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The introduction of the Foundation Stage Profile; the early experiences of one LEA

Danny Durant
Teacher Adviser, Worcestershire LEA, email: ddurant@worcestershire.gov.uk

Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh,
11-13 September 2003

Abstract

The Foundation Stage Profile (FSP) is a national assessment scheme that has been introduced in England. The introduction has taken the form of a national pilot in 2003 with the full scheme being implemented in 2003/2004. The paper reports on how the scheme has been introduced, the issues that have arisen for schools and the role that the LEA plays in supporting schools. The paper then reports on an early analysis of the results received from schools.

Introduction

In 1998, DfES (Department for Education and Skills) issued Circular 6/98 making it a requirement for baseline assessment schemes to be used on entry to schools with effect from the autumn term 1998/99. It was further required that schemes used within LEAs (Local Education Authorities) had received QCA (Qualification and Curriculum Authority) accreditation. This resulted in a range of schemes being accredited and used by LEAs. Worcestershire LEA used the Early Years Profile (Durant 2001). The introduction of the Foundation Stage in September 2000, together with its curriculum guidance, meant those arrangements for baseline assessment had to change.

Why was the Foundation Stage Profile (FSP) introduced ?

From November 2000 to January 2001, QCA held a consultation and there were three main proposals;

QCA reported that the consultation received wide support.

Annex 1 provides the DfES rationale for the introduction of FSP.

How was the FSP introduced ?

The overriding adjective to use to describe the introduction of FSP has to be 'late' as a look at the following table of events shows. This caused operational difficulties and frustration for schools and LEA staff.

Event

When ?

National Foundation for Educational Research and Birmingham LEA develop FSP

2001 and 2002

QCA sent out a leaflet to schools and LEAs giving basic information regarding the introduction of the Foundation Stage Profile.

March 2002

Letter from DfES to all Directors of Education, Chief Advisers, Assessment Advisors, Early Years/Foundation Stage Advisors, Performance Data Advisors, Standards Fund Managers

April 2002 Ref: LEA/0121/2002

(note Annex 1)

Training for LEA staff at regional QCA conferences

January 2003

(note these were originally scheduled for the autumn term)

Awareness sessions for Worcestershire LEA Headteachers and Reception Class teachers

During March 2003

(These were originally scheduled for January 2003. As information was still coming through from DfES during this period, the information that the LEA was able to provide to schools at these sessions changed from session to session)

DfES informed LEAs about the data collection arrangements for the FSP in Summer 2003 and indicated the imminent availability of the eProfile software.

14 March 2003

Receipt by the LEA of E-profile software

11th April 2003

Evaluation of, and identification of errors in, the E-profile software

Late April and early May 2003

(note schools closed for Easter holiday period on April 11th until April 28th)

Issue of corrected E-profile software to LEAs

May 2003

E-profile software available to schools

June 2003

(given the timing, it was not possible to hold any software training sessions for schools. Support was done entirely by telephone)

Clarification issued by DfES about matters, especially concerned with data collection.

June and July 2003

Recording and submission of data by schools

July 2003

Data analysis

August 2003

Submission of data by schools that weren't able to submit the data in July

September 2003

Submission of data to DfES

October 2003

Assessment scales

The Foundation Stage Profile captures the early learning goals as a set of thirteen assessment scales, each of which has nine points (see Appendix 3). The first three points describe a child who is still progressing towards the achievements described in the early learning goals, and are based mainly on the stepping stones in the curriculum guidance. Most children will achieve all of these three points before they achieve any of the early learning goals, but there may be some exceptions to this pattern.

The next five points are drawn from the early learning goals themselves. These are presented in approximate order of difficulty, according to evidence from trials. However, the points are not necessarily hierarchical and a child may achieve a later point without having achieved some or all of the earlier points.

The final point in each scale describes a child who has achieved all the points from 1-8 on that scale, has developed further both in breadth and depth, and is working consistently beyond the level of the early learning goals.

However the scales are 'black and white' in the sense that the only option for a teacher is to mark that a child either has or hasn't achieved the particular item. There isn't any 'grey' to indicate that a child is, for example, almost at the point of achieving a particular item. As the difference between achieving and not achieving a particular item is often marginal, the difference between a score of, for example, 4 and 7 may not be that different.

The Foundation Stage Profile in 2002 / 2003

As a consequence of the late implementation of FSP in 2002 / 2003, it was only possible to ask schools to assess their children and identify what had been achieved by each child by the end of the Foundation Stage. Doing this work and entering it onto computer added an administrative burden on schools in terms of recording and submitting the assessments. There was discussion within the LEA and with the Unions over the issue of teacher workload.

Moderation

Moderation of the Foundation Stage Profile will be a statutory duty and cannot therefore be funded by the Standards Fund. As FSP is based on teacher assessments, this is a crucial feature. Fortunately the existing Worcestershire LEA accredited baseline scheme (Early Years Profile -EYP) was wholly based on teacher assessments and so the introduction of FSP didn't produce any implementation issues. However given the timing of the introduction it has not been possible to moderate the 2002 / 2003 assessments.

