directly onto a hand-held device.  This allows them to stay actively engaged with the children, saves time and reduces the amount of paperwork the setting has to deal with.  Managers review the recordings daily and transfer key information about children’s progress to their individual electronic diaries.  In weekly planning meetings, all practitioners discuss children’s progress and their next steps, including new vocabulary.  As a result, managers and practitioners know the children well.  They can track their development and plan for each individual highly effectively and make sure they progress systematically.

The setting uses the planning system particularly well to identify opportunities for developing children’s literacy and numeracy skills through interesting problem‑solving activities.  These include exciting activities such as deciding how to help baby dinosaurs hatch out of their eggs.  This motivates the children well and meets their individual needs effectively.

What impact has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?

As a result of this careful planning, most children have excellent language, numeracy, and problem solving skills and most apply these confidently and independently across the areas of learning.  They are confident to express their views about what they enjoy doing and what they would like to do next.  Practitioners understand exactly what the aim is for each session.  This allows them to support children highly effectively.  The manageable observation and assessment process enables practitioners to identify children’s next steps in learning and inform future planning and provision exceptionally well. 

How have you shared your good practice?

A number of practitioners from the within the local authority have visited the setting to observe the planning, the provision and the system for recording assessments.