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ES 3219: Early Years Education, Weeks 5 & 6: The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum & Education From Birth to Five: The State’s New Frontier.

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Presentation on theme: "ES 3219: Early Years Education, Weeks 5 & 6: The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum & Education From Birth to Five: The State’s New Frontier."— Presentation transcript:

1 ES 3219: Early Years Education, Weeks 5 & 6: The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum & Education From Birth to Five: The State’s New Frontier

2 Introduction  In the legislative programme for the period 2005-8 we saw an emphasis on measures aimed at increasing the percentage of British adults in employment to an all time high of 85%.  In September of 2008 a new Early Years Foundation Stage framework came into full effect, replacing the Foundation Stage Guidance, Birth to Three Matters and National Standards for Under-8’s Daycare and Childminding.  For the first time a single fully fledged ‘curriculum’ regulates childcare and educational setting for all infants from birth to five.

3 The Foundation Stage Profile (2003) “The early learning goals in the curriculum guidance were not devised as assessment criteria. The Foundation Stage Profile captures the early learning goals as a set of 13 assessment scales, each of which has nine points” (DfES, 2003, p.1). Statutory requirement from September 2003 Introduced to replace LEA baseline assessments Cumulative record of 117 criteria per child Conceived as partially hierarchical & partially non-hierarchical

4 The Foundation Stage Profile (2003) FSP scores may be interrogated by teachers, managers and the LEA in relation to gender, ethnicity, month of birth and comparison with similar schools. Several LEAs reported that they believed scores had been ‘inflated’ (Ofsted, 2007, p.26). Initial training suggested that teachers work to the target of children achieving 8 on the profile scales: this caused problems and inconsistencies. 2006 Guidance suggests that 6 points is the new ‘good’.

5 Implementation and moderation of the Foundation Stage Profile (2006) In November 2006 the National Assessment Agency, who administer the FSP, undercut the working assumption among teachers that the FSP feeds directly into NC levels and the SATs regime: “Any equation of the FSP scales or scale points to NC levels or invented sub-levels is a spurious and ultimately inaccurate exercise. There is currently no reliable numerical correlation between attainment in FSP and NC key stage 1 assessments” (NAA, 2006, p.5). They also commented on the confusion over tracking and the calculation of ‘value added’ through FS2 (Year R) (ibid.). They followed this with a new set of guidance in 2007 which again recognised that “inappropriate approaches to assessment… continue to be an issue” (NAA, 2007, p. p1) and sought to address this.

6 The Childcare Act 2006  The early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, regulation and inspection arrangements are already enshrined in law in the 2006 Childcare Act.  The 2006 Act places a responsibility on local authorities to ensure that they secure sufficient childcare for the needs of all working parents in the area “enabling parents on the lowest incomes, and perhaps with the most difficult circumstances… to lift themselves out of poverty and give their children the best start in life” (Hughes, cited in McAuliffe, Linsey & Fowler, 2006, p. 26).

7 The Childcare Act 2006 Two factors are intended to ensure that the care children receive will be of sufficiently high quality:  the requirement to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum;  the inspection of all childcare providers by Ofsted. The Childcare Act 2006 brings together in statute Ofsted’s daycare, childcare, and nursery education inspection and registration functions.  In order for a childcare setting to be registered it must implement the EYFS, & comply with learning and devlopment requirements (DfES, 2007a, p8);  In general a person or setting cannot provide any early years childminding service unless registered with Ofsted – exemptions include babysitters or nannies in the child’s own home, Sunday schools and after school clubs which take place as part of extended school provision.

8 The Childcare Act 2006  Working parents will be expected to pay for childcare secured for them by the local authority.  When the child reaches three years of age they will continue to be entitled to 12.5 hours per week of free childcare for 38 weeks of the year, extended to 15 hours by 2010.  Two year olds in pilot areas will also be entitled to the free provision.  However, the 2006 Act “allows regulations to be made to enable parents to be charged for the time their children spend in school in excess of the ‘free entitlement’ if the children are below statutory school age” (McAuliffe, Linsey & Fowler, 2006, p. 42).