Data collection

The responsibility for each school is to submit to their LEA, a child's summary scores for each scale and not the individual points of achievement within each scale. The transfer of electronic data from schools to Worcestershire LEA has been an established procedure for a number of years. The majority of schools successfully completed the process.

The responsibility for each LEA is to submit to DfES

LEA data analysis

Schools submitted the individual level assessment data as required to the LEA. Data from 144 schools covering over 4500 children were received and the data were explored and analysed. The major issue for any data collection and analysis exercise is 'what does the data show and how will it be used ?

What does the data tell us at child level ?

FSP requires that teachers stand back and look at their children (this is a good thing) and assess them according to the FSP scales (this might not be such a good thing). The data that have been analysed show what has been achieved by each child by the end of the FSP.

The fundamental data issue is how the FSP 'score' is calculated at child level. The assessment items in most if not all of the sections are not necessarily sequential or hierarchical. For example see the final item in Appendix 3 (Creative Development area of learning).

On this basis a 'score' of 4 will mean all the first three items plus any other one item. A 'score' of 4 could also mean two of the first three items plus any other two items. In the example above child (b) and (c) score the same, but are not the same. This inconsistency is replicated across all the scales.

A child may have some of points 4-7 without having 1, 2 and 3, but a child cannot have point 9 unless 1-8 have been achieved.

The nine children in the following table came from the same school (selected as it was a small school and provided a concise table of data).

Child

Gender

Month of birth

PSE AS1

PSE AS2

PSE AS3

PSE AOL

CLL AS1

CLL AS2

CLL AS3

CLL AS4

CLL AOL

MAT AS1

MAT AS2

MAT AS3

MAT AOL

KUW AOL

PHY AOL

CRE AOL

FSP Total

a

M

4

7

7

8

22

6

3

4

3

16

4

6

7

17

7

7

7

76

b

M

4

7

7

7

21

7

6

5

6

24

7

7

7

21

8

8

7

89

e

M

4

8

8

8

24

7

6

7

6

26

8

8

9

25

8

8

8

99

f

F

4

9

9

8

26

7

9

8

8

32

8

9

9

26

8

8

8

108

d

M

7

7

7

7

21

7

7

8

6

28

8

8

9

25

7

8

7

96

g

F

8

8

9

8

25

8

7

8

7

30

8

8

9

25

8

8

8

104

h

M

9

8

9

8

25

8

7

7

8

30

8

8

9

25

8

8

7

103

I

F

11

8

9

8

25

8

7

8

7

30

8

8

9

25

8

8

8

104

c

M

12

8

8

8

24

8

7

8

6

29

8

8

9

25

8

7

8

101

Child ( a ), as can be seen from the above table, has low scores in the Communication, language and literacy area for learning (CLL), especially AS2, 3 and 4. Most of the other children appear to have similar scores across FSP.

By way of illustration, consider children ( b ) and ( e ) from the above table. They are both boys born in April (month = 4) and both scored 6 on Writing (CLLAS4). The score of 6 could be achieved in a variety of ways (as shown below) and schools do not report this to the LEA. Child ( b ) has strong phonic knowledge and is beginning to use it well, whereas child ( e ) is writing, but has no clear understanding of phonics. In terms of learning and teaching the two boys require completely different learning objectives.

b

e

Writing (CLLAS4)

1) Experiments with mark-making, sometimes ascribing meaning to the marks.

2) Uses some clearly identifiable letters to communicate meaning.

3) Represents some sounds correctly in writing.

4) Writes own name and other words from memory.

5) Holds a pencil and uses it effectively to form recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed.

 

6) Attempts writing for a variety of purposes, using features of different forms.

 

7) Uses phonic knowledge to write simple regular words and make phonetically plausible attempts at more complex words.

 

 

8) Begins to form captions and simple sentences, sometimes using punctuation.

 

 

9) Communicates meaning through phrases and simple sentences with some consistency in punctuating sentences.

The above example is more marked when children are only scoring 4 or 5 on a particular scale i.e. there are more possible permutations of scores. As long as teachers within the school continue to talk to each other about the particular individual needs of the children, the impact of this scoring anomaly should be minimised within that school. It would be impossible to plan for a child's curriculum needs from the FSP score alone.

What does the data tell us at school level ?

