Mothers fear EYFS development check could misjudge their children

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Mothers are worried that their children will be misdiagnosed when the development check for toddlers is introduced under the revised EYFS, a survey suggests.


Of 2,000 mothers surveyed by Bounty Parenting Club on behalf of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, 87 per cent said they feared children could be misdiagnosed in the development check because of varying rates of development in young children.

However, 85 per cent believed an early progress report could help to indentify and manage any concerns that might arise over their child's development.

The survey, which sought parents' views on the plans for development checks, also found mothers felt the most important area of learning for the check to focus on was communication, language and literacy (71 per cent said this was 'very important'), followed by personal, social and emotional development (65 per cent) and physical development (63 per cent).

Being able to easily read and understand the progress report was a priority for mothers (69 per cent), as was the identification of any early concerns (58 per cent).

Half of the mothers said it was very important that the report would indicate whether extra support or intervention by professionals was required.

When asked about their preferences for discussing their child's report, 88 per cent said they wanted to be able to discuss it in an informal face-to-face meeting with their child's key person at nursery.

Just over half of the respondents said they felt the extra work created by the report could negatively affect the overall quality of care that is given to their child. However, in answers to a question about whether the development check should only focus on children who appear to be lagging behind their peers at age two, there was a 50/50 split.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, said, 'This survey shows that mothers see benefits in the Government's proposed development check reports.

'But the results also show that they have some concerns about these checks, especially about the risk that some toddlers may be misdiagnosed when fluctuations in development are perfectly natural for children of this age.

'We hope the Government takes note of these concerns, as misdiagnosis could result in undue anxiety for thousands of parents and unnecessary pressures and interventions for some young children.'

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