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


Memorandum from the National Association of Head Teachers (EYF 14)

  1.  NAHT welcomes the report and the government's response, recognising the vital importance of the early years as a crucial stage for children's development and learning. The significant investment in this area in recent years has been unprecedented, long overdue and should be sustained over a long-term period.

Quality Assurance

  2.  The report highlights the importance of trained teachers in early education and of a trained and qualified workforce in the early years. The recommendations for training and qualifications are particularly welcome. It is of vital importance that children receive the same high quality nursery education, whatever the setting, from fully trained and qualified practitioners. All early years education must be in the hands of qualified, graduate teachers. The teacher will need to be supported by suitably qualified additional staff, as well as by voluntary support, but it must be the teacher who is in overall control of the planning, teaching and assessment of the young child's learning. The teacher should be an early years specialist who has followed a course of initial teacher education appropriate to the needs of young children. The Association considers that qualified members of staff in early education settings are entitled to a wage commensurate with their qualifications, roles and responsibilities.

Integration Initiatives

  3.  With the developments in the integration of early education and childcare we would argue that a formula for the pay of heads of early excellence and nursery centres should be devised, taking account of children on roll in both early education and day care, the staff:child ratio and the responsibilities of working with parents, training and other activities. We propose that STRB establishes a working party to give careful and detailed consideration to these issues.

The Curriculum

  4.  We support the introduction of the Foundation Stage and the emphasis placed on learning experiences being matched to the needs of the child. The curriculum should be developed, planned and delivered in a way most appropriate to the age, needs and abilities of the child.


  5.  We recommend that "baseline assessment" should be renamed and take place at the end of the reception year. We would advocate that the end of foundation stage assessment is a culmination of the ongoing assessment process throughout the stage, based on good early years practice. All staff in all settings would be involved in training and continuing professional development. The development of moderation and audit processes could be supported, verified and validated throughout the foundation stage by LEA and EYDCP officers. This would develop staff expertise, confirm reliability and also provide guidance for assessment on entry to any setting at any point during the foundation stage.


  6.  We welcome the recognition of the important role that parents play in the development and education of their children. Support programmes assist parents to fulfil this role.

April 2001

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 21 June 2001