If we look at the data from the same school it is possible to show the number and percentage of children;

School summary

Number working

% working

Towards ELG

Within ELG

Achieved all ELG

Beyond ELG

Towards ELG

Within ELG

Achieved all ELG

Beyond ELG

n

PSE AS1

3

5

1

0%

33%

56%

11%

9

PSE AS2

3

2

4

0%

33%

22%

44%

9

PSE AS3

2

7

0%

22%

78%

0%

9

PSE AOL

CLL AS1

5

4

0%

56%

44%

0%

9

CLL AS2

1

7

1

11%

78%

0%

11%

9

CLL AS3

4

5

0%

44%

56%

0%

9

CLL AS4

1

6

2

11%

67%

22%

0%

9

CLL AOL

MAT AS1

2

7

0%

22%

78%

0%

9

MAT AS2

2

6

1

0%

22%

67%

11%

9

MAT AS3

2

7

0%

22%

0%

78%

9

MAT AOL

KUW AOL

2

7

0%

22%

78%

0%

9

PHY AOL

2

7

0%

22%

78%

0%

9

CRE AOL

4

5

0%

44%

56%

0%

9

FSP Total

The table indicates that in most cases, most children within the school have achieved the Early Learning Goals and are most likely to be ready for the National Curriculum at Key Stage One. However there are children within the school who have yet to complete the Early Learning Goals and for whom the National Curriculum at Key Stage One may not yet be appropriate. This matter is further complicated as a consequence of the above discussion of the scoring scheme and the wide range of possible scoring permutations. At present there is little allowance for transition between Foundation Stage and National Curriculum - should these children be subjected to a curriculum for which they are not yet ready?

What does the data tell us at LEA level ?

Data from 144 schools covering over 4500 children were received and the data were analysed. There were a small minority of children where an individual result was missing probably caused by a mistake when entering the data in school (given the limited time towards the end of term to enter the data, this is not unsurprising).

The number of children within the 144 schools ranged from 4 to 90 (i.e. a range of small and large school), there was an even gender balance and an even distribution of children born in each month.

The following chart displays the distribution of FSP Total scores (117 is the maximum score).

The graph appears to be have the 'expected' graph shape with increasing numbers of children having higher scores and then dropping off towards the maximum scores, but what does it actually show ?

Instead of looking at the FSP total score, it is more useful to examine the proportion of the children working at the various ELG levels and also examine the data separately for each of the FSP items.

The following table displays the percentage of children within the LEA at the various stages of the early learning goals.

LEA summary

(n = 4533)

% working

Towards ELG (score = 1-3)

Within ELG (score = 4-7)

Achieved all ELG (score = 8)

Beyond ELG (score = 9)

PSE AS1

2.2%

37.0%

27.9%

32.9%

PSE AS2

3.9%

35.2%

27.7%

33.0%

PSE AS3

4.9%

34.5%

30.3%

30.0%

PSE AOL

CLL AS1

5.8%

42.1%

24.7%

27.1%

CLL AS2

14.9%

45.7%

11.8%

27.0%

CLL AS3

5.4%

51.3%

23.2%

19.7%

CLL AS4

11.4%

53.9%

20.6%

13.5%

CLL AOL

MAT AS1

3.8%

36.3%

30.8%

28.7%

MAT AS2

9.6%

44.0%

27.9%

17.3%

MAT AS3

4.6%

41.2%

30.0%

23.6%

MAT AOL

KUW AOL

5.3%

38.7%

42.7%

12.9%

PHY AOL

3.1%

31.4%

39.9%

25.1%

CRE AOL

3.2%

41.6%

35.1%

19.1%

FSP Total

In most cases, most of the children have achieved the Early Learning Goals and are most likely to be ready for the National Curriculum at Key Stage One.

There are a significant number of children who have yet to complete the Early Learning Goals and for whom the National Curriculum at Key Stage One may not yet be appropriate. At present there is little allowance for transition between Foundation Stage and National Curriculum - should these children be subjected to a curriculum for which they are not yet ready?

It is not possible to show these figures for the PSE, CLL and Maths Areas of Learning that are made up of subsets of scores. Consider a child whose score for the PSE AOL (comprising PSEAS1, 2 and 3) is 11. That score of 11 could arise from a wide range of score combinations including;

Child

PSEAS1

PSEAS2

PSEAS3

PSE AOL

A

3

3

5

11

B

4

4

3

11

C

5

1

5

11

D

6

1

4

11

E

7

2

2

11

For the PSE AOL, which of the above children could be considered to be 'progressing towards the early learning goals' (score = 1,2 or 3) and which to be 'working within the early learning goals' (score = 4,5,6 or 7) ?

Look at gender analyses

As shown in the following table, the mean score for females was higher than the corresponding figure for males in every case. This corresponds with findings reported in Durant (2001), but poses the question 'should boys and girls perform the same or should we expect them to perform the same ?'

The term 'underachieving' is often used to describe the performance of boys, but these analyses suggest that it is only 'underachievement' if boys and girls are expected to achieve the same.

The following series of charts show the proportion of the children working at the various ELG levels by gender. The three graphs displaying data from the Personal, Social and Emotional area of learning have a similar pattern with

 

The graphs displaying the data from the Communication, Language and literacy area of learning have a similar pattern to that from the Personal, Social and Emotional area of learning, but with the peak of children working within the early learning goals. This suggests that more time is required for children to develop these higher order skills.

The pattern in MAT1 is for more equal proportions of boys and girls. This reflects the fact that no writing/recording is required and boys at this age are able to cope with this and do as well as girls in this situation.

In MAT2 and MAT3, the gender balance is again even, with more children at the early stages of developing calculation skills.

 

The physical development area of learning graph is similar to PSE3 and the graph reflects the fact that fine and gross motor skills are more developed in girls than boys.

