About Me/Contact

I’m a freelance writer, blogger and journalist. You can contact me at: features@franceslaing.co.uk

I hope I know something about education. I have a B.A. Hons in German Studies, a Master of Science in Human Ecology and a Postgraduate Certificate in Adult Education.

I’m also the mother of one child aged five. The (EYFS) is a compulsory curriculum for children from birth to five. The compulsory nature of the EYFS means it’s the first time the government has imposed such an extensive compulsory legal framework on early years settings. We are the first parents in the U.K. to have requested a parental exemption fromthe EYFS statutory Learning and Development Requirements on “moral, educational, religious, philosophical,ethical and political” grounds in a state-funded school. Homeschooling is not an option for us. This blog charts our progress and provides information about how and why the Early Years Foundation framework exists and the wider context: the government’s increasingly devastating bureaucratic stranglehold on our children’s futures. Join in the debate. Look for the ‘leave your comments’ link in bold which you will find at the beginning of each post.

I’ll be adding further pages to this site as soon as I can. In the meantime for more information about me and my work follow these links:

www.franceslaing.co.uk – A place where my writing is archived. This site pulls all my work together with links and includes a news blog.

See this link to access over one hundred on-line articles at the web-based site called Helium.

Follow this link to access my organic fruit, vegetables and politics food blog: ‘Questioner’s Garden Time’ – see www.questionersgardentime.blogspot.com

Follow this link to access my new media and blogger’s blog which is called: Profit from your Blog. www.profitfromyourblog.wordpress.com

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Mara Musso on February 23, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Dear Frances,
    I found out about you and your blog from ‘Too much too soon’. I found the book a true eye-opener and I valued your input. I wish I had known about the EYFS earlier. Our son (also a summer-born) is now in year 2. Being Italian (born there and lived there up to age of 19) I had very little knowledge of the education system in this country and, quite naively, I simply trusted it. Our son (then 4) started reception not even knowing the alphabet. I did not think that this would be a problem as in Italy, as in the most of Europe, school does not start till the age of 6! During the first term of reception we (the parents) were invited to ‘watch’ a lesson. I took the opportunity and went along. I was shocked by what I saw – extremely structured for such young children and, to my surprise, or shall I say horror, there were some 4 year old that were already writing sentences …. WHY?
    It slowly and gradually dawned on me that education in the UK is seen very much like a race, segregating children into tables according to development. I know of at least 2 kids in my son’s classroom who already have private tutors. All of this was new to me. My memories of Primary School in Italy are very different indeed!
    We seemed to be continually called in with ‘concerns’ about our son’s development. I was speaking Italian to my son for the first 3 years’ of his life… what a mistake! Everyone (even the nursery staff) were worried that he wasn’t making the necessary progress in English! I stopped speaking Italian to him when he was 3 and started speaking English. He did make more progress then, but still not good enough for when he started reception. He was under a speech & language therapist for a while – in reality he got seen very seldom by the speech therapist as she never seemed to have time for him. Every time she came to the school she had to give priority to other children. I eventually spoke to the SEN at the start of year 2 and demanded that my son had a full assessment (by then he hadn’t had a session with the speech therapist for almost a year!!). The full assessment was carried out in the first term of year 2 by a new speech and language therapist who had just taken over and had therefore never met my son before. The result was that there were no concerns about my son’s speech and his level of understanding, being where he needed to be for his age. She added that, if she hadn’t known from records that there had been issues relating to my son’s speech in the past, she wouldn’t have been able to tell as she found no indications of it! What makes me angry is that we had to live with the worry that there may be some issues with his speech for 2 years before it was finally put to rest. Of course, it’s not over yet as they now have the child psychologist on him for his concentration. My partner and I have had enough! All of this coincided with me reading ‘Too much too soon’ and watching the Open eye campaign video and that was it! Suddenly everything was clear, it was like a EUREKA moment. I had never been happy with the education the school was providing but, for a very long time, I couldn’t put my finger on it and say specifically where did the problem lie. The school is rated as one of the best in the area and I initially considered myself lucky indeed to have got in! We are now in the process of taking our son out of state education and have opted for flexi-schooling with a very small private Primary that was recommended to us. I wish I had found out the truth about the EYFS a lot earlier… it would have saved us a lot of pain and needless worrying! I feel disgusted about the government’s propaganda, it sends shivers down my spine that they are doing this to young, defenceless children. As you rightly say, the great majority of parents have NO idea of what’s going on. There is still a lot I don’t know. For example, I admit to knowing very little about what really goes on in the classroom. Now that my son talks a lot more and I always make sure I ask him a lot of questions when he comes home from school, I’m starting to get a better picture of what’s going on behind closed doors: favouritism, for example, being one of them.
    Thank you again for being a pioneer in fighting the government over this vital issue. I only wished I had found out about it sooner… but glad I got there in the end!
    I do feel sorry for the many parents out there who are trying to make sense of it all!
    Yours sincerely
    Mara Musso

    Reply

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