Memorandum from the National Association
of Head Teachers (EYF 14)
1. NAHT welcomes the report and the government's
response, recognising the vital importance of the early years
as a crucial stage for children's development and learning. The
significant investment in this area in recent years has been unprecedented,
long overdue and should be sustained over a long-term period.
2. The report highlights the importance
of trained teachers in early education and of a trained and qualified
workforce in the early years. The recommendations for training
and qualifications are particularly welcome. It is of vital importance
that children receive the same high quality nursery education,
whatever the setting, from fully trained and qualified practitioners.
All early years education must be in the hands of qualified, graduate
teachers. The teacher will need to be supported by suitably qualified
additional staff, as well as by voluntary support, but it must
be the teacher who is in overall control of the planning, teaching
and assessment of the young child's learning. The teacher should
be an early years specialist who has followed a course of initial
teacher education appropriate to the needs of young children.
The Association considers that qualified members of staff in early
education settings are entitled to a wage commensurate with their
qualifications, roles and responsibilities.
3. With the developments in the integration
of early education and childcare we would argue that a formula
for the pay of heads of early excellence and nursery centres should
be devised, taking account of children on roll in both early education
and day care, the staff:child ratio and the responsibilities of
working with parents, training and other activities. We propose
that STRB establishes a working party to give careful and detailed
consideration to these issues.
4. We support the introduction of the Foundation
Stage and the emphasis placed on learning experiences being matched
to the needs of the child. The curriculum should be developed,
planned and delivered in a way most appropriate to the age, needs
and abilities of the child.
5. We recommend that "baseline assessment"
should be renamed and take place at the end of the reception year.
We would advocate that the end of foundation stage assessment
is a culmination of the ongoing assessment process throughout
the stage, based on good early years practice. All staff in all
settings would be involved in training and continuing professional
development. The development of moderation and audit processes
could be supported, verified and validated throughout the foundation
stage by LEA and EYDCP officers. This would develop staff expertise,
confirm reliability and also provide guidance for assessment on
entry to any setting at any point during the foundation stage.
6. We welcome the recognition of the important
role that parents play in the development and education of their
children. Support programmes assist parents to fulfil this role.