The creative development graph is interesting in that over 50% of the boys are working towards and within the early learning goals. We need to consider whether 'creativity' for boys is different to that for girls. Is the fact that the majority of early years teachers are female (it is estimated that 1% of early years teachers in Worcestershire LEA are male) a factor in these measures ?

Month of birth analyses

It can be seen from the following chart that there is a distinct pattern of FSP Total scores. There are examples of children with maximum scores (117) from all months. However the median figure reduces across the school year with September-born children having a higher FSP total than the August-born children. This repeats the pattern reported in Durant (2001) and shows what one would expect; children born towards the end of the academic year have been assessed at the lower levels indicating their relative immaturity.

This pattern is repeated when looking at the data by gender with the widest interquartile ranges and longest tails coming from boys born between months 4-8 (April and August).

What does the data tell us at national level ?

As LEAs only have to submit overall aggregated results at each summary scale point score in each assessment scale; area of learning and overall Profile, it will only be possible for DfES to calculate an overall national picture. What will this show ?

It will be possible to construct a table similar to the one above showing the number and percentage of children;

It will be possible to construct a table showing the above figures for each LEA in comparison with the national figures.

The FSP will only provide limited information at national level.

As there wasn't a national data collection of all individual childrens' FSP results, it will not be possible for DfES to calculate any national value added analyses from FSP to Key Stage One in the future.

Issues for Worcestershire LEA

The use of the Early Years Profile (EYP) in Worcestershire LEA was the subject of a paper (Durant 2001) presented to the 2001 BERA conference. Although baseline assessment is no longer a statutory obligation from 2002/03, schools and LEAs can carry out an on-entry assessment. In Worcestershire this is a possible development that is under consideration.

The Foundation Stage Profile in 2003 / 2004

The use of FSP in 2003 / 2004 will be different from that in 2002 / 2003. The main reason will be that teachers can use the FSP and associated software from September to record the times during the year when individual children reached particular points on the assessment items. It will then be possible to produce details of 'children's progress' over the year. A further evaluation of the scheme should be undertaken in summer 2004. However given what is already known about the scheme and the functions of the eProfile software, a number of issues may arise. For example, is FSP to be developed to be used in more diagnostic mode or is it to remain as a pure recording device ? If so, schools will still need to assess children for curriculum planning purposes.

Summary

An early paragraph in this paper dealt with 'Why was the FSP introduced ?'. The three main DfES / QCA proposals have been achieved;

that the 90 existing baseline assessment schemes should be replaced by a single national scheme linked to the Early Learning Goals

There now exists a single, summative national scheme that is reported at the end of the Foundation Stage

the timing of the assessment should be moved to the end of the Foundation Stage

the new assessment should summarise what each child knows, understands and can do in relation to the Early Learning Goals

In the DfES letter (Annex 1), it states

' Headteachers and LEAs may be concerned about the need to have a figure when children enter full time education at the start of reception - so that they can show value added during the reception year.'

Is a figure needed ? A child may have, for example, a FSP score of 60 at the start of the reception year and a score of 85 at the end of the reception year demonstrating a 'value added score' of 25 (85-60) during the reception year. What does this figure actually show and achieve (especially considering the earlier discussion in this paper about the assessment scales and what the data tells us) ?

What has been gained and what has been lost ?

Perhaps the answer depends upon your philosophy of Early Years education. At this point it may be interesting to note that in 'The learning country: foundation phase - 3 to 7 years', the National Assembly of Wales is taking a different approach and developing a non-academic foundation stage.

Carr (2001) reporting on the situation in New Zealand questions how assessment in early years should promote and protect learning and reflects on the rationale for assessment in early years.

An Ofsted study (Ofsted 2003) of education of six year olds in England, Denmark and Finland reported that

'there was no equivalent in either Denmark or Finland of baseline assessment or Foundation Stage Profile'

'most assessment practice in Danish and Finnish settings was consistent with the emphasis on socialisation and development of children's self esteem' 

The early analyses shown in this paper support the Danish / Finnish policy that young children are not developing their formal skills until beyond the age of five. In most cases, most of the children have achieved the Early Learning Goals and are most likely to be ready for the National Curriculum at Key Stage One. It has been shown here that girls develop these skills earlier than boys.

There are a significant number of children who have yet to complete the Early Learning Goals and for whom the National Curriculum at Key Stage One may not yet be appropriate. At present there is little allowance for transition between Foundation Stage and National Curriculum - should these children be subjected to a curriculum for which they are not yet ready ?

It will be interesting to see how things develop in the FSP area in England - perhaps these other countries have got it right ?

References

Carr M 2001 - Assessment in early years settings. Sage publications.

DfES 1998 - Baseline Assessment of Pupils starting Primary School (Circular 6/98)

Durant 2001- The use of the Early Years Profile baseline assessment scheme in Worcestershire LEA (paper presented to BERA Conference 2001)

QCA 1999 - Early learning goals October 1999. QCA 99/436 (superseded by "Curriculum guidance for the foundation stage", May 2000.)

