Baseline Assessment
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  1. #1
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    Default Baseline Assessment

    At what point after a child starts do you perform a baseline assessment? I had previously done it at 6 weeks but my last inspector said this isnt any good as we need to be assessing from the very start and "closing any gaps". My argument was that i need time to assess the child and that i make observations of the child from day one but she didn't accept this! So when do you all do yours?

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    Usually after a month as I have that time as a settling in/no notice needed/ time but maybe i could do it earlier. I think it all depends on the child as some settle much quicker than others and until then as we all know their behaviour is possibly not true to who they are. I had a 3 year old who was great for the first month and then it went downhill for about a month (still don't know why) but then reverted back and is fine now. I don't see how we can assess too early with some children so I think I'll do a case by case systen from now and do some earlier than others.

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    I generally do the 'formal' ( ie ... fill in the boxes ) assessment after 4 weeks ... sometimes sooner, sometimes later - depends how often and for how long a child attends.

    I ask parents to highlight the relevant sections/pages from 'what to expect when' when the child starts, so i have something to go from, but usually you can get an idea of where the child is within a short space of time. Sometimes ( once in a blue moon! ) if a child has come from another setting, then you may see a copy of their tracker/obs from there, which can also help.

    I think it takes about 4 weeks, as you need time to cover all areas, without child being asked to 'do this, do that, now try the other'.

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    I start assessing from day 1, by observing. But I meet with parents after about 4 weeks for a formal Starting Points review and report including parents in put.

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    Like others I observed from day 1 and recorded as I observed, adding to the parents on arrival assessments, setting next steps after a week in any areas that my obs had led into. Like Moggy I always had a review meeting with parents after a month when all areas had been planned for and therefore evidence recorded, along with the parents input and the next steps planned together. This then was my main evidence for baseline assessment.

    If an Ofsted inspector highlights practice and suggests something, it is highly likely that this area will be revisited on their next inspection and an expectation that their advice has been acted upon, if it was recorded.
    I had the same inspector twice, they sometimes stick to geographical areas, so that also means that the inspectors pet focus areas often come up again.

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    Just do it earlier then. Like Floradora said, if it has been noted they will definitely check it next time you are inspected. If you haven't got as much info/evidence as you would have had after six weeks then so be it.

    You will probably find that you are observing from day one anyway - certain things you only need to see once before you can say they have achieved it - for example, walking down stairs using one foot on each step, or using a spoon to feed themselves (off the top of my head). If the child is unsettled and refusing to eat anything at yours then use the evidence that the parents give you regarding eating (even if it may not be totally true...). I bet you also start planning for next steps to be worked towards earlier than six weeks too.

    Another way of looking at it is that after six weeks the child has probably made a bit of progress thanks to you and so you should get some credit for it!

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    It depends how often the child is with me. I’ve recently finished an assessment for a new child. They’ve been with me about 6 weeks but they only come one day a week. So would that be considered a baseline assessment after 6 weeks or 6 days. There is a big difference in time. But I observe from the moment they arrive and plan and risk assess continually probably like yourself but we aren’t always conscious we’re doing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mumofone View Post
    At what point after a child starts do you perform a baseline assessment? I had previously done it at 6 weeks but my last inspector said this isnt any good as we need to be assessing from the very start and "closing any gaps". My argument was that i need time to assess the child and that i make observations of the child from day one but she didn't accept this! So when do you all do yours?
    First up, mumofone, I am convinced your way is correct and your inspectre's is wrong.

    Much of CMing (the hard part) is about squaring the circle in order to fulfil two opposing goals. We have to do what’s best for the child, whilst simultaneously meeting regulatory requirements whilst, which they claim to represent what’s best for the child, seldom do so. The solution, and the real art of CMing, lies in finding a way to both fulfil and subvert the EYFS at the same time.

    Often that means that, on the surface, you let the Wookiee win whilst quietly, imperceptibly defeating them by doing the right thing behind their back.

