24 Jan 2019, Katy Morton
Despite what has been achieved in the early years, there are mounting concerns with regard to children’s behaviour and attainment – particularly for disadvantaged children and those with special educational needs. Bold Beginnings, published by Ofsted in 2017, refers to the difficulty of the transition between Reception and Year 1 as the early learning goals are not aligned with the national curriculum.
I believe that this is much deeper than alignment and that we need to boldly redefine early childhood education– as per our manifesto (see below). This means re-writing the early years curriculum from birth to 7 years taking into account the needs of children now and in the future.
Current revisions of the early years framework retain the same old areas of learning as though they were written on tablets of stone – our proposal for a new Key Stage 1 is a bold beginning that aligns with the rest of the key stages. Some independent schools are already taking this step as they have the freedom to disapply from the EYFS. We now need to enable all schools and settings to make the same journey.
In our new book, Early Childhood Education Redefined, we highlight the unreliability of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile data, with its strange way of calculating a ‘good level of development’ equivalent to giving the same numerical value for blowing your nose as knowing your sounds.
But this is more than just about our book, this is about taking action. I hope that people will support our manifesto, which is underpinned by effective pedagogy already defined in the Start Right report of 1994, authored by Sir Christopher Ball (see below).
Those working in schools and settings, inspectors, politicians and parents, indeed society as a whole, must avoid taking the route of blame. If we hold hands and learn together, we can make the changes that are needed for children now an in the future.
Early Childhood Education Redefined – Manifesto
Start Right Features of Effective Early Years Pedagogy
(Start Right Report, 1994)
This is an edited extract from an address at Blenheim Palace on 18 January to launch Early Childhood Education Redefined by Professor Pat Preedy, Kay Sanderson and Sir Christopher Ball, published by Routledge.