As a team we have decided not to do next steps. I’ve honestly never liked them. I’ve always said if I could ditch them I would, but Ofsted always ask about them so they’ve stuck…for years!!
I recently read Sue Allingham blog (https://famly.co/blog/management/sue-allingham-next-steps/) on what next steps really are and are they useful. At a staff meeting my staff were saying pretty much the same thing. We make some that are finished before we’ve completed writing the sentence, others we are so ambitious children don’t reach them in the allotted time limit. Staff spend time procrastinating over wording, making the SMART choosing a learning area, and in our opinion, wasting time.
As Sue Allingham states, children progress in front of our eyes. We offer challenges, engage in co-learning conversations and tune into our children’s way of learning. If we concentrate on one or two specific targets we miss so much more of children’s development. This is perfectly demonstrated by this research video that Laura Henry recently showed me https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IGQmdoK_ZfY, watch to the end and you’ll get the analogy. I also remember one term going through next steps and 75% were on writing, maths coming second. There are seven areas of learning, the setting were homing in mainly on two. I mentioned it but I wasn’t worried, as I knew the variety of the activities on offer was broad and balanced.
With change comes a health warning. The trick is to know your key children well. Know their starting points, know what they’re learning journey has been, and know where you’re heading with them. Basically if you know your children and have good knowledge of child development you know the journey you want to take them on. Ofsted want these stories when they come to us, be ready to tell them.
We are still tracking children on our online platform. We believe this informs and helps us plan. For us we print out the keyperson tracking which stays in the key persons pocket and is a working document to scribble (quick) notes on if and when needed.
Planning, whatever your settings form take should be child centred and reflect all staff and children. Again it shouldn’t be long winded and arduous. Spend more time with the children, that’s where the progress takes place.
Whatever you do, do it for the children. Do paperwork that helps you not that which adds stress to the work process. Be reflective always and make the learning exciting!