Drowning in paperwork part two by Blossom Educational

2nd March 2017

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Last week we left Stacey, the owner of Paddington Stars Nursery, as she was starting her search for an online platform which would be able to give her the information that Ofsted now requires her to have.

Stacey was getting increasingly worried about her next inspection, which was due at any time in the next few months. She just couldn’t figure out how to evaluate the development of her children at a ‘cohort’ level, which the new Common Inspection Framework has made compulsory. She couldn’t put off the transition to using an online platform any longer.

So, Stacey reluctantly began her mission. She searched for ‘online learning journeys’ on Google, and was shocked with the number of websites that came up. She really didn’t know where to start, but reluctantly began to make a list of providers to contact. It was already a difficult process; on the websites of the first two companies on her list, she couldn’t even find a phone number. Luckily, the third one had some contact details. Because Stacey was really apprehensive, she had a lot of questions to ask. The person she spoke to gave her some information about their platform, but didn’t really understand her questions about EYFS frameworks and how the progress of children could be tracked over time. Nevertheless, she booked in some time for the company to come and see her, and talk her through their platform.

Fast forward three weeks. Stacey had managed to have 3 meetings with 3 different online learning journey providers. Now, over the years, Stacey has taught herself how to use I.T., and she feels quite confident using the different ‘apps’ on her iPad. However, she was shocked with the complexity of the platforms she had seen so far. She couldn’t imagine her diverse range of practitioners being able to use these things. They were all so, so complicated. Information was difficult to enter, hard to find, and even the simplest tasks seemed so complex to complete. She was also shocked that with some of the platforms, her practitioners could access children’s data from any computer. This just didn’t seem safe.

What surprised Stacey the most was that none of the people she spoke to had any experience of working in Early Years settings. She didn’t feel like anyone really understood what she needed. She knew that everything she had seen so far would just make life more difficult for her already-overworked practitioners.

Stacey did like some of the features that some of the platforms she saw offered. For example, she thought being able to send parents information via e-mail was brilliant. She did also see how an online platform could finally make cohort tracking possible. But again, these things were so complicated on the platforms she saw, that she felt like it would take her a lifetime to actually understand how to use them effectively. Stacey didn’t have a lifetime – Ofsted were on their way!

Stacey was at a loss. She needed to do something, but had no idea how to find the right solution for Paddington Stars.

The following week, Stacey received a call from an Early Years practitioner called Bianca. Bianca worked for Blossom Educational, and she explained that Blossom came into existence when I (Sara, an Early Years practitioner myself), could not find an online learning journey platform that was simple, easy to use, and comprehensive. Stacey couldn’t believe it – she was finally speaking with someone who spoke her language.

To find out what happened when I went over to meet Stacey at Paddington Stars, tune in for the final part of our blog article next week. In the meantime, you can find out more about my online learning journey platform, Blossom Educational, at www.blossomeducational.com. I am an Early Years practitioner, and have created Blossom specifically for the sector.

Sara Dhokia – Founder of Blossom and Early Years Practitioner

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Advocating for Children and Families by Penny Webb