How to reduce your paperwork levels in childcare!
Sometimes working in the early years sector whether as a manager or practitioner it can sometimes be hard to see the children for all the paperwork. It is preventing practitioners from fully implementing the play based curriculum and in turn could be accused of hindering development. The large amounts of paperwork are responsible for increasing stress levels and rapidly becoming a reason why practitioners are leaving the early years sector.
When it comes to paperwork practitioners are looking ways to reduce the level completed without compromising the quality of the setting or endangering the children. The question is can this be achieved? Below we will explore some options and discover whether there is any hope for practitioners hoping to reduce their paperwork levels.
Ways paperwork could be reduced…
- Be realistic – Be realistic about the amount of paperwork that actually needs to completed, don’t write a thousand repetitive observations, complete learning journeys entries three times a month or double up on forms all saying a very similar thing
- Keep up to date – Keeping work up to date as it happens can prevent a build up of stress and anxiety worrying about all the work that needs doing. It also means when paperwork is due to be completed it can be done in a more efficient time.
- Be organised – Being organised with regards to paperwork can make it simpler to complete tasks, for example having sheets and forms easily accessible.
- Digital learning journeys – Many practitioners love having digital learning journeys. Some of the apps that make these take all the observations you write and place them onto planning sheets and learning journey pages with little effort from the practitioner. Some also show the EYFS links so you can click a matching one to the observation, it will then use these to complete tracking sheets for you. Some argue this defeats the point of learning journeys however as they are not a requirement it is a good way to save a large amount of time. Some would also argue that this doesn’t really save a great deal of time and means practitioners are spending too much time on computers or tablets rather than with the children. Read more about this argument here.
- In the moment planning – These means less time is spent filling a planning sheet in in one go as it done literally as the title suggests and is done in the moment. To learn more about in the moment planning, follow the link here.
The truth is that the above techniques will help to manage the level of paperwork and help with stress management from the work load however the level of paperwork that must be completed does not appear to be being reduced any time soon. In order to protect the children, follow the framework and meet Ofsted regulations the majority of the paperwork that is completed is needed under the current guidelines. Practitioners and managers greatest hope is for there to be changes to the framework and regulations which allow some reduction in the work load.