QCA 2000 - Draft Planning for the Foundation Curriculum

QCA 2003 - Foundation Stage Profile Handbook QCA/03/1006 (January 2003)

National Assembly of Wales (2003) - The learning country: foundation phase - 3 to 7 years

Ofsted 2003 - The education of six year olds in England, Denmark and Finland An international comparative study

Annexes

  1. Letter from DfES to all Directors of Education, Chief Advisers, Assessment Advisors, Early Years/Foundation Stage Advisors, Performance Data Advisors, Standards Fund Managers Ref: LEA/0121/2002 (April 2002)
  2. FSP electronic profile (eProfile) information provided to LEAs by DfES (May 2003)
  3. The Foundation Stage Profile

Annex 1 - Letter from DfES to all Directors of Education, Chief Advisers, Assessment Advisors, Early Years/Foundation Stage Advisors, Performance Data Advisors, Standards Fund Managers Ref: LEA/0121/2002 (April 2002)

Dear Colleague

THE FOUNDATION STAGE PROFILE

This is the last academic year that Local Education Authorities will be under a statutory duty to ensure that baseline assessment is carried out in their schools. This letter explains the new arrangements and how they affect LEAs.

Reasons for changes and consultation

The introduction of the Foundation Stage in September 2000, together with its curriculum guidance, means that the current arrangements for baseline assessment have become outdated. From November 2000 to January 2001, QCA held a consultation with a wide variety of groups, including classroom practitioners, headteachers, LEA assessment advisers and parents. The three main proposals were that the 90 current baseline assessment schemes should be replaced by a single national scheme linked to the Early Learning Goals; the timing of the assessment should be moved to the end of the Foundation Stage; and the new assessment should summarise what each child knows, understands and can do in relation to the Early Learning Goals.

The majority of consultees supported these proposals and the new national scheme will be known as the Foundation Stage Profile.

Legislative framework

The statutory basis for the Foundation Stage Profile is contained in a clause in the Education Bill currently making its way through Parliament. The clause allows the Secretary of State to make an order setting out the assessment arrangements for the Foundation Stage. An order will be laid later this year that will set out the duties of LEAs and early years settings in relation to the Foundation Stage Profile.

The Foundation Stage Profile

A Foundation Stage Profile must be completed for each child who reaches the end of the Foundation Stage in a government-funded early years setting. For most children this will be in reception class but a minority of children will be in maintained nursery schools/classes or in a range of private and voluntary pre-school settings and independent schools where these places are being funded by an LEA. The Profile will cover all six areas of learning in the Curriculum guidance for the Foundation Stage: personal, social and emotional development; communication, language and literacy; mathematical development; knowledge and understanding of the world; physical development; and creative development. Each child's typical development and achievements will be recorded on assessment scales derived from the stepping stones and the Early Learning Goals. Practitioners completing the profiles will be using observations and ongoing assessment records gained during normal day-to-day classroom activity. There will be no requirement to carry out any specific assessment activities.

The assessment package will consist of a handbook and a Foundation Stage Profile booklet for each child. The handbook will offer advice on all aspects of the new assessment, including:

Development

The Foundation Stage Profile is still under development by the National Foundation for Educational Research and Birmingham City LEA. The first trial took place in November 2001 with around 500 children and a second and final trial will take place in June 2002, encompassing around 5,000 children. The materials for the second trial will be published on QCA's website in June: www.qca.org.uk. This will give everybody a clear idea of the shape of the final materials, although some changes are to be expected in the light of the outcomes of the trial.

Timing

The Foundation Stage Profile will be sent to schools and other government funded early years settings in January 2003 and must be completed for children reaching the end of the Foundation Stage by June 2003. The profiles can be completed throughout the year - or at the end of the year by transferring judgements from current class record keeping systems.

On-entry assessment

Baseline assessment will no longer be a statutory obligation from 2002/03. This will not prevent schools and LEAs from continuing to carry out an on-entry assessment - or using the Foundation Stage Profile at the beginning as well as the end of reception - if it is agreed that it will fulfil an important purpose, however, both LEAs and headteachers should be sensitive to the overall assessment load and should not burden practitioners and children unnecessarily. They will also need to consider whether current on-entry assessments relate appropriately to the early learning goals for the Foundation Stage.

In practice, different schools and settings will have different needs for assessment information when children enter that setting Schools and LEAs need to think about the purpose of on entry assessment. Children who are entering a reception class from an attached nursery class should not need to be assessed at this mid-point in the Foundation Stage. The nursery teacher will be able to give the reception class teacher all the information she needs to plan for continuity in teaching and learning.

However, in a different school - where the reception class receives children from many different pre-school settings with little or variable transfer information - an entry assessment may be important. Reception class teachers in this situation assessed children on entry in all sorts of ways before baseline assessment became statutory and may continue to do so in the future, tailoring their assessments to gather the information they need for planning teaching and learning in the reception year.

