Archive for August, 2010

Will Council Cuts destroy provision for disadvantaged children?

I’d wanted to write my next post with an analysis of the structure of the U.K. government’s review/consultation of the Early Years Foundation Stage in mind – but  I’ve just received Nursery World’s e-newsletter in my in-box and I’m pulling another news item forward: Nursery World reports planned cuts in the London Borough of Westminster which will ‘destroy early years provision’.  

Pauline Trudell vice-president of the National Campaign for Nursery Education is quoted in NW’s report. She said: ‘The scale of Westminster’s cuts will effectively destroy the early years provision they should be most proud of. It also runs counter to the most recent Government pledge to treat as a priority the measures that most directly affect attainment for the poorest pupils.’

If true, today’s Nursery World report means we should be looking at the government’s consultation on EYFS very critically indeed. The government consultation on the EYFS purports to pay special attention to the situation of disadvantaged families. Meanwhile – (according to this report at least) cuts are being planned and implemented anyway on a huge scale…

To read the Nursery World report in full click on the link at the bottom of the picture.

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Council Cuts will destroy provision for disadvantaged children. Nursery World.


Government review and ‘consultation’ on the Early Years Foundation Stage launched.

I mentioned in the previous post that I’m currently writing a chapter for a book which analyses the English Early Years Education system. Since we’re the only parents in the U.K. to our knowledge to have applied and been refused an exemption to the Early Years Foundation Stage learning and development requirements in a state-funded school I’ve got quite a lot to say about this issue as you can imagine! Stay tuned to this blog for more. Parents have until 30th. September to take part in the ‘government consultation’. Parents, practitioners, childminders – if you wish to take part in the ‘consultation’ and tell the government what you think – follow the link at the end of this post.

And here is the official government line as embraced on YouTube:

Access the Government ‘consultation’ on the Early Years Foundation Stage

Focus on writing blamed for fall in reading test results

I’m currently putting together a chapter for a book about the English Early Years Education system (and it’s shortcomings). The title I am writing to is:

 “A Parent’s Challenge to New Labour’s Early Years Foundation Stage”.

International researchers and academics such as Dr. Sebastian Suggate will also be making contributions to this forthcoming book. You can pre-order the book and/or register your interest at Hawthorn Press Early Years Education Series.

This work couldn’t be more topical right now. Today I woke up to the Independent headline: “Focus on writing blamed for fall in reading test results”.

The Indie piece is a response to Sats results. But there’s a direct link to early years education as the article reflects an underlying assumption, namely that children are ‘failing’ because they are not encouraged/trained/in literacy and numeracy well enough/early enough.

Taking into account all the research I’ve done so far and the opinions I’ve heard – I believe the problem we have is a very different one. We are in danger of pushing very young children too hard too soon. There is no evidence to suggest that pushing children of four or five to read and write too early will benefit their later learning and academic performance. In fact there are plenty of indications that if you do this in the education system – you will only serve to put children off learning. Possibly for life. A different approach is needed.

Researchers and parents who understand this – have been lobbying hard and pushing for a review of the Early Years Foundation Stage legislation for some years now.

Now a review of the Early Years Foundation Stage legislation is finally here. But we don’t yet know how effective it will be. Look out for my next post on this soon. 

I’ve made the link before and I’ll say it again. The Early Years Foundation Stage learning and development goals are the equivalent of ‘Sats’ for the under fives.

Read the Independent article here: Focus on writing blamed for fall in test results.