Opposition to Early Years Foundation Stage learning and development requirements in state schools

Alongside all the supportive comments received on this blog, in the ‘real’ world and in the internet community at large – comes the inference on Twitter that I’m nothing but a nervous (and neurotic?) mother, a secret Steiner supporter and that my “guru” is Dr. Richard House (only if you’re very, very bored should you seek out ‘Thetis Mecurio’s caustic and patronising comments on Twitter or search for EYFS on Twitter at this link). 

Were circumstances in the English education system different – I might find such responses  amusing. The word “guru” just doesn’t figure in a mindset like mine. Namely because I know how dangerous it is to regard anything or anybody uncritically. Nervous I am. Quite rightly so – given the current state of early years education.

It’s possible I’ve had a sense of humour bypass and not noticed – but there is something decidedly unfunny about attempts to mask or marginalise the  extent of opposition to, and criticisms of  – the Early Years Foundation Stage Learning and Development Requirements – regardless of who the perpetrators of this particular brand of misinformation are. Here’s why.

I’ve always believed that people have a right to good quality education. And that this right belongs to everybody – not just those parents who have access to a sufficient income to send their children to a private school. It’s a human right that people have fought for for hundreds of years and it’s also the reason why our child attends a mainstream state-funded school.

Steiner schools (and Steiner parents?) it seems have access to the resources/man-and-woman power to question and challenge the Early Years Foundation Stage Learning and Development Requirements – to secure exemptions and to craft an alternative. Good luck to them. They have vested interests. As we all do.

But where does that leave the millions of children in state-funded schools who will still have to suffer the consequences of the potentially damaging Early Years Foundation Stage Learning and Development Requirements? What about us

I’d like to put the following prediction on record. At the next election – with a change in government, and as a response to public pressure – the EYFS system will be reformed as a priority. I’d like to predict that at the latest in the early autumn as a first step the 69 learning and development requirements will be “downgraded” to recommendations only. Further changes will follow.

The huge (and as yet uncharted – millions?) that have been invested in setting up the Early Years Foundation Stage learning and development requirements system, it’s accompanying bureaucratic machine and the EYFS-charting-and-research-educational-gravy-train-industrial-monster it has spawned will then start to be dismantled. Public funds which must amount to millions will have been wasted. Millions which could have been spent securing real improvements in the lives of children living in poverty – wasted.

Let’s get this straight. Early years experts across the board (including many teachers) have been calling for reform of the EYFS learning and development requirements system for several years now. They are doing so because they are concerned about securing the best possible education system that we can achieve. Something that will encourage children to learn. Something that avoids setting children up to fail. Do state schooled children deserve less than the best?

On an international level, the English insistence on pushing children to read before many of them are ready is increasingly, nothing but a bad joke.

Much has been made of the notion that the EYFS system and the EYFS Learning and Development Requirements benefit financially and socially excluded families in particular. This brand of ‘spin’ is particularly offensive to those who of necessity rely on the state system.

I’ve yet to come across concrete evidence (not spin) to support the view that the EYFS learning and development requirements system is of real benefit to socially and financially excluded families. Disagree? Send in your views – I’d like to see them.

Our government does not want to back down from a policy that does not work so close to the next election (for reasons of political expediency not because the policy is right or educationally sound).

On the subject of Steiner schools – I’m enclosing a link to a recently published report on the implentation of EYFS by Steiner representatives. See report and links in this Nursery World article.  I haven’t read the report  yet – it’s over forty pages long – but my initial reaction when I heard about it was disappointment. It seems Steiner schools have produced the report in consultation with the Department of Children, Schools and Families. In the first instance I felt that working together with the DCSF like this might create the impression that the system is still workable. And I’m not sure it  is.

However as I said, I haven’t read it yet. When and if I do  and choose to write about it , critically as a journalist – I trust those who have accused me of being a secret-Steiner-supporter – will finally get their facts right. I respect the right to freedom in education – Steiner philosophies are one part of the opposition to the EYFS learning and development requirements but our own lives presently remain firmly rooted in a state education system.


One response to this post.


    The reason I posted this rubbish from my sons school in a complete tantrum last night was that my son acquired tonsilitis ten days ago. I rang the school to inform them of his non attendance for this reason.

    There was already some sort of paranoia built into me to make me imagine I had to repeat this telephoning every day right from day one . This must be partly due to the immensely stupid idea of only being able to leave a message on an answerphone/voicemail.