Headteachers and LEAs may be concerned about the need to have a figure when children enter full time education at the start of reception - so that they can show value added during the reception year. This could be achieved by reception class teachers completing a first recording on the Foundation Stage Profile in the first half of children's first term in reception, allowing them time settle in their new classes in order that reliable assessments can be made. (Currently, baseline assessments have to be completed within children's first seven weeks in reception.) These scores could then be added up so that they can be compared with the final score at the end of reception. However, only final scores will be collected nationally - so there would only be local, or school based year on year, comparative data.

The role of the LEA

From the new academic year for the Foundation Stage Profile, LEAs will be required to support practitioners by providing training and to promote the quality of the assessment through training and moderation. The handbook will contain guidance on these roles.

Training

Initial training should be provided for practitioners who will be carrying out the new assessment in 2003. Because development work on the profile will continue into the autumn term in 2002, in its first year of operation, materials will not be available until January 2003. The first round of training should be delivered as early as possible in the spring term 2003. However, we would hope in future years that LEAs would be able to begin training earlier in the school year. Given that the Foundation Stage Profile is based on teacher observation, it will be essential that teachers have an understanding of early childhood development/early education in carrying out this assessment. It may therefore be appropriate to combine Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership (EYDCP) agreed training for teachers in the Foundation Stage with planned training covering the procedural skills required for the Foundation Stage Profile such as recording assessments, working with parents etc. You may wish to contact the lead EYDCP officer based in the LEA to discuss the plans covering target 15 in the 2002-03 EYDCP Implementation Plans.

It will also be important that headteachers and year 1 teachers are informed about the Foundation Stage Profile. Headteachers will then be in a good position to monitor the fulfilment of the requirements in their school and Y1 teachers will be able to make good use of the profiles in planning for continuity in learning and teaching. Training will need to be offered on an annual basis to support those new to the assessment each year.

Funding for training

The School Improvement strand of the Standards Fund currently supports training and supply cover for baseline assessment. As from financial year 2002-03, it can also be used to support training for the Foundation Stage Profile.

In planning training for the Foundation Stage Profile, LEAs might also wish to take account of the target that Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships (EYDCPs) have been set to provide qualified teachers in the Foundation Stage with the opportunity to improve their specialist knowledge of early years education. Funding for this target, amongst others we have set, may be supported from the Foundation Stage Fund (24 million) and Standards Fund grant for Early Years Training and Development (13.5 million).

Moderation

Moderation of practitioners' judgements will be integral to the scheme; therefore moderation of the Foundation Stage Profile will be a statutory requirement. LEAs will be responsible for the moderation process and the handbook will include guidance to support LEAs. Moderation can take place throughout the year and moderation activities can be a valuable part of any training session.

Funding for Moderation

Moderation of the Foundation Stage Profile will be a statutory duty and cannot therefore be funded by the Standards Fund. However, to ensure funding is available for moderation an additional 2 million will be available in Education Standard Spending from financial year 2003-04 onwards.

Data collection

There will be a national data collection of Foundation Stage Profiles. The data to be collected will be individual pupils' summary scale scores only in each of the 6 areas of learning - i.e. 17 scores in all including subtotals and overall total, together with pupil identifying data (i.e. UPN, name, date of birth, gender) and some contextual data (for example, mother tongue, special educational needs, pre-school experience and terms in school).

All maintained schools and funded settings delivering the Foundation Stage curriculum will be required to send their individual pupil data from the profile to their LEA by the end of the Summer Term 2003. In turn, LEAs will be required to send these data to the Department for Education and Skills by a date to be announced (this is likely to be early in the Autumn Term 2003).

The National Data Collection system is still under development, in consultation with a number of LEA data managers, but the main elements of the scheme will be the development of software:

Schools will be expected to use electronic methods of entering and transferring data. Forms will only be provided for use in funded settings or in small schools without computer systems. All data will be submitted electronically from LEAs to the Department.

The data collection exercise in 2003 is being treated as a national pilot, so that any issues arising from the collection of results from funded setting can be worked through, but all schools will be required to make a full return.

The data will be used to provide information about attainment so that schools and other settings can compare their results with the national picture.

Training, moderation and data collection in non-school settings

Unlike baseline assessment, the Foundation Stage Profile will also be completed in early-years settings other than schools. LEAs will need to ensure that assessment advisors work closely with Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships to identify and include these settings in the new arrangements.

Additional Information

In March QCA sent out a leaflet to schools and LEAs giving basic information regarding the introduction of the Foundation Stage Profile.

In 17/18 October this year, QCA will be holding its annual assessment conferences for all LEA assessment advisers. Amongst other aspects, the conferences will cover the new arrangements for the Foundation Stage Profile to provide support for LEAs in preparing training. It will be important for LEAs to nominate an appropriate officer to attend these conferences.

I hope the above information will be of help to you.

Yours sincerely

Elmaz Kirecci, Assessment Team, Parents and Performance Division, DfES

Annex 2 - Information provided by DfES about FSP electronic profile (April 2003)

The eProfile software has been developed by Suffolk County Council on behalf of the DfES in response to feedback from the Foundation Stage Profile Advisory Group. It was felt that an electronic version of the scales booklet would make it easier for practitioners to record incremental observations and maintain ongoing records. The software has been designed to support formative and summative assessment. It is capable of producing performance management information for group, class and school use. It will also interface with school management information systems (MIS) and produce school level summaries of pupil data for export to the LEA.

