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England: New early learning goals to be trialled in 25 primary schools

Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:40 pm
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
It will be very interesting to see how people in the early years sector in England respond to the new 'early learning goals' and assessment system. There has been fierce criticism, by some, via Twitter on finding out who was on the team working with the Department for Education to outline the new goals. ... y-schools/

New early-learning goals to be trialled in 25 primary schools

Alix Robertson, Jess Staufenberg

A new assessment model for reception pupils will be piloted in 25 schools from September.

New draft Department for Education guidance sets out proposed changes to “early-learning goals” that reception pupils are assessed against. The new approach will be tested in pilot schools in the autumn ahead of a consultation and decision on a national roll-out.

I'm linking this to the 'Bold Beginnings...' thread to illustrate the huge differences in ethos particularly focused on the 'Reception' class (the four to five year olds):


Re: England: New early learning goals to be trialled in 25 primary schools

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:52 pm
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
Headteacher Clare Sealy has this to say about the revised early learning goals:

Ignore the naysayers, the new early-learning goals are great ... are-great/

Credit where credit is due, writes Clare Sealy; the government has done a really good job on its new early-learning goals

So here we are again: another day, another early-years education story. There has been quite a lot of anxiety about these new early-learning goals (ELGs), and people are fearful that they will mark a switch to over-formal schooling, with children sat in rows all day, their freedom to play a distant memory. But I really do believe that these fears are groundless. The new ELGs take what is best from the previous goals and build on them. In my opinion, this is a big step in the right direction, for several reasons.

Firstly, the claim that the profession was consulted honestly is a true one. I should know, as I myself was on the working group, despite being a card-carrying member of the Labour Party. In addition to the working group, the DfE consulted a whole range of other sector professionals, asking for feedback and making lots of changes as a result. There is sector expertise running throughout the document, and it is greatly informed by the real-life anecdotes and ideas that the profession passed onto the government throughout the process.

Re: England: New early learning goals to be trialled in 25 primary schools

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:55 pm
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
Here are the draft early learning goals to be piloted: ... k-2018.pdf

For use in EYFSP pilot schools only

Statutory framework
for the early years
foundation stage

Setting the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five

This document does not represent final Government policy

This document is for the sole purpose of schools participating in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) pilot

It applies only to Reception Year in these schools

The EYFSP pilot is the first stage in a consultative process, with a full public consultation to follow the conclusion of the pilot

Re: England: New early learning goals to be trialled in 25 primary schools

Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 3:11 pm
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
I'm cross-referencing this thread with the 'Bold Beginnings' Ofsted report that has caused such a furore in England:


Re: England: New early learning goals to be trialled in 25 primary schools

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:19 pm
by Debbie_Hepplewhite ... n-new-elgs

Why I'm a Fan of the New ELGs

Chris Wilkins, executive headteacher at The St Ninian Catholic Federation in Carlisle, has written this blog for us:

We should talk more about early years.

That will probably horrify some of you, who are likely thinking that the early years specialists already say too much. But I really do believe that it’s the most important stage of education, and that it isn’t treated as such anywhere near enough.

Thinking about the disadvantages that some children face, early years is by far the best time to really and genuinely level the playing field. Being realistic, it’s quite possibly the only time that that can be done. When children start school is when the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children is at its smallest, and therefore that’s when closing the gap is easiest.

Re: England: New early learning goals to be trialled in 25 primary schools

Posted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:15 am
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
The organisation, Early Education (The British Association for Early Childhood Education) publishes its response to the proposed changes to the Early Learning Goals:

Tuesday, 3 July, 2018

Early Education has today issued a detailed commentary on the revisions to the EYFS Statutory Framework issued by DfE, available for download to ensure that not only our members but the entirety of the early years community can benefit from the in-depth knowledge brought to bear on these drafts, and their potential impact if implemented. Read the Executive Summary below, or download the detailed commentary document in full (PDF file). ... draft-elgs

Early Education issues detailed response to draft ELGs

Executive Summary

Although government has presented this as a review of the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) only, it is far more extensive than this. Effectively it is a rewrite of the EYFS curriculum by the back door, as the Areas of Learning section has been re-written, and the Characteristics of Effective Learning have been made non-statutory. The DfE claim a mandate to review the ELGs and the EYFSP on the back of the Primary Assessment questionnaire – which is at best dubious given the lack of input from the early years sector. It certainly did not provide a mandate to review the EYFS as a whole. Examples of the changes to the curriculum which would result from the new draft are that Shape, Space and Measure and Technology disappear not only from the ELGs, but also from the Areas of Learning. There are many more detailed changes in the wording of individual areas which will have significant impact. Early Education is keen to help DfE ministers and officials understand the implications of the proposed changes and improve on its current draft amendments to the EYFS Statutory Framework.

