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What Will It Mean For Under 5's In Academies?


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Below are the contents of my email to Harriet Harman my MP and Ed Balls. HH has forwarded to Michael Gove but still awaiting comments from him. She replied by letter so can't copy. Ed Balls' reply below that.

 

My email:

I am writing in respect of the academy proposals currently being laid before parliament by the new education secretary.

 

As an Early Years Foundation Stage educator I am extremely concerned about what this will mean for children of under statutory school age and those children in Reception classes who, although are of statutory school age, are currently educated under the legal framework contained in the EYFS and must remain so until the Sept after their 5th birthday.

 

It clearly states on the DfE website that nursery schools are not eligible for academy status as they have no children of statutory school age. However, it would seem that children of pre-school age in nursery classes and reception classes would be part of an academy, if their primary school became one.

 

If so, will the school have to have regard to the current statutory learning, development and welfare requirements for the EYFS, or will they be able to ignore this? As the academy becomes essentially an independent school, will the setting then have to be registered as an independent EYFS provider of care and education of under 5's with Ofsted for inspection and regulatory purposes in the same way other PVI settings currently do?

 

What rights/entitlement will pre school and reception aged children, who currently have the legal entitlement to a principled and research led approach to their provision, have under the new proposals that will ensure their Early Years Foundation Stage experience is the equal to their peers in nursery schools, non -academy schools and other PVI settings?

 

I await your thoughts and comments with interest.

 

Ed Balls: (well his assistant)

I'm a member of Ed's campaign team - I was also his adviser on children's services last year in government - and I'm replying on Ed's behalf.

 

In short, I'm also worried that the coalition Govt is going to move away from trying to ensure standards of provision are high in early years settings of all kinds; you mention one way in which this may happen, and there is also the EYFS review which I am pretty sure will lead to a watering down. I know some good people felt the EYFS could have been designed better, but there was widespread professional support for its aims; frankly, given the coalition is slashing funding to children's settings of all kinds, it makes sense - from their perspective - also to reduce the standards which provision has to reach, since their chances of meeting them are going to reduce.

 

So I agree with you! Once the EYFS review concludes there'll be a good opportunity to lobby on this and I'm sure Ed - or whoever is Shadow Sec for Education by then - will make these points and urge the coalition Govt to recognise the importance of high quality early years. I'm not confident they will take much notice though.

 

I'm sorry not to be more encouraging. Your well made legal points may be worth raising with the Children's Legal Centre I think - they would be really interested in them I believe.

 

Thanks for contacting Ed,

 

 

Your thoughts?? I have now emailed the Children's legal centre. Await reply!!

Cx

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A good letter catma and something that had not occurred to me, about the status of the EYFS in academies. Also an interesting reply from Ed Balls.

I expect we will just have to wait and see what happens after the review. I was concerned to read in my Early Education mailing that Dame Clare's remit from the government includes "how to shift the focus to getting children ready for school and improve the attainment of children from deprived background." Of course I can only agree with the latter objective as long as it doesn't preclude provision for all children, but wonder what 'getting children ready for school' actually means in their terms and how they see that achieved.

I think it is essential that everyone takes part in this review process by making their views known.

I just wanted to add that Early Education are holding a one day conference 'What is the future of early childhood education?' in London on November 9th. Sadly these conferences are rather expensive and even more so when travel costs are included. :o

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I suspect getting ready for school means when you go into reception. My worry is that they will remove reception from EYFS.

 

Courtesy of the current govt we have a total embargo on attending CPD (which may even stretch to our own LAs EYFS conference!!!!!!) so I suspect that going to Early Ed will be out of the question.

Cx

Edited by catma
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Thanks for sharing Catma - again not something that had occurred to me but is very worrying. Very interesting reponse from Ed Balls assistant! I felt like the New Primary Curriculum that Labour was going to implement was going in the right direction for extending foundation stage ethos in KS1 - but Conservatives seem to have the opposite agenda.

 

So the government will decrease standards so they cannot be blamed for children not meeting standards when funding is slashed - clever. Very worrying times...

 

Is there anything we can do to express our concerns? Write to our local MP?

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Can't hurt!! Request they forward your comments to the Minister for State too.

Despite what individuals might think about the EYFS, for me this transcends politics.

I do not believe Govt is particularly thinking about Reception age children when they are talking about pre-school these days.

Cx

Edited by catma
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