New EYFS...reforms. Oh...they're not for you!
I am not an academic and definitely cannot write eloquently as some educational bloggers do. However, I write straight from the heart and question what my mind says! So please forgive me if some of what I say does not academically sound right. It is my interpretation of the status quo!
So, during lockdown, as if educators, teachers and practitioners were not stressed enough, the Government releases the new proposed EYFS with the new ELG's. But in hindsight, maybe it was for the best because it has given everybody time to really look at these reforms properly and respond. In our usual busy lives, people may have just skimmed them over as other things would have been priority.
I am a qualified EYT working in the PVI sector and mainly deal with children aged 2-4 years old. The shocking thing for me was the fact that the document was not for me, apparently. It was aimed at Reception class teachers who assess children against the ELG's. So then I'm thinking, well how does it not affect me because I deal with the children that this document will eventually tick children off against, so do I need to work backwards? Or as in academic terms, "top down". I then find this in the Governments EYFS Reforms on page 4 quoted from Ofsted’s Early Years Inspection Handbook4: ‘Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working.
Well now I am really stumped because Ofsted is saying I should not be taking a "top down" approach but the new EYFS Reforms- thats not meant for me - is suggesting that I do.
In the Early Educations' response to the reforms, point 7 is very pertinent to it all. "Practitioners made clear the importance of the close relationship between the EYFS Statutory Framework and the non-statutory guidance including Development Matters. This in turn means that one document cannot be changed without addressing the supporting documents which are heavily used by the sector. Consulting on partial changes without the detail of how this fits into the entire Framework and non-statutory guidance is therefore problematic."
What I find really distressing is early years is classed as 0-5 years. The EYFS is about children aged 0-5 years. The development matters is about children aged 0-5. In the private sector, practitioners are assessing children from 0-4 years but no importance has been placed on this when the ELG's have been reformed. How are the EYFSP results ever going to improve if the 0-4 year are not looked at. You cannot start at the end and work your way backwards....logistically its wrong but physically you will end up being sick!
When the revised Development Matters is released, I like many many PVI practitioners will be looking at this and wondering why has it been revised. We have just got our practitioners used to the current one and it is working well. What needs to be stripped and looked at is if children are not achieving GLD in Reception, why is it. Is it to do with teacher assessment or is it to do with a curriculum that is tailored to ensure children fail. How on earth can you use one document to assess children from differing backgrounds and then that brings me on to EAL children and children with "disadvantaged" backgrounds.
A child from a family that speaks English, attends nursery full time , parents are fully engaged with his home learning, parents do activities with him at home is going to be very different to a child that does not speak English at home, attends the free funded 15 hours nursery, term time only, parents do not engage with the nursery and cannot do home learning as they do not speak English themselves. Yes, I get the "well if they speak their home language" they are fine spiel...but really they re not. Because if a teacher is reading a story in a language that they do not understand....how are they going to benefit from that! Or giving instructions in English. Maybe a conference should be held in a foreign language sometime and see how that feels for all the delegates that do not speak that language! However, both children are probably physically fine, happy at nursery, engage well with their friends and teachers but when it comes to the tick sheet....one will achieve the ELG's and one will not.
One can argue, well its all about the rich, stimulating, enabling environment that is going to be set up for them so of course they will catch up with their peers! Oh and the fantastic trained practitioner that is going to work with them too.
The ELG's have been set up to fail some children, not because the children cannot do things, but because they are not all given the same playing field to be able to achieve the goals and this is more prevalent in the "deprived" areas EYFSP results.
I understand that there has to be an element of accountability as public funds are used and I understand there has to be something to be able to measure things against. But what I do not understand is why are we segregated in the early years when we all work with the same children. I feel this EYFS reform has segregated us even more between the private and public sector. It has really highlighted the fact that what we do in early years in the PVI is not important because the ultimate goal is the EYFSP result which will be assessed in schools. Instead of bringing the sector together and helping us ALL to help the children, yet again we have been divided.
As you have noticed, I haven't spoken about any of the elements or the removal of shape, space and measure or the addition of oral health, because apparently, its not for me!