Schools ‘given more powers to recruit two-year-olds’

The Telegraph is reporting that schools will be given extra freedom to enrol children aged just two under new legislation designed to drive up standards of early education…

A law passing through Parliament scraps bureaucratic hurdles that prevent schools automatically opening their doors to the youngest pupils.

The proposals mean head teachers can effectively register two-year-olds as pupils – in the same way as normal school-age children – rather than classifying them as part of separate early years provision. The existing cut-off is the age of three.

Ministers insist it will cut red tape and make it easier for schools to admit the youngest pupils into nursery classes.

Currently, just over one-in-20 schools – six per cent – take two-year-olds, with recent government figures suggesting only 12 per cent plan to expand.

But childcare experts warned that the move represented evidence of the “schoolification” of the early years, warning that it risks undermining children’s natural development…

Under the new Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, schools will be exempt from registering two-year-olds separately with Ofsted. Currently, they must be placed on the early years register, subjecting them to different inspections from older pupils.

At the same time, Ofsted is also proposing to introduce a common inspection framework – inspecting nurseries using the same criteria as schools.

A briefing document on the Bill says: “This will reduce the bureaucratic burden on schools – and has already been done for three and four-year-old provision.”…

More at: Schools ‘given more powers to recruit two-year-olds’


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