Call to arms.

If you are a parent, a teacher, a nursery worker, a childminder, a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, or you just like children and think childhood is a good idea, please sign up to the openeye petition on the petitions site.

It reads:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to commission an urgent independent review of the compulsory Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) policy framework, and to reduce the status of its learning and development requirements to ‘professional guidelines’.

and the supporting information is

We recognise the government’s good intentions in its early-years policy-making, but are concerned about the EYFS legislation, which comes into force in England next September.

Our concerns focus on the learning and development requirements, as follows:

1. They may harm children’s development

2. They will restrict parents’ freedom of choice in childcare and education

3. Their assessment profile requirements may place an unnecessary bureaucratic burden on those who care for young children

4. Recent evidence suggests that government interventions in education generally may not be driving standards up and may be putting too much pressure on children

The request I received (after I’d signed up (with a typo in my name 😳 )) is:

When signing up to the petition please state your interest i.e mother, nursery
teacher, trainer, child-minder, grand-parent etc, etc. It will help the Government
see how widespread concern is about this legislation.

Thank you

Anna Firth
Open EYE Campaign Coordinator

Please spread this request around blogs, forums, mailing lists and anywhere else you can think of – the drive is on to get this publicised and as many ppl as possible signed up as fast as possible. Let’s let the government know that they can’t mess with our children’s lives without us fighting back.

ETA does anyone here read alphamummy and feel up to getting the readers there involved? Or Mumsnet? I’ve pretty much given up on forums recently (can’t think why) but from what I remember appearing and starting a thread doesn’t always go down as well as it might, whereas forum regulars starting a thread about this kind of thing will get more buy in.

Feel free to leave a comment linking to any of the mentions you make so that everyone else can come along and join in!

Oh, and tag your posts with things like Open EYE – let’s get this up the search rankings for Open EYE and EYFS.

Campaign site can be found at Open EYE

About Jax Blunt

I'm the original user, Jax Blunt I've been blogging for 14 years, give or take, and if you want to know me, read me :)

Oh, and if you'd like to support my artistic endeavours, shop my photographs and art at redbubble

Comments

  1. Jaki Parsons says:

    As a childminder I will be required to present this curriculumn from September. I have made a conscious decision to re-register my childminding business as a nursery. By doing so I can offer free [ish] childcare for parents of children and get paid by the government.

    I work as a childminder in order to fund my home educating. The curriculum is not that onerous and probably no more than most consientious parents are already providing. As a childminder I have a greater flexibility in providing the curriculumn than do nurseries.

    Children will be expected to be sociable, polite, good mannered. Be able to count, know their colours, have an understanding of the wider world. Most parents would want this for their children.

    Be wary of the hype surrounding this legislation. These early learning goals have always been in place in nurseries. The only difference now is that childminders will HAVE to present it rather than choosing to present it which is what happens at present. Also, childminders will have to present this at no extra cost and fill in lots more forms.

    No-where does it suggest that children have to be sat down in a classroom style setting and forced to learn to read. You would be expected to provide an assortment of books that children can freely access. Plus a wide range of activities and toys. As a parent, if you are looking for paid childcare then you would expect a quality of serivce.

    These regulations do not apply to grandparents or parents or babysitters. Only to paid professionals working in the child care sector.

    Nurseries usually have manager, admin staff and an assortment of parent helpers which will assist the staff in completeing the forms out. Childminders work alone but will still be expected to be trained to the same standard, work to the same regulations and fill in the same amount of paperwork. This is all done in their own time not work time.

    Hope this helps

  2. John Dougherty says:

    “Children will be expected to be sociable, polite, good mannered. Be able to count, know their colours, have an understanding of the wider world. Most parents would want this for their children.”

    Children will also be expected to begin to write in sentences with punctuation, and to begin spelling simple and some more complex words BEFORE they are of school age.

    Based on current international evidence, some parents don’t necessarily want this for their children, but will have no choice (unless they can afford to give up work until their youngest child is 5).

    The EYFS is not all bad, but when experts such as Penelope Leach are raising these concerns it is outrageous that the government is forcing ALL childminders, ALL nurseries, ALL schools to comply. Some of the educational programmes and goals run directly counter to, for instance, Steiner methodologies yet Steiner schools have been given no right to opt out.

    If nurseries, childminders, etc WISH to follow these requirements, that’s fine. But, given the evidence, parents and professionals should be given a choice.

  3. This is not meant in offense to those childminders or parents who believe in the EYFS but I am one who does not and I feel that the FS is politicised. I work from a different basis of child development than the Government. I read Psy at university (mainly developmental/cognitive). I’m also a home educator and I do not believe that early academics (i.e. reading and writing awareness) nor ICT etc are healthy parts of early childhood. I do not believe in adult-led play – I believe in children playing for play’s sake. I do not see the value in being able to ensure that a child can count or perform some of the “tricks” that put our children onto the labour market (yes they may be able to do some of these things but these should not be how we judge small children – there are far better ways of giving children a childhood and judge them on academics later on in life).

    If we were to reverse the restrictions (say a political party got in based on Steiner child development theories) then I’m sure other parents would be concerned that their children were not receiving an appropriate education either. Therefore I say that there should be a balance and that no Goverment should politicise early years education in such a way – yes by all means have a suggestion of guidelines but don’t force them upon all children. Allow certain philosophies the right to continue and also allow parents to opt out of certain activities etc if they have no choice but to place their child in childcare.

    Until now, there were “get-outs” but from September 2008 childminders, nurseries, kindergartens and so on will have to ignore their own philosophies of healthy childhood development and go with this one-size model which is political. It is restrictive rather than freeing and anyone who takes a more holistic approach, rightly or wrongly, to childhood will no longer be able to do so.

    Yes, these restrictions may only apply to “professionals” but we all know in the home ed community how much disempowerment has happened with other bits of legislation that have filtered through. I had to choose home education because I could not choose the type of education I wanted for my child in the school system. Now with further children and perhaps my grandchildren they won’t even escape “the system” in their early years.

    Yes, it’s no problem for those of you who agree with EYFS parameters and that’s fine but is it right that politics are put onto small children to dictate the method in which they learn? Parents will have even less choice.

  4. I forgot to say that at least under Section 7 of the Education Act 1996, parental choice plays a role. Through this backdoor the Labour Government have managed to direct children onto a conveyor belt which has no parental choice.

  5. Hi Jaki
    I didn’t mean to imply that the curriculum applied to parents/ grandparents, just that they should be interested in it.

    Hi John
    It’s the part about reading/ writing which particularly grates, but that appears to be the part up for debate. Can you point to the bits of their documentation online that discuss this goal perhaps?

    Liz – I’m right with you.

  6. Thanks for the heads up, Jax. Have signed…or will have once they send me the email confirmation…

    I suppose you only have to think that it is impossible to ladle information into the head of another and that it is far better to personalise the learning, follow the interests of the child and offer information surrounding these interests, to think that this petition needs signing.

  7. Have signed and will blog it 🙂 Number 4 is so true – why do so few people seem to notice this?

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