The work and impact of the EE Leads
The EE Leads agreed they were doing role-appropriate work and were able to support their colleagues. Table 3 shows that 36 out of 37 believed they were doing work that reflects their roles' priorities, and have been able to support other practitioners. Case Study 1 above from Benarty Primary School Nursery Class provides an example of sharing and role modelling good practice with staff. Case study 2 below from Bowhouse Primary School Nursery provides an example of working with practitioners and parents/carers to adopt and embed a pedagogical approach within the nursery and increase family engagement.
|Do you feel that the work you are doing reflects the priorities of the EE lead role (working directly with children and improving practice within your setting)?||Have you been able to support the practice of other practitioners/ teachers in your setting(s)?|
Case Study 2 (linked to HSC Standards 1.31 and 3.14)
Bowhouse Primary School Nursery is provided by Falkirk Council and delivers a daycare service for up to 56 children aged from three years. The service is located in Grangemouth and is part of Bowhouse Primary School.
Care Inspectorate spoke with Gemma Paterson about the different projects she has been involved in within her role as EE Lead at Bowhouse Nursery. One of these was adopting and embedding a pedagogical approach within the nursery. It was important that this approach was one that staff and parents could understand and provided a level of consistency for children and their families.
"Since 2017 practitioners had been working to link evidence from Building the Ambition with Curriculum for Excellence to promote high quality in the setting. When this project began, I was Senior Early Years Officer within Bowhouse. The role of the Equity and Excellence Lead, which I adopted in 2018, was pivotal in the success of the approach. This role enabled me to embrace the approach, research, work individually with practitioners and develop materials which enhanced practice and current thinking. I was able to embrace the role of researcher and implement small tests of change which influenced the progress and the path the project took.
The project involved a number of key developments, including development of a pedagogical charter highlighting the individual pedagogical approach and image of the child within the setting. A Building the Ambition practitioner guide was also developed and used as part of the approach to learning, teaching and assessment. Gemma recognised the importance of recognising and building on the work practitioners had started prior to the EE lead appointment and the need to continue to recognise achievements and promote opportunities for practitioners to gain confidence and share good practice.
"Practitioners were integral to the project in: the development of the pedagogical charter; in researching skills, dispositions and stages of development; and in evaluating their practice and developing next steps and action plans for improvement. All practitioners have had the opportunity to share our project more widely with successful local authority open events being hosted. This contributed to a wider impact on children across Falkirk."
The role of the EE lead in developing trusting relationships with parents enabled Gemma to establish the use of Play Boxes as a method of increasing family engagement with play at home. The project began with a small trial involving three families, supported by the EE lead, and a practitioner. The initial trial was successful, and the project was spread across the setting and is a part of core family learning practice.
"Involving families to be part of the research was crucial and the Lead role ensured there was time, space and consideration given to planning the approach."
"We discovered that enabling families to lead this research provided us with more significant evidence and further next steps. Families felt more prepared to play using the play boxes and resources within them. Feedback told us that parents could make links with children's play at nursery and play at home. Some families felt that the play boxes ensured they made time to play at home. Something that may have been missed before."
"I was able to delve further and work with families in establishing the approach. I took the time to meet with the families on a 1-1 basis and explain the rationale. One family stated they felt a little pressure to access the playbox every day out of the five they had it. I made sure this barrier was overcome by explaining the methods and reasons behind the boxes. I was always honest and open with them throughout and listened to their feedback. I demonstrated a positive outlook and enthusiasm for the project and this I believe transferred to parents and their view of play boxes. Parents were enthusiastic to share the play at home photos and videos and began to talk about different experiences they had tried or were going to use. This resulted in a lasting change for families at home."
Marvellous Mealtimes was an initiative that began just as the EE lead role was introduced. The aim of the project was to support improvements in children's eating patterns, wellbeing, and relationships with food. The opportunity afforded by the role enabled Gemma to undertake additional training that she was able to use to ensure the success of the initiative. Gemma told us, "I was able to gather baseline data using knowledge gained on the Scottish Coaching, Leadership and Improvement Course. Knowledge and skills I would not have gained had I not been in this role. My role was to develop practitioners' capacity to understand and use the data gathered to influence improvement."
It was important to Gemma that practitioners were able to develop new skills and a depth of knowledge to continue the success of the programme independent of her input. "Although there was some learning together, I aimed to instil autonomy within the team to ensure there was a lasting effect of staff's enhanced skills. I role modelled, shared my knowledge and skills to motivate my team and help them to embrace new and innovative ways of working.
Together we analysed the data and used this to inform next steps. It showed improvements in children's eating patterns, wellbeing, and relationships with food. Projects can sometimes become tokenistic if implemented only by the Lead, however our hope is that even as we step away, projects and initiatives remain in place supported by high quality practitioners. Not only has Marvellous Mealtimes been sustained in Bowhouse, it has also spread in scale to all other settings in the Falkirk area. This role enabled me to share this widely with my colleagues and I have presented this initiative through open evenings, continuing practice and learning sessions and to other local authorities."
Leads were also asked about their relationships with colleagues. Table 4 additionally shows that all 37 EE Leads agreed or strongly agreed they have been able to build relationships with colleagues.
|To what extent do you agree or disagree that you have been able to build relationships with other staff in your setting?|
Leads were asked to reflect on their work and how they think it has had an impact in their settings. They were asked: what do you think the impact of the support you have been able to provide has been? The most common theme in responses was their ability to upskill other practitioners and improve their confidence. Answers included:
'[I have] been able to develop staff skills, knowledge and motivate staff, they are on the journey with me,.. [I am] empowering them [and] developing their leadership skills'.
'[I] allow staff to develop confidence in what resources they can use to develop numeracy and to raise attainment. In the playroom there is now more numeracy and maths experiences taking place. Made numeracy and maths to be more of a focus for staff when planning their areas'.
'…Building staff confidence and empowering staff to be involved in changes to the environment. Make staff feel more valued. This has an impact on improving outcomes for children'.
Leads were further asked how they have measured the impact of their work. They described using a variety of techniques, including staff and parent questionnaires, environmental audits and playroom observations. Many Leads detailed their use of improvement methodology to track impact over time.
Heads/Managers also have positive views of the EE Leads' work. Table 5 shows 36 out of 37 believed Leads were having a positive impact on staff, and 35 out of 36 (one Head did not answer the question) believed Leads were having a positive impact on children from deprived backgrounds. Table 6 further shows 35 out of 37 Heads/Managers feel Leads were using evidence to improve practice.
|The impact of the work the EE Lead has been undertaking with children from the most deprived backgrounds has been positive.||The impact of this work on practitioners/ teachers has been positive.|
|Have you found that the EE Lead is using evidence to improve practice?|
Case study 3 below provides an example from Kelloholm Nursery of how the EE Lead and another senior member of staff worked together in leading pedagogical practice, empowering staff to improve outcomes for children. Case Study 4 below further provides an example from Stobhill Primary School Nursery of the EE Lead training and upskilling staff.