    After four days of repeating the same message into this meaningless black hole of a mindless answering machine, I stopped as I was simply too busy trying to do more useful things in life and also feeling slightly stupid by virtue of repeating the same message into an idiot machine on a daily basis.

    I, like any normal person in the real world, would have thought one message was enough, but I had a feeling of sinking, intuitive, dread that this was not good enough. The boxes had to be ticked every day and an unticked box was going to be a crime against the State; and this would have ‘consequences’.

    I then received a call from the assistant head of the school. My son took the call as I was otherwise occupied. This intrusive assistant head teacher quizzed my son, obviously doubting the truth and veracity of my previous messages about being too ill to attend school. Indeed the assistant head told my son he would need to bring a doctor’s certificate to school verifying the fact he had, indeed, actually been ill and not just ‘ bunking off school’ with the connivance of a parent.

    My son has a ‘perfect’ attendance record, certainly never truants, and has never, ever been improperly absent.

    I would just add my eleven year old son was really enthusiastic about attending this secondary school for the first time a few months ago at the beginning of the school year because, in his words, it seemed to be more interesting, and taught him much more interesting things than the boring primary school he was leaving which he said just treated pupils like they were ‘babies in nursery school’ and didn’t really teach them much interesting stuff at all.

    My son now tells me he has been comprehensively put off the school by its attitude of aggression about everything and its completely mindless obsession with turning everything into a box ticking nightmare of bureaucracy, while any concept of teaching seems to have taken a back seat while the school staff spend all their time with this bureaucracy to the almost complete exclusion of anything else.

    THEN, despite the fact the assistant head teacher had quizzed my son the day before, yesterday, I received a telephone call from ‘Tracy’ from the ‘inclusion unit’ of this ghastly State school.

    ‘Tracy’ was hectoringly talking down to me about the ‘inclusion unit’ ‘being concerned’ about my son’s welfare and the reason for his non-attendance at school, and how as the school was a ‘carer of my son’ they had a duty to ‘investigate’ why my son was not at school.

    When I told this braindead ‘Tracy’ that I strongly objected to being telephoned with these assumptions of me apparently being a feckless parent failing to ensure his child was attending school when he should be, and casting doubt on whether my son was actually too ill to attend school for the time it takes to recover from tonsilitis and the badly infectious impetigo the boy also has (which schools like to say they don’t want pupils attending school with this to infect others with) ‘Tracy’ became aggressive and downright offensive.

    She seemed to think I had no right to be offended by the school’s obvious disbelieving and offensive attitude and told me I was being rude to her simply by me explaining this (quite politely).

    In the manner of idiotic box ticking bureaucrats everywhere ‘Tracy’ didn’t like her victims objecting to being bullied, abused and browbeaten by completely offensive bureaucracy like this, and in the timeless manner of power crazed bureaucrats everywhere, ‘Tracy’ was absolutely certain of the rightness and justification of what she was doing ‘because she was just doing her job’.

    So, deluded by the apparent ‘rightness’ of what she was doing, she now started talking over me and being about as rude, nasty and offensive as bureaucrats can possibly be.

    So I put the phone down. And I can now confidently predict that this moronic Police State sponsored bureaucracy will refer me to the ‘next stage’ of this systematic bullying of the population brought into being by the incompetent fools of labour party thieves busy ruining the educations system as well as everything else in this country.

    I have already been threatened with being reported to some ‘welfare officer’ or some such and I have no doubt a social worker with be banging on my door soon demanding to pry into my private life and threatening to forcibly kidnap my son in ‘his best interests’ and place him in ‘care’.

    Where all the misfits and perverts running riot in the social services system will physically and mentally abuse the boy and turn him into yet another damaged human being with drastically diminished life chances and a probable career in crime. Oh, and the horde of homosexual paedophile perverts infecting social services, foster homes and the care system in general will have a field day, as they routinely do; sexually abusing children in their care on a sickeningly regular basis.

    You think I am being a bit extreme in extrapolating this scenario from my son simply being a bit ill and me being hectored by the assistant head teacher and this stupid ‘Tracy’ ?

    Think again. You would be wrong. I have seen exactly this kind of thing happen to people time and time again.

    The State in the UK has become a monster (Social Services in particular) under the destructive socialist labour Party which has been looting everything it can lay its hands on from the cowering population during the past fourteen years of being in power.

    The education system in the UK in particular is a complete and utter disgrace; it is palpably offensive and an insult to parents and children whose lives it poisons.

    Gordon Brown and his army of self centred, grasping, corrupt and pocket lining liars and thieves are a disgrace and an offence to decency.

    Why are they running this Country still ?


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