Archive for the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ Category

International petition to Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds. Week Three. Early Day Motion 1285 Week Two.

The international petition “Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds” featured in the Times Educational Supplement this week. In just three weeks we have amassed over a thousand signatures, including those of nursery and head teachers and some very ‘big’ names.

In a time of savage cut backs to nursery services we’ve been asking how much such ill advised measures cost. The government has not yet provided the answer to my Freedom of Information Query of last week on School League Tables for Five Year Olds and the Reading Test for Six Year Olds. 

 However, in the meantime Helen Ward of the Times Educational Supplement had launched a Freedom of Information Act Query of her own on the reading tests for six year olds: 

 Both the reading test scheme and The league table idea features in the Coalition Education Business Plan – details of which came to light in November last year.

The reading test for six year olds has been much criticised by educationalists – amongst them Professor Greg Brooks an expert in synthetic phonics – who criticised it as a ‘waste of money’ (in another TES Helen-Ward-Times-Ed-article a few weeks ago) – you’ll find the article link mentioned in a previous post on this blog. Professor Brooks has signed the petition against “School League Tables for Five Year Olds”.

In response to the Times Ed. Freedom of Information Act Query, the government has refused to provide information about how much the ill-advised reading test would cost. In order to challenge this decision the person who lodged it would need to go through the appeal process – which could take years. National Association of Head Teacher’s General Secretary Russell Hobby commented in the  TES:

“Apparently, it is in the public interest to disclose the salaries of heads and when they’re off sick, but it is not in the public interest to disclose the cost of a test that people are very dubious about”.

Here is the link to that TES article in full: Department for Education  refuses to disclose cost of Year 1 reading test pilots.

The movement to “Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds” has also sparked Parliamentary Early Day Motion 1285 – with ten Member of Parliament signatures already. See this link:

We really need a debate in parliament on this one. It is time the Department of Education did their homework properly and stopped bullying young children, their parents and their teachers in this way.

  To get a debate in parliament we need to attain a third of M.P’s votes. So we need people at the grass roots to ask their M.P.’s to sign.

To find your M.P’s contact details follow this link:

http://www.parliament.uk/about/contacting/mp/

Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds International Petition Day Fourteen. Early Day Motion 1285 day five.

Stop League Tables for Five Year Olds International Petition Launch day fourteen. Close to a thousand signatures and an article by journalist Helen Ward in the Times Educational Supplement today:

Anger builds over league tables for five year olds.

If you haven’t signed the petition yet please do so at this link: “International Petition to Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds”. Forgive me for repeating myself – I believe it helps people to find this information on the net. 

As far as the Parliamentary Early Day Motion is concerned, it’s day five since it was created and already ten M.P’s have signed: Early Day Motion 1285 was put forward by the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas M.P and reads as follows:

“That this House opposes the Government’s proposal to begin publishing school league performance tables for England’s five year olds on a school by school basis; believes that such an unprecedented development puts both young children and their teachers, parents and carers under unwarranted stress that is distinctly unhelpful, especially for children at such a tender age; further believes such tables to be divisive and unnecessary; and calls on the Government to abandon its plans to expose young children and their schools to the pressures of the league table system”.

Here are the EDM signatory scores so far to date: (With the Green Party clearly in the lead)

Labour Party – 9

Social Democratic and Labour Party (Belfast South) – 1

Lib Dems – Nil

Conservatives – Nil

EDM 1285  
 
LEAGUE TABLES FOR FIVE YEAR OLDS 17.01.2011
 
Lucas, Caroline    10 signatures
  Campbell, Ronnie   Caton, Martin   Corbyn, Jeremy
  Flynn, Paul   Lavery, Ian   Lloyd, Tony
  McDonnell, Alasdair   McDonnell, John   Meale, Alan
 
 

We need over two hundred signatures to achieve a debate in Parliament so please ask your own M.P to sign. 

Petition link: Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds

Early Day Motion 1285 Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds.

If you would like to ask your own Member of Parliament to sign this Early Day Motion – you may want to make use of some of the petition text as background – it is best to personalise your email/letter and include a comment of your own. 

To see the petition background text click here: International Petition to Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds.

To find your M.P’s email address and contact details click here:

http://www.parliament.uk/about/contacting/mp/

Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds. Petition Day Thirteen. Early Day Motion Number 1285 (Day Two).

Things are moving fast. It’s only day thirteen since the international petition launch to “Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds” and we already have close to a thousand signatures. And some very big names. See previous posts and the petition itself:

The Parliamentary Early Day Motion 1285 sparked by this campaign – (and launched by Caroline Lucas M.P just yesterday) – is boasting some big names too. At 2.30 p.m today the names are as follows:

Caroline Lucas, John McDonnell, Alan Meale, Jeremy Corbyn and Martin Caton.  

