OpenEye March news

OpenEYE consists of a unique and growing multi-disciplinary team of experts who have come together through a shared concern about Early Childhood in the UK. They have the support of an increasing number of childminders, parents, practitioners and teachers. Additional  support comes from a prestigious and growing group of international researchers, authors and early childhood experts.

We are committed to ensuring that Early Years policy-making in England fully supports the rights of both parents and children. We believe that: 

i) the new legal framework for Learning & Development in the Early Years Foundation Stage is an unjustifiable intrusion into non-compulsory pre-school education, with its potential for negative unforeseen consequences
ii) parents should be able to choose the kind of setting that is right for their child
iiI) every child should be free to develop his or her unique capacities and potential
iv) young children should be protected from the downward pressures of ‘schoolification’
v) policy-making must be appropriately responsive to global opinion and research

Childcare Fees Continue to Rise

Many parents in Britain are paying in excess of £8,000 a year for a full-time nursery place, a new Daycare Trust survey suggests.
The yearly cost of a typical nursery place for a child under two was £8,684 in England, £8,216 in Scotland and £7,592 in Wales.
The trust said for England this was a 5% increase on the previous 12 months, compared with a 3.1% inflation rate.

With the government working towards higher level qualifications for all Early Years staff, we wonder, especially in the current economic climate, how parents and nursery settings are going to be able to afford all these new professionals?

OpenEYE is fully committed to excellence in Early Years provision, (in fact we think that Early Years teachers need really specialised training). We are, however, worried that insufficient thought has been put to the realities of the situation.

A Generation that cannot think?

Professor Tim Birkhead’s article in the TES expresses his concern that overly prescriptive education systems are eliminating the ‘discovery process’ from learning and resulting in university students who cannot think for themselves:

The most striking thing about some undergraduates is their dependence, their lack of initiative and their reluctance to think for themselves. This is reflected in their often-shocking inability to engage in intellectual conversation and to organise their thoughts in writing.’

 More Evidence about summer-born children

‘Birthdate Effects: A Review of the Literature from 1990-on’, published by the Cambridge Assessment, part of Cambridge University, says that developmental psychology suggests that children between the ages of four and five may not be ready for formal schooling.  It says factors such as leaving familiar surroundings, facing separation from their parents and adapting to new routines could help to explain why children born in the summer perform less well overall in exams than those born in Autumn or Winter.

Data from 13 local education authorities (LEAs) providing GCSE results undertaken in 1990 to 1994 shows that summer-borns achieved the lowest results in ten LEAs and autumn-born children were the highest achievers in nine LEAs.The review concludes that the birthdate effect is much weaker in countries where formal schooling begins at a later age.

In a letter to Sir Jim Rose, who is conducting a Government-backed review into primary education, Tim Oates, group director of assessment research and development at Cambridge Assessment, called for urgent research into how best to remedy the birthdate effect.

Summer-born children ‘not ready for school at four’, says study By Melanie Defries Nursery World 17 February 2009

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