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Uprising about the early years foundation stage becoming legislation. Take the chance to investigate and respond.

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by debbiehep, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    I'm kinda tempted but skint!

    especially since my last encounters with the joys of the latest CLLD programme.......
  2. Is it not possible that people have just signed the petition purely on the basis that they feel that the EYFS requirements on learning and development (BIRTH -5 years) take things too far? In other words - too much too soon?
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I can only say why I signed the petition and that is because I do not believe we need a STATUTORY curriculum for PRE school aged children.
  4. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    I signed because there are as yet no answers to how we are goint to be expected to assess for children, stepping stones are still there, and are too much even now, no one is suggesting work load will be reduced and we are all stressed out by it all.....
  5. Like Msz, I signed the petition because I do not believe there should be a statutory curriculum for pre-school children. The Early Years Foundation Stage documents are ridiculously detailed. I think it's dangerous for government to be involved in so much detail.

    I am worried about all the paperwork for carers involved in observing and accounting for what they do. It may put some very good people off childcare, and it may make some conscientious people spend their time observing and making notes instead of interacting with children and enjoying their job. All those results would be bad for children.

    I'm annoyed at the idea that anyone should think it means I'm against phonics, or that I'm against direct teaching. Little children like being taught directly sometimes.

    I hope I'll get a chance to say some of this at the conference.
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Early Day Motion in the offing

    Last week the campaign received an offer from Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset & North Poole and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children, Schools & Families to prepare a cross party EDM into the Learning and Development Requirements of the EYFS. Hopefully, the Motion will be tabled before the end of this month and we look forward to being able to report more about this in our next letter
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    4834 signatures
  8. Last week, in school, a child who has just turned 4 years of age was 'encouraged'to do a 'flick' at the end of each letter of her name, presumably so that by the time she is four and a half, she will be extremely competent in doing joined up writing. Last night, she told her Mum and Dad that she doesn't want to write her name any more............
  9. Over 5,000 signatures!!!
  10. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Could those attending the conference update those of us unable to attend?
  11. Absolutely - I am going to be very interested to see how those protesting that this was not an anti-synthetic phonics bash are going to explain this away after Dominic Wyse has spoken!

    The title of his speech is, 'Riot in the Reading Act: Teaching and Learning Early Reading'.


    I wonder if he is going to use the same speech he used at the Roehampton conference when he spoke alongside Jim Rose - and where he bashed the findings of the Rose Report!

    We'll see.

    I wonder if any of the speakers are going to use the actual EYFS framework and the e-petition statements as the basis of their talks?

    We'll see.
  12. ...I attended the Open Eye Conference today with a colleague and it was absolutely buzzing with a fair spread of people!

    I particularly enjoyed Lillian Katz's talk (which surprised me!) - she had a lovely manner and was very gracious when I (sensitively I hope) suggested that the study she made reference to was not relevant to the English context where the type of phonics being advocated did not disadvantage boys in the short or the long run.

    Lillian, in turn, replied very graciously and equally sensitively and did not try to deny my observation!

    Dominic Wyse, I'm afraid, was in grave danger of detracting from the major issues of the Open Eye campaign with his hour long anti Rose Report and anti-synthetic phonics position. Very sadly, some of his sarcastic humour towards blending was reflected in the audience's mirth and I spontaneously objected but was put in my place by Margaret Edgington who, I have to say, generally did a jolly good job as chair!

    I privately asked for a few minutes speaking time to address some of the anti-synthetic phonics concerns and comments but was denied this. I pointed out that I was sad about the references to the reading debate when the major issue was regarding the EYFS becoming statutory. Dominic had referred to the Channel 4 'Lost for Words' website failing to reflect 'balance' during his talk. Having said that, I am confident that this is because the battle for the need for good synthetic phonics teaching has been shown in schools across the country which have been dramatically turned around and therefore why would a programme to show this provide 'balance' which then undermines what the programme is designed to show? Surely documentaries need to provide all sides to an argument but they are entitled to reflect the ultimate reality?

    Anyway, I digress. I used this point, however, to point out that the Open Eye conference failed, in effect, to show any 'balance' if Dominic Wyse was the one and only speaker to speak about the teaching of reading especially considering he has long since been out of an actual classroom and, presumably, has no first-hand experience of synthetic phonics teaching.

    Anyway, I didn't get my five minutes but nevertheless had a couple of opportunities to speak and my main concern was to offer support for the campaign where it is focusing on the anti-statutory issue rather than the reading issue.

