Editor’s view - Goal difference

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The secretive nature of the revision of the Early Learning Goals, not to mention the end result, will not win hearts and minds


Liz Roberts

There have been some spectacular and crucial goals scored in the World Cup so far, but it is goals of a rather diffferent nature that have been preoccupying early years minds.

The wait to see the revised Early Learning Goals for the Early Years Foundation Stage had become protracted and painful, with Freedom of Information requests needed to extract the names of those advising the Government (some of whom then denied having any meaningful involvement with the process).

There is lots to argue with, of course, in terms of the additions and subtractions to the new-look goals. Where have ‘attention’ and ’understanding’ gone (Communication & Language)? Why has ‘health and self-care’ been bundled into PSED in the same goal as ‘explain the reasons for rules and know right from wrong’?

Why does mathematics contain only references to number, dispensing with shape, space and measure, along with any idea that problem-solving and embodied learning have any role? Why is art reduced to ‘drawing and painting’, and technology missing from Expressive Arts and Design? It’s not in Understanding the World either, where the emphasis is on learning about the world, its people, its past and its present from books ‘read in class’.

You could argue that just because something is not in the goals, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be part of the EYFS, but that isn’t how it works!

The DfE has promised to work closely with the early years sector and experts on the eventual consultation in 2019. But why on earth not do this in drawing up these revisions? Why not engage and explain fully what you are trying to achieve? The new ELGs can’t be isolated for Reception classes – they will have huge ramifications right down the EYFS age group for nurseries and childminders too. Please don’t let it all be an own goal, for the sake of the sector and young children.

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