Although in principle, as the revised EYFS came in for September 2012, I thought this was an excellent idea. But as a manager I was concerned that it was something else to organise, to keep checking that they were being attended to and then it would be necessary to quality check the final reports. Also, there was going to be an extra challenge to co-ordinate to ensure all parties (other carers, providers and professionals) could be involved and on board. At the time in the economic climate, many families had reduced their weekly hours and this had in turn increased the number of ‘carers’ in a week; I thought this could be a logistical nightmare. Then of course, there were those children who already had others involved; how could we engage with the Speech and Language Therapist and/or Social Care? Finally, I was concerned about the time it would take. So thinking cap on …. to find a solution and produce a 2-3yr Progress Check that met the National Standard but that was also feasible, practical and generated something of quality for sparkPRO in a manageable manner. How could this be tackled?
Our 2-3 Progress Check is organised over five weeks. It helps both parties arrange a mutual convenient time to meet in the sixth week. A summary chart reassuringly shows managers how the process is progressing by indicating parts started and completed across the weeks. sparkPRO guides Practitioners to complete a short and quick process each week. Each part mainly taking 15 minutes with two slightly longer, so it is manageable and children’s supervision doesn’t suffer. As the meeting date is organised the software guides the Practitioner to check out if ‘this is the right time’ for the assessment and sparkPRO generates communication to those involved in the child’s life by automated emails (after parent permission) so they can be completely involved. Parents, carers and other external professionals, feed their information in electronically while the setting completes their assessment. From the setting’s perspective the process also acknowledges the child’s next steps and suggestions are given automatically, in how these may be achieved at home. Finally, conclusions are made with the parents/carers at the meeting and the report is ready.
The Progress Check also includes photographs from home and the education provider. Additionally, it automatically pulls relevant information from the sparkPRO software regarding their progress. Instantly complete, the report is ready to download as a PDF ready to be printed/emailed on. So my stress levels are back in check! Practitioners enjoy the process … “…overall it is a great thing to have and a fantastic way to be able to meet children’s needs better, more effectively and holistically.” Kayley Amber (Level 3 Practitioner)
… and parents are impressed with the professional report they receive!
“I have had positive feedback from parents that I have worked with in the process and they have found it very useful, they have also gained a better knowledge of their child’s development and have discussed what they can do at home to help their child develop further.” (Kayley Amber)
From a manager’s perspective, the idea of introducing the Progress Check, I believe was a good one. It has increased mutual understanding between both parties the parent/carer and practitioner and has increased communication. As a strategy it has encouraged parents to work with us and for staff to value parents/carers more. Likewise, where other professionals and carers are involved.
THE CHALLENGE NOW IN 2014
We encourage parents to pass the reports onto their Health Visitor. We send them a PDF. However, many don’t know who their Health Visitor is and are not asked about the Progress Check should they have their ‘Two Year Check’ by their Health Visitor in person. We suggest they print the report and deliver it for the child’s Health Visitors attention – to their doctor’s surgery.
As a setting we haven’t had any acknowledgement that a 2-3yr Progress Check has been received.