Early years education must be an election priority, say campaigners

The TES is reporting that an alliance of early years organisations has sent a letter to the three main party political leaders calling on them to prioritise the needs of young children in their election manifestos…

The 10 groups, including Early Education and the Pre-School Learning Alliance, say current policies for preschool children are “developmentally inappropriate”.

The letter, which was co-ordinated by umbrella group the Save Childhood Movement, says: “We are deeply concerned about the Department for Education’s current consistent disregard of expert opinion and advice together with the development of early years policies that are not backed by the sector and not underpinned by global best practice and evidence.”

It has published its own Manifesto for the Early Years, which calls for play-based care until age 6 and highly-trained early years workers.

It cites the incoming baseline tests for four-year-olds as an example of the way the sector is being ignored…

The call has also been backed by leading Finnish educationalist Pasi Sahlberg, visiting professor at Harvard University. In a letter to the Save Childhood Movement, he says: “I share with others a growing global concern about the current increase in developmentally inappropriate policymaking together with education systems that prioritise… test-based accountability over child and family happiness and well being.

“Focus on equity gives high priority to universal early childhood programs, comprehensive health and special education services in schools, but also demands a whole-child approach to curriculum that does not put narrow academic attainment over vital social and emotional skills and personal development.”…

More at: Early years education must be an election priority, say campaigners

Your thoughts on the points being made by this collective of early years organisations? Do you think they make a good case or was Estelle Morris right yesterday is calling for a sensible middle ground between those taking polar extremes? Please give us your insights in the comments or via Twitter…

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Categories: Pre-school and Primary.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Not saying this isn’t an important issue but aren’t they bound to say this? I teach secondary & think that’s a major issue

  2. PennyWebb

    Hello – I am a core member of the Save Childhood Movement, Early Education Group. Yes – you are right we are bound to say this but it is not just about Early Years – because if we get it right in Early Years then those who teach in Primary and Secondary will reap the benefits of students who will be able to use the opportunities offered and who will have much better outcomes, academically, socially and emotionally.

    It is about the bigger picture – a bit like neglecting to care for a seedling and expecting a healthy, productive plant to develop.

  3. WayneBulpitt

    Sherbs1 but 94% already benefit says billet so is £2m to help other 35 y/p (and increase time attended for another 300?) biggest priority?

  4. Sherbs1

    WayneBulpitt I am disappointed that we seem to be on opposite sides of the debate on this one Wayne. 140 not enough to challenge your stats

  5. Sherbs1

    oldfarmhorace WayneBulpitt Then give me a call. It’s 94% of the 44% who responded to survey who claim that their Child attended pre school

  6. Sherbs1

    oldfarmhorace WayneBulpitt 61% of the 94% say that their child attends 15 hours or more. The mode from the responders was 9 hours.

  7. Sherbs1

    oldfarmhorace WayneBulpitt Cohort was 600 families, 266 replied. (44% response rate ) Socioeconomic groups of responders not known

  8. Sherbs1

    oldfarmhorace WayneBulpitt Survey carried out by Ed Sept 2013 of all reception class children on their pre school exp.

  9. WayneBulpitt

    Sherbs1 same side on benefits of pre-school, but disappointed no assessment of other priorities for C&YP/£2m through group Ed are part of

  10. oldfarmhorace

    Sherbs1 WayneBulpitt Whole strategies have been designed and implemented on fewer responses. We must assume it is representative.

  11. Sherbs1

    oldfarmhorace WayneBulpitt You’re prob correct and thats why we have progressed props Min 15 hrs for everyone and quality control #nonatmo

  12. Sherbs1

    WayneBulpitt Understand. I am now a member as you know but awaiting invite to first meeting. Would like to discuss

  13. CathyWood55

    SchoolsImprove We had a really good scheme called Sure Start until 2010 -whatever happened to that? I thought it was safe in Tory hands.

  14. Sherbs1

    WayneBulpitt All of our neighbours believe it to be so and are now discussing improvements. We have no quality assured provision. So , Yes

  15. Sherbs1

    WayneBulpitt However, I also believe that a Birth to 5 strategy and targetted early years prov is required in addition. #increasetaxforit

  16. KeithMaxwell21

    CathyWood55 SchoolsImprove Tories basically got rid of everything that came before – because they could and because they don’t think.

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