Helping managers monitor practitioners practice
Monitoring staff practice is necessary to ensure the children are receiving the highest standard of learning and practitioners are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities. Finding time to monitor practitioners practice can be difficult and often this task gets forgotten. There are a range of ways managers are able to monitor practice efficiently;
Peer to Peer Observations
Peer to Peer observations give practitioners the opportunity to build on their practice and make adjustments to improve. Practitioners take it in turns to observe one another’s practice and provide feedback. Each observation should be written down in order to give positive feedback and ways to improve; this can be done using a peer to peer observation sheet. It is important to try and have different practitioners observing each time to ensure the observations provide a true reflection of the practice. These observations can be shared with the manager and used to gather evidence to support supervisions or appraisals. Peer to Peer observations should be carried out regularly to support continuous professional development and encourage best practice amongst the staff team.
Providing mentors can be a great way to induct new staff into the setting and ensure that practitioners are aware what is expected of them. Managers can provide new employees with a mentor, a staff member who has a great deal of experience within the setting. This allows practitioners to share best practice and support one another in every day practice.
Regular training opportunities are paramount to maintaining a high standard of practice within your setting. The Early Years sector is constantly changing so it is important that all practitioners are aware of up to date childhood theories and modern pedagogy to support the best outcomes for the children. Training courses are readily available within the Early Years sector and are designed to build on practitioner’s knowledge and skills to further their understanding and improve practice. It is advised that settings keep an up to date training matrix of all training to ensure relevant core training has been accessed and in order to meet Ofsted requirements. All practitioners can benefit from staff training courses through cascade training opportunities, sharing the skills and knowledge through staff meetings.
Supervisions are a great way to support and encourage staff practice. Managers should carry out supervisions as much as required however it is advised that they are offered every 6-8 weeks as a minimum. Supervisions provide both practitioners and managers to have a discussion about the staff members practice, areas of concern or general thoughts concerning every day life within the setting. Practitioners should be given the opportunity to give their opinions and thoughts, whilst the manager should identify areas for praise and improvement. Supervisions can also be used as evidence for the appraisal period.
Appraisals can be carried out every 6 months or annually depending on the size of the staff team and the needs of the setting. Appraisals give both managers and practitioners the opportunity to reflect on their practice and their job roles in order to maintain continuous professional development. Appraisal forms are to be completed by the practitioner to gather opinions on their strengths, weakness, likes and dislikes of their role. This is then shared with the manager and an appraisal meeting then takes place to review the appraisal. Managers can use previous supervisions to identify areas in need of support and highlight any regular concerns. The appraisal period also gives managers the opportunity to offer praise to their staff members on areas that may be overlooked throughout the year. Supervision and appraisal forms can be found here.
Above are just some of the ways managers can monitor practitioners practice. Ofsted is very keen to see how managers lead their team, and this will be judged during an inspection.