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:
https://www.tes.com/news/fears-technica ... curriculum
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
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.