Our children should be in school from the age of two

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Sir Michael Wilshaw is quoted as saying “our primary schools should open nursery provisions to give children a better start to their education.”

Wilshaw has been discussing his plans on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme ahead of the release of Ofsted’s first Early Years Education report, he stated “Too many nurseries are failing to ensure children are ready to learn when they get to primary school.” And that “A greater emphasis on structured learning is the answer”

He continued to say “More than two-thirds of our poorest children – and in some of our poorest communities that goes up to eight children out of 10 – go to school unprepared,” meaning that “they can’t hold a pen, they have poor language and communication skills, they don’t recognise simple numbers, they can’t use the toilet independently and so on.”

He calls for schools to take the lead by providing high-quality early-years education in on-site nurseries. Currently, around 6,700 primary schools have early years provisions onsite, Ofsted’s reforms could result in thousands more children aged two, three or four being enrolled in school-based nurseries – with teachers having more input into their education at an early stage.

Head of the National Day Nurseries Association, Purnima Tanuka, has hit back at Wilshaw, telling him he was “missing the most important point”.

She went on to highlight that Oftsed’s own report suggested that more than 80% of private and voluntary day nurseries were delivering “good or outstanding quality,”

On Monday we published an article which highlighted the announcement expected from Ofsted to introduce the testing of 2 year olds, as well as the shortfalls of our nurseries and pre-schools in developing our children.

Its seems the general feeling is that we should leave our 2 year olds to be 2 year olds, and that 4 is far too young for us to be putting pressure on our children to be at certain levels of readiness for school.

Just a few of your comments:

“I get so angry when I read that 4 year olds are not ready for ‘school’. Of course they are not ready. They should still be in a caring environment which is what pre-schools provide.”

“I think SHAME ON OFSTED to expect all children to be at the same readiness”

“There is so much pressure on children these days that they do not get the chance to develop their personal and social skills and spend time playing and exploring. They are children for such a short time already, why reduce that time by adding more pressure. Their school life is long enough!!!!”

 

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11 thoughts on “Our children should be in school from the age of two

  • April 22, 2014 at 1:16 pm
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    I agree with all the comments above. Once again we have an expert who seems to miss the point and makes sweeping decisions and statements which only serve to anger the people who work extremely long hours and provide in the main excellent care for our under 5’s. The government cant even sustain the sure start centers they opened and into which they piled £millions of public money, and now they are actually expecting us to believe that they have the means to offer school places to all our countries 2 year olds what a laugh, but for the co-operation of the private sector the government would not even be able to sustain its provision for the current 2 year funding given it would have to pay significantly more in Salaries than any nursery pays its staff and several hundred millions to bring the countries current primary schools to a point where they could even accomodate the extra numbers.

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  • April 22, 2014 at 1:10 pm
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    I agree with all the comments above. Once again we have a supposed expert who has no knowledge of what he is talking about and makes sweeping decisions and statements which only serve to anger the people who work extremely long hours and provide in the main excellent care for our under 5’s. The government cant even sustain the sure start centers they opened and into which they piled £millions of public money, and now they are actually expecting us to believe that they have the means to offer school places to all our countries 2 year olds what a laugh, but for the co-operation of the private sector the government would not even be able to sustain its provision for the current 2 year funding given it would have to pay significantly more in Salaries than any nursery pays its staff and several hundred millions to bring the countries current primary schools to a point where they could even accomodate the extra numbers.

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  • April 4, 2014 at 6:19 am
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    Of course all parents want their children to learn and be educated. But the government are missing the point. As parents we want the freedom to choose when we want. Where we want and in the style we think is right and best suited to our children (yes even siblings are unique in their way of learning) and that means what suits my son may not suit my daughter so i would match their personalities with a setting I felt would enhance and nurture my child’s individually abilities and help them to become confident and feeling they can start school and learn new things
    All of my children have been to a local playgroup and the staffs dedicatiin to my children and how they prepared my children for school entry was outstanding and my children all embraced their first year at school and achieved high results I could see in them (some not acedemic results) but equally as important

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  • April 3, 2014 at 5:32 pm
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    The head of Ofsted in his report on Early Years Education states that :

    He has already told his inspectors they should sharpen up, claiming too many of them are just describing what facilities settings have on offer, rather than describing what impact they are having on the development of the children in their care.

    In particular, he wants to report on whether they can recognise and sing nursery rhymes and familiar songs, take in new vocabulary, enjoy listening to stories and looking at picture books plus start to dress and undress themselves. He also states that he will urge all early years settings to keep a closer eye on their children at the ages of two, three and four – with regular assessments of what progress they are making with communication skills and an early start to reading and numeracy.

