Supplementary memorandum from the Qualifications
and Curriculum Authority (QCA 09)
I hope that the Select Committee's oral evidence
session with the QCA last week provided you and your colleagues
with a helpful insight into our work. The session covered a wide
range of topical issues that face QCA although, as I said, the
focus rested firmly on school-related matters.
You asked for my further comments on two matters:
work on early years; and issues raised by Professor Tymms about
the national curriculum English tests at key stage 2. I shall
write to you separately, and in detail, to address the points
Professor Tymms has raised about the key stage 2 English tests.
The attached annex offers some further detail
on early years work since June 2000, when QCA gave evidence to
the Select Committee on Education and Employment. That Committee
raised some important issues and we found the discussion very
helpful. You can, I think, be reassured that the discussion influenced
the work that followed.
It was clear to us from the June 2000 evidence
session that it would be most important to evaluate the effectiveness
of the guidance issued in 2000. This we did and we are pleased
to hear the generally positive response to the document. Practitioners
are finding it helpful. We also produced, in October last year,
further guidance material that included case studies of good practice.
The Committee also rightly pointed out that
there were gaps in the skills and training of those involved in
early years provision. As part of our broader work on developing
the national qualifications framework, we have looked carefully
at qualifications available in childcare and play work, and we
published an updated framework of these sorts of qualifications
in June last year. This has been an important facet of the wider
training programme that the Department has been running.
I hope that this provided some helpful amplification.