Ofsted: Reception year a ‘false start’ for too many children

Tes reports that for many children, poor experience in Reception year means that they lag behind their peers for the rest of their schooling, Ofsted has said. It is calling for better alignment between early years education and the key stage 1 curriculum.

In Bold Beginnings, a report on the Reception curriculum, Ofsted reports findings from a sample of “good” and “outstanding” schools.

It found that Reception year is far from successful for many children. For some, the report states, “it is a false start, and may predispose them to years of catching up, rather than forging ahead.” 

It adds: “For too many children…their Reception year is a missed opportunity that can leave them exposed to all the painful and unnecessary consequences of falling behind their peers.”

Beatrice Merrick, chief executive of the organisation Early Education, said: “We absolutely agree with Ofsted about the crucial importance of the Reception year, especially for the most disadvantaged children, for whom gaps that open early are hard to close as time goes on.”  

Inspectors also found that staff in almost every school found the early years foundation-stage profile burdensome. The report states: “Many teachers were devising tasks simply to tick off and record elements of the early learning goals, rather than developing a proper plan that focused on progression in learning.”

The report also highlighted the fact that most school leaders believed that newly qualified teachers had had little experience of teaching Reception during their training, and were not sufficiently prepared to teach maths, reading and writing at this level.

Read more Ofsted: Reception year a ‘false start’ for too many children

Do you agree with Ofsted’s findings? Are you an NQT who feels under prepared for teaching a Reception class? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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