    It was a lively conference in terms of audience positive vibes and response which is good to say in this mainly 'compliant' day and age.

    One lady commented how one could not debate anything which comes from on high as we rarely discover who is the author! I agree entirely with this report and we have to question whether it is acceptable for all this prescription being wrapped up in glossy anonymous packages. I don't think so for one!

    I think the spread of interest from practitioners, from parents, from the independent and the state sectors is important and demonstrates that whatever the philosophies and preferences of those associated with the early years domain, we are entitled to those differences and it is actually quite outrageous and unprecedented the degree to which government is interfering and dictating the minutiae of what people choose to provide before 'formal' schooling.

    We are supposed to be a democracy, are we not, and yet it is over a long period that we have stood by and watched our freedoms being eroded.

    Claim back your voices, and put pen to paper on whether you think the government has gone too far to encapsulate its detailed guidance into law with all the implications of inspection and pressures that will increase.

    Please write to your local authorities, Beverley Hughes, Ed Balls and your local MP.

  13. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Star commenter

    Do we take it then, Debbie, that there were only two speakers who both spoke about phonics and /or reading and that nothing else was covered in terms of the content of the petition?
  14. I was at the conference, and I can give you a sketch of it. (I hope any speakers or other attendees will be tolerant and correct me if my memory isn't quite right as it is difficult to remember precisely!)

    Margaret Edgington chaired the conference and began by saying that it was not about the Early Years Foundation Stage. It was about learning and development requirements. In some settings they were already setting targets because of the Statutory Framework for the EYFS, and this is bad for children.

    Lillian Katz talked about the fundamentals of foundations. She talked about 'what', 'when' and 'how' to learn, and 'How do we know we've done it well?'. I enjoyed her talk very much. At one point she said the if you start reading skills too soon, the disposition to be a reader gets less, and I dispute this. I don't think there is any evidence for this when the skills are taught in a fun child-friendly way.

    Dominic Wyse spoke only about synthetic phonics and how Rose had got it wrong. At the following question time Margaret Edgington said that the conference wasn't about synthetic phonics. Why then did they give Dominic Wyse an hour to rubbish it?

    Penelope Leach emphasised the importance of development other than cognitive (emotional, etc.), the importance of attachment and the inappropriateness of goals. I agree with all of that. She spoke against direct teaching, but I see no harm in direct teaching sometimes. I find children like it.

    One of the audience, a psychiatrist I think, commented about the importance of play in protecting people from traumatic events. She said that people who had terrible things happen to them as adults were more likely to cope if they had played a lot as children. I thought that was interesting and made sense.

    Sue Palmer talked about the differences between boys and girls and the fact that, although our culture is so very different from that of humans hundreds of thousands of years ago, our brains have hardly changed. This is a problem for boys especially. She also made a brief comment supporting synthetic phonics.

    Someone (can't remember who) finished by quoting Margaret Mead, and I wrote it down:
    "Never doubt that a handful of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."

    So, please rally round. Sign the petition and write to your MP. Let's stop this ridiculous and potentially very damaging legislation.

    Elizabeth Nonweiler
  15. In spite of it being a good conference in many ways, I was disappointed at the lack of emphasis on the horrible bureaucratic burden for adults who look after small children. I am afraid this could cause good people to leave childcare and conscientious people to spend too much time trying to be accountable to it instead of enjoying interacting with children.

    I am certain the organisors and speakers agree, but they did not emphasise it.
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I am pleased the conference went well in spite of so much time being given to someone with a different agenda and would have wished for it to concentrate on what has been stated as the aim of the campaign. Thank you Debbie and Elizabeth for sharing the information with those who were unable to attend.
  17. Yes, I second that! Thank you very much! I would like to see this resolved before I leave teaching in July but I very much doubt it!
  18. Thank you, too, Debbie and Elizabeth for the reports. What a waste of one whole hour - there was so much to highlight about targets, teacher stress etc. and was there enough on the actual effects on little children targeted to death? Anyway, it sounds as if the conference was interesting and only Dominic Wyse was able to highjack it.

    And, by the way, if Dominic Wyse wasn't so hostile to synthetic phonics the students at Cambridge University would be allowed to study this body of knowledge, presumably, and be far more confident about introducing early reading in a rewarding and fun way.
    I'll certainly sign the petition, at last!
  19. Got my Child Ed. today and Sue Palmer has put a word in for the campaign and link to the petition website.
  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

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