Examination of Witnesses (Question 39)|
21 MAY 2008
Q39 Chairman: I welcome the next set
of witnesses, Graham Kennish, Sylvie Sklan, Professor Morag Stuart
and Anne Nelson. Some of you are familiar with this setting and
the Committee and some are not, so I welcome you all. You have
been sitting behind the previous set of witnesses and therefore
know how lively the first session has been, and we are keen to
build on that. I want to get right into the questioning, but would
you start by saying quickly why you are here and what you think
of the discussion that we have just had?
Graham Kennish: I have a background
in education throughout all the years, with a Steiner emphasis,
and am here to represent Open EYE. The discussion was most refreshing.
One of the most refreshing things about it was that those who
differed, however strongly, were able to communicate clearly with
those who were listening. I found the interchange between yourselves
and within the group a refreshing experience, with people actually
listening to one another. That has been absolutely and severely
lacking in the exchanges that Open EYE has experienced with the
Government over Ministers' replies to questions. We have received
endless standard, computerised letters. There is a gulf in communication,
which I saw in the video of your speaking to Ofsted last weekit
was as though you were speaking different languages with the same
words. We need to expose that gulf, because so many people flood
into Open EYE's website, and we are just desperate to communicate
some realities, which are not being heard by the people who are
in power. What is happening on the ground is different.
Sylvie Sklan: I am Sylvie Sklan.
I am from the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship, the member organisation
for all the Steiner early years settings and the Steiner schools
in this country. I am here to represent how the EYFS impacts on
Morag Stuart: I am Morag Stuart.
I am from the Institute of Education. I am probably here because
I was a member of the advisory group for the Rose review.
Chairman: We like having you here.
Morag Stuart: The Rose review
recommended that by the age of about five children are ready to
start learning phonics.
Anne Nelson: I am Chief Executive
of the British Association for Early Childhood Education. It is
a membership organisation that promotes quality in early years.
Our remit is from birth to eight, so we go beyond that of EYFS.
I found the discussion stimulating, and it was good to see people
listening to each other. I have several points to make that you
have not covered yet, but I shall wait to see whether they come
up in questions. I found it most fascinating at the beginning
to touch on workforce issues. One document, although it is enshrined
in law, cannot compensate for the lack of a qualified workforce,
which has to be one of the greatest challenges. If you do not
understand child development and do not have a strong initial
qualification, you cannot use whatever document is put in front
of you. That is one of my greatest concerns among the issues that
came before you during the last discussion.
Chairman: Those of you who know the history
of the previous Education and Skills Committee will know that
the skills, the pay and the training of the early years workforce
has been an obsession of ours for a long time. We will be looking
at that in another inquiry quite soon.