Another reader response (I’ve copied this one out of the comments section and highlighted it here in a new post as it covers the hugely important issue of English as a second language). Many thanks for taking the trouble, Jaki. F.L.
As a very experienced childminder, I do not agree with Lucy’s comments. In principle, the EYFS is a good thing. However, in practice it has turned into a monster. From a very personal perspective, I have not been in favour of the compulsory part of the EYFS. I feel it is fine for children to “aspire” to various goals, but completely wrong for children to “achieve” goals by a given age.
What happens if they can’t? Are parents/childminders/ nursery staff penalised if they fail? Do children [still younger than compulsory school attendance, remember] start school with a “failure” label. Is it any wonder that we have the highest incidence of stressed out kids in Europe?
I shared the care of a young child with English as a second language with a local Outstanding Ofsted rating Nursery. Her parents were unhappy with the care at the nursery and finally persuaded me to take her on full-time. Her Nursery Report was a work of fiction. A selection of post it notes detailing everything she couldn’t do with little positive comments.
The Nursery were unhappy at sharing their information with me but it eventually transpired that they had told her mum that they couldn’t help her as no-one spoke her language. As she was barely 2.5 at this time, had lived in 3 countries, with 2 different carers, she wasn’t speaking any recognisable language.
As was their legal right, they deferred her entrance into school until she was 5. She was now proficient in English, had superb social skills was full of confidence and was ready to move on and enjoy her schooling.
At the end of her first week in school, I spoke to her teacher who commented on her lack of understanding of number and letters and her failure to understand basic reading skills. I did say they were not a priority in my setting but she was ready to move on to the next stage in her educational progress. Bearing in mind that she still would not be 5 at this stage.
As I home educate, take on children of other home educators, very early reading skills are not something that is important to me. I am constantly being harassed by my coordinator to get the children up to speed and whenever they are proficient in one area, I am told to record what learning steps I am utilising to move them on.
Although Nurseries can have an “inadequate” rating from Ofsted and still claim the early years grant for the children in their care, as a childminder I have to have either an outstanding or a good to claim the grant.
For anyone who has not had an inspection for 3 years [like me[ they have to write a business case as to why they should still be allowed to claim the grant. Some towns refuse to allow childminders to claim the EYFS and the children have to attend nursery to claim the free childcare [15 hours per week can be a lifeline for parents on a low income.]
It is nothing short of bullying tactics to get children into a “testing” culture at the earliest opportunity with success or failure being metered out by largely unqualified, untrained young girls who are the mainstay of nurseries.