Opinion Former Article

Voice responds to early years consultations

Commenting on the Government’s consultations on the EYFS Framework and children’s centres’ core purpose, announced today (6 July 2011), Tricia Pritchard, Senior Professional Officer (Early Years & Childcare) with Voice: the union for education professionals, commented:

“Voice is pleased that the Government seems to have taken on board the key recommendations of the Tickell Review.

“The early years are crucial to every child’s development and it is essential that we have a foundation stage that meets the needs of children, families and professionals.

“We welcome the emphasis of today’s announcement on reducing bureaucracy and targets, and concentrating on key issues and providing clarity and focus.

“The current EYFS is cumbersome, repetitive and unnecessarily bureaucratic. It also isn’t doing enough to engage parents in their child’s development or to make sure that children are starting school with the basic skills they need to be ready to learn. There should also be a stronger link between the EYFS and what is expected of children in Key Stage 1.

“The new check for every two-year-old in pre-school settings, and the provision of this information to parents, could therefore be a useful way of engaging parents and identifying where support might be needed. However, it must be used sensitively and appropriately and take into account differences in children’s rate of development. We do not want to see a blunt instrument that brands children, and parents, as ‘failing’, or feeds the Government’s targets agenda and the media’s obsession with comparisons.

“We welcomed the Tickell Review’s call for the early years framework to remain compulsory for everyone working with children from birth to five years old, but we are disappointed that nannies appear to be excluded from this.

“However, as we study and respond to the consultations in detail, we hope that the Government will ask itself how the new framework and children’s centres, and early years education and childcare in general, can deliver their objectives, and recruit and retain a skilled and well-trained workforce, in the face of cuts to local authority services and the axe of closure and redundancy that hangs over children’s centres and other early years settings, and the staff who work in them.”

ends

Contacts: Voice Press Office (pressoffice@voicetheunion.org.uk) on 01332 372337 or 0794 871 0413 , Senior Professional Officer Tricia Pritchard (triciapritchard@voicetheunion.org.uk) on 01332 372337 or 0796 996 0735, or General Secretary Philip Parkin (philipparkin@voicetheunion.org.uk) on 01332 372 337 or 077 259 601 32.
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