The level of protest and dissent about Ofsted’s report into Reception class teaching, ‘Bold Beginnings’, has hardly diminished since our last issue on 11 December.
All over Christmas and New Year, the cacophony of early years voices raised against the report’s recommendations was sustained and consistent. Our Twitter feed in particular was awash with debate and concern, with Sean Harford, Ofsted’s National Director, Education, involved in some particularly testy exchanges with early years experts.
Just look at our Top 5 online stories list on page 10 – every one is a news story or comment piece about ‘Bold Beginnings’.
Ofsted early years head Gill Jones has since been attempting to soften the seeming messages of this report, saying in a meeting with Early Education and TACTYC (see page 7) that other reports such as the highly-regarded ‘Teaching and Play in the Early Years’ should not be discarded; schools should not unthinkingly change what they do; and that the report does not comment on what is already done well.
All very welcome, of course, despite a hint of post-rationalisation! However, although this will be well-received by those who are confident and expert early years professionals, the effects of ‘Bold Beginnings’ more generally are not likely to be benign.
Already, there are reports of primary headteachers telling Reception teachers to change their practice and spend much more time on more formal approaches.
And government will no doubt call on this report in the forthcoming review of the early learning goals, which promises greater alignment with Key Stage 1.
Meanwhile, do read Dr Jennifer Thom’s article for Nuresry World ‘All About…Spatial Reasoning’ about the ‘embodied’ nature of this vital area of learning.