9 The Childcare Act 2006  “The term ‘childcare’ is made inclusive of education, at least for children under compulsory school age. This reflects the new Early Years Foundation Stage… [This] definition emphasises the integrated nature of early years provision and corrects the misconception that education and childcare are two distinct activities for young children” (McAuliffe, Linsey & Fowler, 2006, p. 27); see DfES, 2007a, p.7.  Do you agree with this conflation of the functions of provision?

10 The Childcare Act 2006 Sections 39-46 of the Childcare Act lay out the requirements for the EYFS. Section 39 requires that the EYFS consists of two parts:  Learning and development requirements;  Welfare requirements;  The third statutory element is the assessment arrangements (DfES, 2007a, p.11).

11 The Childcare Act 2006 Section 41(3) stipulates the six areas of learning which form the basis of the learning and development requirements:  Personal, social and emotional development;  Communication, language and literacy;  Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy;  Knowledge and understanding of the world;  Physical development;  Creative development.

12 The Childcare Act 2006  For each area of learning and development, early learning goals, educational programmes and assessment arrangements may be specified.  Under s.41(3) learning and development orders cannot require the allocation of specified blocks of time to the teaching of any aspect of the programme or the timetabling of ‘periods’ for subject areas.  Early learning goals are defined in s.41(2)(a) as “the knowledge, skills and understanding which young children of different abilities and maturities are expected to have before the 1st September next following the day on which they attain the age of five.” There are 69 ELGs in the EYFS Statutory Framework (DfES, 2007a, pp.12- 16).

13 The Childcare Act 2006  Educational programmes are defined in s.41(2)(b) as “the matters, skills and processes which are required to be taught to young children of different abilities and maturities.”  McAuliffe, Linsey & Fowler (2006) refer to the debate in parliament on this matter which focussed on the appropriateness of the word ‘taught’ (Hansard, House of Commons, 2005), its interpretation and meaning.  Is it possible, for instance, to ensure that early emotional attachments or responsiveness to the environment be ‘taught’?

14 The Childcare Act 2006  New assessment arrangements include a profile, renamed the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile which will “serve the same function [as the FSP] and be subject to minor changes reflecting the development of the EYFS” (McAuliffe, Linsey & Fowler, 2006, p. 78). In fact “The EYFSP is identical to the Foundation Stage Profile” (DfES, 2007c, p.3).  The Secretary of State may issue an order specifying details of how, when and by whom young children are to be assessed under the EYFS.  This gives the State an unprecedented role in directly assessing the educational development of 0- 5 year olds and, via Ofsted and other accountability systems, in ensuring that the provision guarantees children’s progress in line with expectations.

15 The Early Years Foundation Stage  “Providers have a duty to ensure that their early years provision complies with the learning and development requirements” (emphases added) (DfES, 2007a, p.8). Requirements of whom? For instance, is it reasonable to make requirements of small babies? If not, then the requirement must be placed on staff to ensure that the infant’s learning and development goals are met. This recalls the ‘taught’ debate.  Is this instrumentalist approach to early education appropriate?

16 The Early Years Foundation Stage  The ‘Development Matters’ heading within each Area of Learning and Development represent a hierarchical model of attitudes, skills, etc. required in order for children to reach early learning goals.  The ‘Look, listen and note’ section is centred on assessment and systematic observation.  Reference is frequently made to not using the curriculum requirements as a checklist (e.g., DfES, 2007b, p.11, DfES, 2007c, p.20). How can this be avoided given that they either ‘must’ or ‘should’ be carried out?  Practitioners must plan for individual children using observational assessment – there must be no ‘tests’ anywhere in the EYFS (DfES, 2006, p.13).

17 The Early Years Foundation Stage  Learning must be active and strike a balance between child- led and adult-led activity (DfES, 2007c, p.9).  Practitioners must plan activities towards the achievement of the early learning goals.  In the final year of the EYFS, this includes a statutory duty to fill in the EYFS Profile in its entirety, and to report this to parents.  Again, everything is premised upon the child’s development leading towards and necessary for the achievement of the early learning goals at the end of the key stage: “This means that practitioners must implement clear, principled approaches and a seamless continuum of assessment from the child’s first days in a setting to the end of the EYFS” (DfES, 2007c p.3). “The Development matters column identifies the developing knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes that children will need if they are to achieve the early learning goals by the end of the EYFS” (DfES, 2007b, p.11).