    Does he not understand the Revised Early Years Foundation Stage? This is what is already being done in I hope all early years settings.

    I despair how yet again early years providers are being bashed, we work long hours, and provide the care and learning children in a nurturing environment.

    He keeps quoting Finland and how wonderful their early years education is, I should imagine they are not receiving the unstainable amount of funding we do.

    We are bing asked to provide a first class service to the children in our care, which incidentally we do. However, with everything else that is required of private providers we are being asked to provide a rolls Royce service but only given paraffin to run it with.

    Michael Wilshaw should go back to worrying about inspections, I haven’t had one for nearly 6 years!!!!

    Bianca ( a very annoyed private provider)

    Ps when all these nurseries attached to school are up and running perhaps I could apply for a job in one!

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  • April 3, 2014 at 5:31 pm
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    As a childcare practitioner for over thirty years, I am not surprised by Mr Wilshaw’s comments. His lack of understanding of how children develop is apparent. It would be advisable for him and other member of OFSTED to gain some experience and education with regard to children’s development and skills i.e. speech. England is one of the few countries, pushes children to school at so early age causing unnecessary pressure to their development. It is not surprising they are not ready by the age of 4. Physically and Mentally they are not ready. At the age of two, children’s speech and understanding of concepts is still developing. In order to to develop important skills, children should remain in nurseries so they can get the care that is provided by the practitioners. They should stay in nurseries so they can play. Playing is instinctive and fundamental to our existence. Playing helps us survive and thrive by connecting us to other human beings and to sources of energy and excitement within ourselves. Play is simultaneously a source of calmness and relaxation, as well as a source of stimulation for the brain and body. Playfulness helps us be more inventive, smart, happy, flexible, and resilient. Sutton-Smith (2001) in his book “The ambiguity of play” believed that play is a sure (and fun) way to develop your imagination, creativity and problem-solving abilities. He continued to associate play as neonatal and biological. He associated play as part of the biological evolution as a model for human development where he argued that the child must play to master skills and to develop further. A play environment that is not necessarily full of beautiful toys and resources but environment that supported by sensitive adults.
    The recognition of the importance of qualified and experienced practioners has led to funding for the qualification of staff such as the latest Graduate Leader Fund (GLF) which was later followed by the Graduate Support Programme. The Government has set firm targets for all childcare workers to be qualified to Level 3 by 2015. Yet there is a vast shortfall in the amount of funding available to those who need to train, this is in excess of 15,000 trainees. Pay and conditions are important in retaining graduates and EYPs within childcare settings. Therefore, the government should invest in people and leave the kids alone.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 4:17 pm
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    The government aims to have 85% of Primary Schools at a Good Level in 2015 – we already have 80% of settings at Good/Outstanding – please leave the practitioners to do their jobs- which they do for a pittance, how many teachers would work for £8.00p an hour – with a degree in their chosen career. Will the schools b expected to provide quality, trained staff at a rate of £3.70 per hour per child – it will be very interesting to see. The government must know by now – ‘you can’t make a silk purse from a sows ear’ – but Early Years staff try their hardest to, for their children’s sake.

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  • April 3, 2014 at 12:36 pm
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    I feel the government should support practitioners who are already doing a fantastic job working in early years – instead of cutting all funding for example I began my foundation degree 18months ago and now all financial support has been withdrawn this frustrates me as I want to improve on my practice and provide the best care and education for young children but feel unsupported. Furthermore I have fantastic staff in my setting who would also like to further their knowledge but the lack of funding in an already low paid profession makes this not possible. I would also question where all the staff are going to come from to actually run these settings?

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  • April 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm
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    I do think that children should be in Nursery, but I am an owner so might say that. The problem is still that NVQ training does not teach practitioners how to teach. If you take the example of the Montessori course, whilst not perfect it does include the elements that provide an early years practitioner with the skills and KNOWLEDGE deliver a structured lesson. That practitioner can then do that through a mixture of play and instruction.

    The problem then is the inadequacy of the NVQ.

    Gary Wilson MA BA hons

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    • April 3, 2014 at 5:34 pm
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      At the nursery age you do not need to teach practitioners how to teach. Children should learn by play and should be care and supported by caring adults not teachers.

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    • April 7, 2014 at 6:38 am
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      Yeah but Gary, we are early years practitioners…… not teachers, so the NVQ isn’t to blame here at all, my NVQ has equipped me with the skills and knowledge to look after early years children, which is what its sole purpose, if I wanted to teach, I would have chosen the path to go down which would inevitably lead me to teaching.

      Reply

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