Select Committee on Education and Employment Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from the Campaign for State Education (CASE) (EY 52)

CASE firmly believes that:

  1.  All early years provision for children up to the end of the Foundation Stage should be of high quality with;

    —  well trained and qualified staff who have ongoing professional development;

    —  a high ratio of adults to children;

    —  a curriculum building on children's innate desire to learn, covering all main areas of educational experience and based on learning through play, exploration, trying out, questioning, problem solving and reflection which enables all children to realise their talents, develop their particular interests and participate effectively in social and cultural life.

    —  welcoming and well maintained indoor and outdoor space with a wide variety of materials and equipment to reflect cultural diversity, provide a range of different experiences and meet the needs of all the children.

    —  a policy for equal opportunities clearly implemented

    —  an integrated approach which provides access and support for children who have special educational needs and all staff trained in this area.

  2.  Working with parents as equal partners and as co-ordinators is fundamental to good provision and should be part of all training for early years practitioners—this includes involving parents in the curriculum, helping them understand what their children are learning and how they can help and developing assessment systems in which they are fully involved.

  3.  There needs to be a close partnership with primary education so that children and parents experience a smooth transition between phases and the learning continuum is not interrupted. This means more primary teachers visiting early years settings and joint training between early years practitioners and Key Stage 1 teachers and assistants.

  4.  The views of children are important and listening to and taking account of what they have to say needs to be part of both the planning and assessment process.

  5.  The use of a framework for planning is vital and "Quality in Diversity in early learning" (published by National Children's Bureau Enterprises Ltd) is recommended for all settings.

  6.  A significant part of a child's learning comes from the local and wider community. All settings are part of a community. CASE believes that the curriculum can be greatly enriched by using the expertise within the community both by bringing new skills to the setting and by enabling children to have a wider learning experience outside the setting. Incorporating a range of supportive services for families such as exist in many Early Excellence Centres including libraries, toy libraries, learning opportunities for adults and health advice will also benefit children.

  CASE would welcome the opportunity to discuss the points raised in this submission in more detail with the Committee.

Campaign for State Education (CASE)

January 2000

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