Posts Tagged ‘Childminder feedback’

Early Learning and the Erosion of Childhood. Book launch hits Telegraph front page.

Saturday’s Telegraph front page slot featured an unusual education headline: “The erosion of childhood”.  A front page article featured a historic Open Letter signed by more than 200 specialists and parents which detailed how the space children have to grow, thrive and play is being eroded by commercialisation, target setting and testing. As a freelance journalist, parent and writer – I signed the letter too.

Also mentioned was the book of the same name to which I have contributed a chapter – which has already been referred to as ‘the most important book of the year’ on education. Early Learning and the Erosion of Childhood. The press coverage, the debate and the public information campaign called for – are directly relevant to government cuts in education and child care.


Childminding and Early Years Politics on Woman’s Hour Today

Two police officers have been told it would be illegal for them to look after each other’s children. Don’t miss Woman’s Hour today on Radio 4 at 10 a.m.

Dr. Richard House, early years specialist and supporter of ‘Open Eye’ –  (a source of strength for me as a parent and writer) explains why it is time to roll back government bureaucracy in early years frameworks. See this link.

Don’t worry if you miss the programme this morning – you can listen to it later today in the archive version.

Childminders and the Early Years Foundation Stage

As part of the research for a piece I’m writing about childminders and the EYFS I revisited an archived version of ‘Woman’s Hour’ in which childminders are discussing some of the implications of the statutory framework and the future of childminding. Readers may like to hear it too. Click here to tune in.

E-Petition: EYFS Exemptions for Childminders

This petition has been in existence a good while but readers only have until September 20th. to sign it. Mrs. Sally Jones, the creator of the petition explains:

4000 childminders have quit in the last year. This coincides with the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Most principles of EYFS are easily achieved, but the paperwork needed to prove this is staggering. The same rules apply to childminders as to nurseries. These significantly different settings should have separate rules. Childminders’ homes are not educational establishments, there is no need for assessments to be made on the children. Until a child attends school it should be their parents’ job to assess them. EYFS states the need for consistency between early years settings. This defies the slogan ‘Choice for Parents, the best start for children’,and removes choice. People choose childminders because they want a relaxed, home environment for their children. The requirements of EYFS directly oppose this. Childminders do need regulations, but this system is too much to expect of them. If a child is safe and happy that is enough. Childminders are understandably frustrated and are leaving in their droves. The knock on effect of this is that children are going to have to change carer multiple times which is surely not an ideal situation.

To sign the petition – follow this link to go to the 10 Downing Street site:


Early Years Foundation Stage – childminder feedback and English as a second language

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.