Functionality

The eProfile has been designed to support the formative and summative assessment of pupils during the Foundation Stage. It will allow practitioners to:

Terms of use

The use of the eProfile is voluntary.

The eProfile has been configured to be used in a standalone mode. If you choose to implement it in a network environment it will be the responsibility of the user. Neither the DfES nor Suffolk County Council accepts any responsibility for any problems caused as a result of installing the software on a network.

Helpdesk

A Helpdesk facility, provided by DfES (01325 392626), will be available to school and Early Years Setting users from 28 April until the end of the Summer term. Queries may be raised by email and messages may be recorded on an answerphone, for those without internet facilities.

Alternative recording methods

It is suggested that if schools are not to use the eProfile, they enter the FSP summary scores directly into their Management Information System (MIS). All school MIS suppliers are providing this facility as FSP summary scores are a Common Basic Data Set (CBDS) data item for the Common Transfer File (CTF). Schools will be able to export the FSP summary scores from the MIS as a CTF for transfer to the LEA. An Excel spreadsheet is also available for issue to schools and settings that are not using the eProfile nor the direct MIS entry. It is recommended that the spreadsheet should only be used as a fallback option. A paper version of the spreadsheet will also be available for settings that do not have computer facilities.

Annex 3 The Foundation Stage Profile

Area of learning - Personal, social and emotional development

Dispositions and attitudes

Social Development

Emotional development

1) Shows an interest in classroom activities through observation and participation.

1) Plays alongside others

1) Separates from main carer with support.

2) Dresses, undresses and manages own personal hygiene with adult support.

2) Builds relationships through gesture and talk

2) Communicates freely about home and community.

3) Displays high levels of involvement in self-chosen activities.

3) Takes turns and shares with adult support.

3) Expresses needs and feelings in appropriate ways.

4) Dresses and undresses independently and manages own personal hygiene.

4) Works as part of a group or class, taking turns and sharing fairly.

4) Responds to significant experiences, showing a range of feelings when appropriate.

5) Selects and uses activities and resources independently.

5) Forms good relationships with adults and peers.

5) Has a developing awareness of own needs, views and feelings and is sensitive to the needs, views and feelings of others.

6) Continues to be interested, motivated and excited to learn.

6) Understands that there need to be agreed values and codes of behaviour for groups of people, including adults and children, to work together harmoniously.

6) Has a developing respect for own culture and beliefs and those of other people.

7) Is confident to try new activities, initiate ideas and speak in a familiar group.

7) Understands that people have different needs, views, cultures and beliefs that need to be treated with respect.

7) Considers the consequences of words and actions for self and others

8) Maintains attention and concentrates.

8) Understands that s/he can expect others to treat her or his needs, views, cultures and beliefs with respect.

8) Understands what is right, what is wrong and why.

9) Sustains involvement and perseveres, particularly when trying to solve a problem or reach a satisfactory conclusion.

9) Takes into account the ideas of others.

9) Displays a strong and positive sense of self-identity and is able to express a range of emotions fluently and appropriately

 

Area of learning - Communication, language and literacy

Language for communication and thinking

Linking Sounds and letters

Reading

Writing

1) Listens and responds

1) Joins in with rhyming and rhythmic activities.

1) Is developing an interest in books

1) Experiments with mark-making, sometimes ascribing meaning to the marks.

2) Initiates communication with others, displaying greater confidence in more informal contexts.

2) Shows an awareness of rhyme and alliteration.

2) Knows that print conveys meaning.

2) Uses some clearly identifiable letters to communicate meaning.

3) Talks activities through, reflecting on and modifying actions

3) Links some sounds to letters.

3) Recognises a few familiar words.

3) Represents some sounds correctly in writing.

4) Listens with enjoyment to stories, songs, rhymes and poems, sustains attentive listening and responds with relevant comments, questions or actions.

4) Links sounds to letters, naming and sounding letters of the alphabet.

4) Knows that, in English, print is read from left to right and top to bottom.

4) Writes own name and other words from memory.

5) Uses language to imagine and recreate roles and experiences.

5) Hears and says initial and final sounds in words.

5) Shows an understanding of the elements of stories, such as main character, sequence of events and openings.

5) Holds a pencil and uses it effectively to form recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed.

6) Interacts with others in a variety of contexts, negotiating plans and activities and taking turns in conversation.

6) Hears and says short vowel sounds within words.

6) Reads a range of familiar and common words and simple sentences independently.

6) Attempts writing for a variety of purposes, using features of different forms.

7) Uses talk to organise, sequence and clarify thinking, ideas, feelings and events, exploring the meanings and sounds of new words.

7) Uses phonic knowledge to read simple regular words.

7) Retells narratives in the correct sequence, drawing on language patterns of stories.

