28 Dec 2007,
This year will see the full implementation of the Early Years Foundation Stage in September, and this is likely to continue to cause divisions in the sector, as our Letters and Comment pages show this week. Lynne Oldfield from the Open Eye campaign argues further against the statutory nature of the EYFS, while a range of voices - academic, local authority manager and childminder - defend the new framework (see opposite).
There'll be plenty of opportunity to consider the theory and practice of getting on board with the EYFS at Nursery World's conference on 13 February in Birmingham (see www.eyfsconference.com). Demand for places has been so high that we'll be repeating the conference in April in London - details will be announced soon.
One proposal in the Children's Plan that could be problematic has, so far, caused little comment. The Government says that it plans to make teaching a Masters degree level profession. Although there is scant detail on this as yet, it may not be good for the early years sector. The thrust of recent lobbying and policy has been to try to raise the status of early years practitioners and to move towards equality with teaching. The decision to have at least one graduate leading every daycare setting, and the introduction of the Early Years Professional Status, ignited hopes that progress was being made. But If the bar is raised for teachers, we will be back to square one, with early years as the second division, second choice profession. And that's not good news for practitioners or children.