Editor's view - Keeping a high Profile

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It is interesting to see that the arrival of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile results has been greeted with rather more enthusiasm of late, now that the Baseline has begun for children at the start of Reception.

liz-roberts

The Profile arguably gives a more rounded picture of children's development. It also takes place at the end of the EYFS, marking a defined and vital stage of young children's education.

The Baseline, on the other hand, must take place within six weeks of children starting school, possibly the worst time to gain an accurate assessment of their development. Professor Cathy Nutbrown provides a compelling case against the Baseline in her column, opposite.

This is not to say that the Profile is without problems. More children are achieving the 'expected' level of development for their age. But are these expectations the right ones?

There has been much discussion of the continuing gap between girls (74.3 per cent reaching the expected levels) and boys (58.6 per cent). Yet boys and girls develop in different ways and at different rates - is it realistic to expect four-year-old boys, sometimes taught in inappropriate environments, to 'achieve' at the same level? Certainly, adult men still end up in higher positions and with higher earnings later in life.

Government language still grates, as well, with talk of 'young children starting school ready to learn'. Aren't babies born 'ready to learn'?

However, for all the caveats, we should lobby to retain the Profile against the desire of some in government to abolish it. It keeps the focus on the EYFS as an entity, and one which includes Reception in needing to provide a play-based, enabling environment.

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