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LETTER OF THE WEEK

WELCOME GRADUATES

Congratulations to Stefanie Walbyoff (Letters, 29 July) on achieving her EYPS. While I know that EYPs who have extensive experience plus graduate status are invaluable, I think we have to welcome newly qualified EYPs to the profession. New teachers take on the responsibilities of a class with no experience beyond the teaching practice. Surely leading a room in a nursery is comparable work?

QTS 'speaks for itself', and a new Foundation Stage teacher can take a lead in implementing the EYFS, so why shouldn't the same apply to EYPS and a new EYP? If there is experience in the overall nursery team, and if mentoring and management are of a high quality, a newly qualified EYP can do a great job as a room leader.

If we aspire to higher numbers of graduate professionals in our sector, we have to embrace those who choose to enter childcare at a graduate level as well as respecting people who have the determination to gain EYPS while working in nurseries.

Paulette Luff, Chelmsford

Letter of the week wins £30 worth of books

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE

I felt compelled to write after reading Scarlett's 'advice' on EYPs (Forum, 22 July). I have heard the 12-month full-time pathway described as 'mission impossible', and not without good reason. Not for these plucky candidates the comfort of a three-year window in which to gather evidence. Nor the familiar setting, with familiar faces, rules and routines.

They operate outside their comfort zones and must hit the ground running if they are to pass the rigorous assessment - a process re-quiring candidates to demonstrate leadership and personal practice across 39 standards, regardless of pathway, and making no allowances for lack of experience.

Those who have accomplished 'mission impossible' have demonstrated exceptional resilience and strong project management and leadership skills. To survive, they also need high levels of emotional intelligence.

Scarlett's narrow-mindedness will lead her to overlook outstanding candidates. I urge her and others with this view to think again.

Name and address withheld

THE PLAY'S THE THING

I'd like to add my thoughts on 'Can only literacy guarantee a Sure Start?' (1 July).

As a long-qualified teacher and recently qualified EYP, I am a staunch advocate of the EYFS. Children do indeed learn through play and, given high-quality provision delivered by well-trained, informed and inspired practitioners, become very independent and competent learners. Pushing children into formal learning too early can squash the enthusiasm that I see every day in my settings.

I agree that learning to read at an early age is vital to a child's continued progress, but I take issue with the implied derision of pre-reading activities over formal instruction in synthetic phonics (News, 17 June). These activities involved reading to my son at every opportunity, allowing him to memorise favourite chunks of his books and showing him the pictures as well as pointing out the words. My son could read well before he went to school without the aid of formal instruction. We use these techniques in our settings and the children see them as part of their play, fitting well alongside the EYFS.

Tom Burkard seems to miss the value that the EYFS has afforded to training practitioners in how children learn best. Thanks to the Government's £315m annual investment in the EYFS, I now have a highly skilled staff team that understand how to enable children to learn rather that how to instruct them to learn. He seems to contradict his argument for scrapping the EYFS when he acknowledges that 'In Clackmannanshire, the synthetic phonics instruction only lasted 20 minutes per day. That still leaves plenty of time for unstructured activities and learning through play'.

Rather than relying on desperate proposals by the Centre for Policy Studies to scrap the EYFS, I urge the Government to consult early years practitioners.

Jane Middlebrook, managing director, Kaleidoscope Day Nurseries, Leeds.

- Send your letters to ... The Editor, Nursery World, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP. letter.nw@haymarket.com. 020 8267 8401.

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