18 The Early Years Foundation Stage  Section 3 of the Statutory Framework (DfES, 2007a pp. 19-40) emphasizes the need for a range of policies to be drawn up by all childcare providers – some of these, such as the safeguarding children policy, the policy for supporting disabled children, the policy for managing the administration of medicines, etc. will be new to many.  Questions might be raised about how this growth in bureaucracy might serve to remove certain types of setting and EY-worker from the childcare market.

19 Why are the ideals rarely realised in the Reception classroom? Parental pressure to see outcomes either in terms of adults’ or their children’s recording Restrictions of time and space imposed by whole school requirements Downward pressure on ‘standards’ from KS1 Lack of understanding on the part of staff Intervention by or lack of understanding from management Overspill from KS1 legislated curricular requirements School timetables Adult-child ratios Children’s ability to profit consistently from free-play based activities

20 Is it in the practice that the Foundation Stage failed? In March 2007, Ofsted published its first major study of the foundation stage in six years. This highlights some of the disparities and anomalies which have been generated in the implementation of the Guidance and FSP. We should note some of Ofsted’s findings, and ask why such issues arise in EY practice? It is also important to consider some of the presuppositions made by Ofsted – we might relate these to our theorists, Marx, Weber and Foucault.

21 Is it in the practice that the Foundation Stage failed? “Curricular emphasis on certain early learning goals meant inadequate planning for others” (Ofsted, 2007, p.3). “[A]chievement was lower in calculation, early reading and writing, a sense of time and place, an understanding of culture and beliefs, and imaginative play because practitioners gave these too little attention” (ibid.). A great deal of emphasis is placed on gender differences and the failure of settings to take account of these (ibid., p.8). What do we make of these claims, and in particular, if they are true, how are gender differences allowed for in the ‘averages’ indicated in the EYFSP?

22 Is it in the practice that the Foundation Stage failed? In common with some of the earlier criticisms of the FS in practice, Ofsted state that in the rare cases where teaching was ‘unsatisfactory’, there were “limited opportunities for children to make choices and initiate ideas. The experiences were predictable and dominated by inappropriate interventions from adults who, for example, stepped in too quickly without appreciating children’ immediately prior learning.” “In most Foundation Stage 2 settings [Year R], the balance of play and directed activities was intelligently planned. However in a few settings children were introduced too quickly to recording their own work, completing worksheets which did not sufficiently engage or move their learning on” (ibid., p. 16). “In a few settings, practitioners used the early leaning goals as the starting point for planning, rather than the stepping stones. This limited the scope of the curriculum, particularly for some of the youngest children” (ibid., p.17).

23 Is it in the practice that the Foundation Stage failed? Ofsted’s recommendations: How should we respond to these selected recommendations, given the understandings we have developed through applying Marx, Weber and Foucault? LEA’s should “use data effectively to identify strengths and weaknesses in curricular provision…” (emphasis added) (Ofsted, 2007, p.4). Staff in settings should “provide regular, planned opportunities, including imaginative play, for children to develop their creativity and adults should discuss with them what they are doing” (ibid., p.5). They should also “work with children and parents to involve them more fruitfully in assessment” (ibid.).

24 The Early Years Foundation Stage Bibliography Department for Education and Skills (2006) The Early Years Foundation Stage: Consultation on a single quality framework for services to children from birth to five, Nottingham: DfES Publications, online at Department for Education and Skills (2007a) Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, Nottingham: DfES Publications, online at Department for Education and Skills (2007b) Practice Guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage, Nottingham: DfES Publications, online at Department for Education and Skills (2007c) Creating the Picture, online at Hansard, House of Commons (2005) ‘Childcare Bill’, House of Commons Standing Committee D, 15 December 2005, Clause 41 c251 Deb, online at McAuliffe, A., Linsey, A. & Fowler J. (2006) Childcare Act 2006: the essential guide, London: National Children’s Bureau and National Foundation for Educational Research National Assessment Agency (2006) Implementation and moderation of foundation stage profile 2006: Annual monitoring report, NAA, National Assessment Agency (2007) Additional Guidance on Completing Foundation Stage Profile Assessments, online at OFSTED (2007) The Foundation Stage: A Survey of 144 Settings, Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (2003) Foundation Stage Profile Handbook, Sudbury: QCA Publications

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