To see the Early Day Motion itself follow this link:

Early Day Motion 1285: Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds.

If you would like to ask your own Member of Parliament to sign this Early Day Motion – you may want to make use of some of the petition text as background – it is best to personalise your email/letter and include a comment of your own. We need at least 200 signatures on Early Day Motion 1285 to stand a chance of a debate in parliament, so anything you can do is important.

To see the petition background text click here: International Petition to Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds.

To find your M.P’s email address and contact details click here:

http://www.parliament.uk/about/contacting/mp/

Thanks for your support.

Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds Early Day Motion. Petition Day Twelve.

Wow. It’s only twelve days since the international petition launch to Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds and we already have a Parliamentary Early Day Motion, put together by Caroline Lucas M.P and her Parliamentary Research Team and supported by many, many petition signatories, parents, carers, teachers, researchers, lecturers, professors, writers and journalists. The Early Day Motion text varies only slightly from the petition text as you can see here: Early Day Motion to Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds.

The second name on the Early Day Motion to Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds is just as impressive as the first:  it is John McDonnell M.P. Thank you John. This is a very happy moment for me – although I can’t write fast enough!

Very pleased to see Netta Ford (N.U.T Birmingham and former President of this branch) having signed the petition too. She left a comment:

“Targets, testing and league tables have ruined our education system; they lower self-esteem and reduce learning to ticking boxes. They should be scrapped for all.”

So we need more signatories. Grass roots, rank and file – AND the big names. And more M.P’s signatories on the Early Day Motion to Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds.

We have more than a few things helping us along here. For further reports try to beg, borrow or even buy (it’s expensive!) a copy of this weeks Times Educational Supplement. And keep an eye out for the issue in the national (and international?) news.

Once again here is that international petition link:

International Petition to Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds

And the link for the Early Day Motion to Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds.

Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds. International Petition Day Eleven.

Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds. International Petition Day Eleven. Sign it here. (Please!)

Thank you blog readers for all your insightful comments. Especially this one today from Pat Gordon-Smith …which just left me speechless and sad:

“The league tables are not the only threat to young children’s experiences in school. A primary headteacher told me this morning that the proposals would also include immediate ‘remedial’ lessons at the beginning of Year 1 for young children who don’t hit the required literacy targets at the end of the Foundation Stage.”

Sign the International Petition: Stop School League Tables for Five Year Olds.

Read hundreds more instructive, insightful, inspiring, heartfelt and humorous comments from petition signatories on the tap marked ‘quotes’ at the top of this page, or follow this link: quotes from petition signatories, international petition to stop league tables for five year olds.

Stop league tables for five year olds. International petition launch.

It started quietly with a solid and thoughtful consensus. It became an international petition. It changed government policy. Aim high. Join us and sign it at the end of this post: 

“The U.K. government is proposing to begin publishing school league performance tables for England’s five year olds on a school by school basis.

We, the undersigned believe that such an unprecedented development puts both young children and their teachers, parents and carers under unwarranted pressure that is distinctly unhelpful – especially for children at such a tender age. We believe such tables to be divisive and unnecessary, and that they generate all manner of unintended and unforeseeable consequences that do far more harm than good”.

 STOP LEAGUE TABLES FOR FIVE YEAR OLDS.

 TO SIGN THE INTERNATIONAL PETITION FOLLOW THIS LINK:

White paper on education. Bullying and anti-bullying.

It’s been a while. For many of us – after the government’s spending review – planned early years projects have been delayed, re-arranged or scrapped altogether. The future is uncertain.

I’ve been looking at the government’s new white paper on education. All eighty pages of it. What strikes me is that the Finnish model of education is consistently cited as something excellent to strive for. The government is omitting to mention that children in Finland do not start school until much later than their English counterparts. Two years later in fact.

At the risk of repeating myself – my understanding of the current international research consensus on educational achievement is that there is no evidence at all to suggest that children benefit in the long term from starting school at four or five and being pushed to read, write or spell at such an early age. (See Sebastian Suggate’s research on early reading). The Finnish government seems to understand these findings very well –  why else would they delay the start of school until the age of seven? So the government’s white paper on education certainly seems flawed to me.

The white paper also says quite a lot about discipline and schools.

In the meantime – at the frontline my child is learning a lot about society and school at the moment. Once again, perhaps not quite what she was supposed to be learning. She has been bullied again at the age of five (after eight months of persistent bullying in her very first term at school at four).

Tackling this problem has been gruelling for all of us and for several weeks I’ve been unable to write anything at all about this subject. Then slowly, I’ve started to listen again to the experiences of other educationalists and parents across the globe. Out came a series of articles on bullying and anti-bullying policy. Here are the links:

How to recognize the signs of your child being bullied

When school boards become school bullies

Problems caused by teachers ignoring bullying