    Ever heard of Red Adair? He was the world specialist in fighting oil well fires from the 1960's to the 90's. He famously used to offer oil company bosses a simple choice: "you can get it done cheap; you can get it done fast; you can get it done good....... pick two." This is now seen as a rule of any business transaction or activity.

    The Red Adair Principle applies equally well to baseline assessments....... and unfortunately we’re already cheap. So, do we do it "fast" or"good"?

    Ofsted clearly want it done fast, whilst we want it done good.

    For my own practice, I treat this as two different customers. The first customer is Ofsted, for whose sake I do a 'fast' v1 baseline assessment, within a week of the start date, using information provided by parents, any other settings, and my scant observations including those drawn from pre-setting visits. The second customer is an amalgamation of the child/family and my own conscience. That 'customer' gets v2 done "good" at a later date when I feel I can do a proper job on an accurate assessment.

    I have reached the point where, as a mark of respectful honesty toward parents who have to read it, I make a clear statement in v1 explaining that Ofsted require an instant assessment, and the reasons why I believe that can produce seriously flawed results.

    IMHO this subject is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s wrong with education. Nobody ever stops to question the methodology or motives of how and why we all do what we’re required to do.
    Last edited by bunyip; 12-08-2018 at 07:46 AM.

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    Thanks everyone, this is really helpful and food for thought. I actually had the finding removed from my report as they weren't able to support the finding with evidence of when I should have actually performed it which i thought interesting! We went round in circles before they agreed to remove it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bunyip View Post
    First up, mumofone, I am convinced your way is correct and your inspectre's is wrong.

    Much of CMing (the hard part) is about squaring the circle in order to fulfil two opposing goals. We have to do what’s best for the child, whilst simultaneously meeting regulatory requirements whilst, which they claim to represent what’s best for the child, seldom do so. The solution, and the real art of CMing, lies in finding a way to both fulfil and subvert the EYFS at the same time.

    Often that means that, on the surface, you let the Wookiee win whilst quietly, imperceptibly defeating them by doing the right thing behind their back.

    Ever heard of Red Adair? He was the world specialist in fighting oil well fires from the 1960's to the 90's. He famously used to offer oil company bosses a simple choice: "you can get it done cheap; you can get it done fast; you can get it done good....... pick two." This is now seen as a rule of any business transaction or activity.

    The Red Adair Principle applies equally well to baseline assessments....... and unfortunately we’re already cheap. So, do we do it "fast" or"good"?

    Ofsted clearly want it done fast, whilst we want it done good.

    For my own practice, I treat this as two different customers. The first customer is Ofsted, for whose sake I do a 'fast' v1 baseline assessment, within a week of the start date, using information provided by parents, any other settings, and my scant observations including those drawn from pre-setting visits. The second customer is an amalgamation of the child/family and my own conscience. That 'customer' gets v2 done "good" at a later date when I feel I can do a proper job on an accurate assessment.

    I have reached the point where, as a mark of respectful honesty toward parents who have to read it, I make a clear statement in v1 explaining that Ofsted require an instant assessment, and the reasons why I believe that can produce seriously flawed results.

    IMHO this subject is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s wrong with education. Nobody ever stops to question the methodology or motives of how and why we all do what we’re required to do.
    Haha! Love this!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mumofone View Post
    Thanks everyone, this is really helpful and food for thought. I actually had the finding removed from my report as they weren't able to support the finding with evidence of when I should have actually performed it which i thought interesting! We went round in circles before they agreed to remove it.
    Brilliant! Good for you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mumofone View Post
    Thanks everyone, this is really helpful and food for thought. I actually had the finding removed from my report as they weren't able to support the finding with evidence of when I should have actually performed it which i thought interesting! We went round in circles before they agreed to remove it.
    Aside from the fundamentally flawed methodology of their inspection regime as a whole, Ofsted would really struggle if they were required to justify all their judgements by reference to 'chapter and verse' from EYFS.

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