Early Years Staff Are ‘Doing Too Much Paperwork’

Early Years Staff Are ‘Doing Too Much Paperwork’

early years

We’ve covered a few times now how much extra stress Ofsted can add to a teacher’s life. Of course, this shouldn’t be an issue at all. Ofsted should be in a position to help us, but now the added workload and extra stress is spreading to teachers that work in early years. Read on to see just what is happening in early years, and why it isn’t good enough.

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A huge number of early years educators claim that they have to fill out more and more paperwork. This goes over and above the level of paperwork that is actually required.

Participants in the Early Years Alliance survey said extra workload was just “in case Ofsted asked for it”. In the survey, 84 per cent of participants thought there was paperwork than required under the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework.

The Alliance revealed that 70 per cent of participants said they completed additional paperwork in case Ofsted asked for it. These findings follow the alliance’s research on mental health in the sector. This research found that 78 per cent of practitioners said paperwork and administrative work was a regular source of stress.

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Problems With Early Years Workload

Reception and nursery staff took part in the survey which raised several other concerns and issues:

  • Over half of participants said their internal processes required more paperwork than was necessary. This is to meet “best practice standards” within their own setting.
  • 25 per cent said the work was there to meet the requirements of owners or senior management.
  • Over a third claimed that paperwork burdens were linked to local authority requirements.
  • 29 per cent said they did the work because they wanted to protect themselves against parental complaints.

What Did The Alliance Say?

early years

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said:

We’re pleased that Ofsted and the Department for Education have agreed that our top priorities must be to address the ‘just in case’ approach we have heard so much about from the providers who took part in our research, as well as inconsistency, duplication and complexity at local authority level.

No paperwork should be so burdensome that it causes stress or directs time and attention away from the learning experience of the child. This is why we are working to develop practical solutions so that providers can feel more confident during Ofsted inspections and when working with local authorities.

Wendy Ratcliff, an Ofsted inspector specialising in the early years, said:

We hear all sorts of myths about what paperwork inspectors might want to see, particularly around assessment. We shared the important findings of this survey during our recent inspector training.

Inspectors and providers involved in education inspection framework pilot inspections said they welcome the move away from looking at assessment data. The early years inspection handbook makes clear that we’ll spend most of the inspection observing and discussing children’s experiences and learning, and not looking at unnecessary paperwork.

We continue to work hard to bust myths about inspection and paperwork. We’ll keep these survey findings under review as we introduce the new framework.

While you’re here, why not take a look at some of our other Wellbeing articles. Or you could sign up to our Wellbeing newsletter using the handy form below!

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