Select Committee on Education and Skills Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA 09)

  I hope that the Select Committee's oral evidence session with the QCA last week provided you and your colleagues with a helpful insight into our work. The session covered a wide range of topical issues that face QCA although, as I said, the focus rested firmly on school-related matters.

  You asked for my further comments on two matters: work on early years; and issues raised by Professor Tymms about the national curriculum English tests at key stage 2. I shall write to you separately, and in detail, to address the points Professor Tymms has raised about the key stage 2 English tests.

  The attached annex offers some further detail on early years work since June 2000, when QCA gave evidence to the Select Committee on Education and Employment. That Committee raised some important issues and we found the discussion very helpful. You can, I think, be reassured that the discussion influenced the work that followed.

  It was clear to us from the June 2000 evidence session that it would be most important to evaluate the effectiveness of the guidance issued in 2000. This we did and we are pleased to hear the generally positive response to the document. Practitioners are finding it helpful. We also produced, in October last year, further guidance material that included case studies of good practice.

  The Committee also rightly pointed out that there were gaps in the skills and training of those involved in early years provision. As part of our broader work on developing the national qualifications framework, we have looked carefully at qualifications available in childcare and play work, and we published an updated framework of these sorts of qualifications in June last year. This has been an important facet of the wider training programme that the Department has been running.

  I hope that this provided some helpful amplification.

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