We support the Minister’s aims to reduce workload and improve children’s communication and language skills. Unfortunately, the proposed revisions are unlikely to do either.

The minister suggests that workload can be reduced by clearer advice that practitioners should not collect excessive amounts of data, and that their professional judgement can be relied on in making assessments of children’s learning and development. This is welcome but this will be brought about by changes to guidance and improvements to the moderation process, neither of which are directly linked to the changes to the ELGs.

Re: England: New early learning goals to be trialled in 25 primary schools

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:29 pm
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
'The Quirky Teacher' has some suggestions for the Reception year (4 to 5 year olds in England):

Closing the gap AND reducing exclusions: how about a radically different approach at the beginning? ... beginning/

...I would make this about the whole of EYFS, but I accept that the ideology of ‘choose, discover and develop naturally’ is too strong, and its proponents too powerful and numerous, for there to ever be real change. This is a shame because I have to deal with the somewhat aggressive, non-speaking children who arrive from various nurseries not even knowing what the word ‘no’ means, let alone a nursery rhyme; both parents and nursery practitioners wait for a particular child to naturally develop the ability to sit down, listen, speak rather than push and shove, follow simple instructions while we gently offer him more opportunities for ‘active learning’ and then of course when he’s still not ready at the tender age of 5, everyone can just start talking about ADHD.

Anyway, let’s crack on a take a look at all the positive opportunities out there. If I were an educational fairy godmother, here’s how I’d change EYFS and this time I’d not only factor in the need for core knowledge, but also the need to have the kinds of routines that simultaneously develop the good habits of the mind, so that children from disadvantaged backgrounds receive an education that closes not just the word/knowledge gap, but also what I would call a sort of psychological gap too.

Firstly, I’d take my magic axe and chop the reception year right out of the EYFS curriculum.

Do read the full piece!

Re: England: New early learning goals to be trialled in 25 primary schools

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:06 am
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
There have been notable tensions regarding provision in the 'early years' in England for many years. There are many authoritative and influential early years advisors who have heavily influenced developments in this sector.

Practitioners in this sector have been subjected to numerous official curriculum guidance documents, assessment documents and dictats about the format of their provision. Some years ago I worked in the early years sector for a time so experienced first hand the level of pressure and expectation, for example, on the formal observation regime and statutory reporting of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profiles. It was, in my opinion, a statistical nightmare and highly unreasonable.

Ironically, however, for many practitioners in this sector, I suspect it gave them a greater sense of professionalism and so some people embraced all these official changes and expectations. I didn't - I challenged them because I'm a highly practical person and found much of the changes onerous, irrational, burdensome, detracting and unnecessary. There was certainly a failure to distinguish between the nature and suitability of reporting to children's parents and carers compared to providing information for national accountability. I believe as pressure and workload mounted, a huge number of after school childminders were lost to the stock of carers because the official guidance and paperwork accountability extended to after-school care.

I haven't been involved with the proposed changes to the early years, but if these genuinely slim down the expectations and demands for early years practitioners, and give them greater flexibility, that would be a good thing in my view. I'm not suggesting, of course, a reduction in quality care, but it is arguable what quality care really should 'look like' and also, it has seemed to me, an allowance should be made for different contexts - as contexts are wide and varied.

Minister Nick Gibb, and also Liz Truss when she was the minister with responsibility for the early years, recognised the complexities of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile which led to an attempt to address these - and ultimately to the proposed new early learning goals:

Fears of a 'technical, functional' early years curriculum

Concerns that changes to assessment for four- and five-year-olds could mean increased focus on reading and numbers

by Helen Ward ... curriculum

roposed changes to the goals that young children are expected to reach by the end of Reception year will narrow the curriculum, an early years expert has warned.

Michael Freeston, director of quality improvement at Early Years Alliance, told a conference in London that he feared that the Department for Education's proposed changes to the early learning goals, along with Ofsted's planned inspection checks on synthetic phonics teaching, and the introduction of a baseline assessment – could collectively “narrow the curriculum to focus on technical, functional elements of provision”.

The government has said that it is revising the early learning goals to support children’s early development in language and vocabulary and to reduce teachers’ workload.

The new draft goals were published in June 2018. They cover listening, speaking, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, self-regulation, managing self, building relationships, comprehension, word reading, writing, number, numerical patterns, understanding the world – past and present, people, culture and communities, the natural world, creating with materials and performing.