7) Uses phonic knowledge to write simple regular words and make phonetically plausible attempts at more complex words.

8) Speaks clearly with confidence and control, showing awareness of the listener.

8) Attempts to read more complex words, using phonic knowledge.

8) Shows an understanding of how information can be found in non-fiction texts to answer questions about where, who, why and how.

8) Begins to form captions and simple sentences, sometimes using punctuation.

9) Talks and listens confidently showing awareness of the listener. Uses language with a range of appropriate vocabulary.

9) Uses knowledge of letters, sounds and words when reading and writing independently.

9) Reads books of own choice with some fluency and accuracy.

9) Communicates meaning through phrases and simple sentences with some consistency in punctuating sentences.

 

Area of learning - Mathematical development

Numbers as labels and for counting

Calculating

Shape space and measures

1) Says some number names in familiar contexts, such as nursery rhymes.

1) Responds to the vocabulary involved in addition and subtraction in rhymes and games.

1) Experiments with a range of objects and materials showing some mathematical awareness.

2) Counts reliably up to three everyday objects.

2) Recognises differences in quantity when comparing sets of objects.

2) Sorts or matches objects and talks about sorting.

3) Counts reliably up to six everyday objects.

3) Finds one more or one less from a group of up to five objects.

3) Describes shapes in simple models, pictures and patterns.

4) Says number names in order.

4) Relates addition to combining two groups.

4) Talks about, recognises and recreates simple patterns.

5) Recognises numerals 1 to 9.

5) Relates subtraction to taking away.

5) Uses everyday words to describe position.

6) Counts reliably up to 10 everyday objects.

6) In practical activities and discussion, begins to use the vocabulary involved in adding and subtracting.

6) Uses language such as 'circle' or 'bigger' to describe the shape and size of solids and flat shapes.

7) Orders numbers, up to 10.

7) Finds one more or one less than a number from 1 to 10.

7) Uses language such as 'greater', 'smaller' 'heavier' or 'lighter' to compare quantities.

8) Uses developing mathematical ideas and methods to solve practical problems.

8) Uses developing mathematical ideas and methods to solve practical problems.

8) Uses developing mathematical ideas and methods to solve practical problems.

9) Recognises, counts, orders, writes and uses numbers up to 20.

9) Uses a range of strategies for addition and subtraction, including some mental recall of number bonds.

9) Uses mathematical language to describe solids (3D) objects and flat (2D) shapes.

 

Area of learning - Knowledge/understanding of the world

Area of learning - Physical Development

Area of learning - Creative Development

1) Shows curiosity and interest by exploring surroundings.

1) Moves spontaneously, showing some control and coordination.

1) Explores different media and responds to a variety of sensory experiences. Engages in representational play.

2) Observes, selects and manipulates objects and materials. Identifies simple features and significant personal events.

2) Moves with confidence in a variety of ways, showing some awareness of space.

2) Creates simple representations of events, people and objects and engages in music making.

3) Identifies similarities and differences when exploring/observing. Constructs purposefully, using simple tools.

3) Usually shows appropriate control in large- and small-scale movements.

3) Tries to capture experiences, using a variety of different media.

4) Investigates places, objects, materials and living things by using all the senses as appropriate. Identifies some features and talks about those features s/he likes and dislikes.

4) Moves with confidence, imagination and in safety. Travels around, under, over and through balancing and climbing equipment. Shows awareness of space, of self and others.

4) Sings simple songs from memory.

5) Asks questions about why things happen and how things work. Looks closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change.

5) Demonstrates fine motor control and coordination.

5) Explores colour, texture, shape, form and space in two or three dimensions.

6) Finds out about past and present events in own life, and in those of family members and other people s/he knows. Begins to know about own culture and beliefs and those of other people.

6) Uses small and large equipment, showing a range of basic skills.

6) Recognises and explores how sounds can be changed. Recognises repeated sounds and sound patterns and matches movements to music.

7) Finds out about and identifies the uses of everyday technology and uses information and communication technology and programmable toys to support her/his learning.

7) Handles tools, objects, construction and malleable materials safely and with basic control.

7) Uses imagination in art and design, music, dance, imaginative and role-play and stories. Responds in a variety of ways to what s/he sees, hears, smells, touches and feels.

8) Builds and constructs with a wide range of objects, selecting appropriate resources, tools and techniques and adapting her/his work where necessary.

8) Recognises the importance of keeping healthy and those things which contribute to this. Recognises the changes that happen to her/his body when s/he is active.

8) Expresses and communicates ideas, thoughts and feelings using a range of materials, suitable tools, imaginative and role-play, movement, designing and making, and a variety of songs and musical instruments.

9) Talks about planning and makes simple records and evaluations. Names and links key features to experiences and observations. Begins to develop a sense of belonging within groups and communities.

9) Repeats, links and adapts simple movements, sometimes commenting on her/his work. Demonstrates coordination and control in large and small movements, and in using a range of tools and equipment.

9) Expresses and responds to ideas, feelings and preferences through a range of creative contexts.

This document was added to the Education-line database on 11 September 2003