Select Committee on Education and Employment Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from Dr Andrew Lockett, Early Years Inspector, Kirklees LEA (EYF 07)

  I am essentially in agreement with the Select Committee Recommendations. In reading the Government's Response to the First Report of the Select Committee, there are still some key outstanding issues to be resolved.


  1.1  The teaching of young children is a complex and difficult task requiring the most highly trained and skilled professionals. Many Newly Qualified Teachers may have had no training in how young children learn and develop, or to plan and deliver the Foundation Stage Curriculum through play. Hence, I welcome the Government's view regarding the importance of the various agencies co-ordinating their training to ensure a progressional route for Early Years practitioners, leading to a Foundation Stage Teacher qualification at graduate level (recommendations 16; 42).

  1.2  The QCA Foundation Stage Curriculum Guidance has been most welcome. In order to deliver this curriculum, the policy of supporting an adult ratio of 1:15 in Foundation Stage maintained provision needs to be continued and extended nationally, as a matter of urgency. This is not only crucially important for the implementation of the QCA Foundation Stage Curriculum Guidance, but to ensure that the care and linguistic needs of young children are met (recommendation 14).


  2.1  The Government's response to the Committee's recommendations on Quality Standards has been welcomed. However, there are still inconsistencies across settings. There needs to be some uniformity with universal application across the private, voluntary, independent and maintained sectors (recommendation 5).

  2.2  There are current discrepancies between Section 10 and Section 122 Inspections, which look set to continue. Both systems have their strengths, and gains could be made in combining the two sets of procedures. Both inspections need "to sing from the same hymn sheet", giving appropriate emphasis to both education and care (recommendation 44). The introduction by OFSTED of a requirement on settings to engage in self-evaluation is a very valuable step in the right direction.


  The emphasis on providing access to the outdoor learning environment is an essential part of the Foundation Stage provision. The new monies (including capital and money for equipment) to support the development of such provision, particularly for schools with Reception Classes, or mixed Reception/Year 1 classes, needs to be a continued priority, as this is a key issue identified in OFSTED Reports for many schools (recommendations 27; 28).


  I agree with the recommendation of the Select Committee. There are valid arguments for the end of the Reception year as well as the beginning of Year 1. Whatever the final decision, the role of parents and carers in the formative aspect of assessment at the start and throughout the Foundation stage needs to be included in the Statutory Baseline Guidance. In addition, the Statutory Baseline Guidance needs to include the requirement for practitioners to record their on-going observations of children's learning and play as part of their profiling of children's learning throughout the Foundation Stage (recommendations 2; 3; and 21).


  There is a need for new monies to support developments in the Early Years to be co-ordinated. It is extremely difficult for EYDCP to maintain appropriate staffing levels in order to manage the range of initiatives and accompanying monies when they come piece meal throughout the year (recommendation 52).

April 2001

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