Comment on Ofsted report on reception education

Commenting on Ofsted’s report into reception classes in schools, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“Ofsted has missed the opportunity to call for the quality of early education that our children need and deserve. Reading, writing, numeracy have their place in the curriculum, but the best early years education involves teacher-guided learning through play. The international evidence for this is clear, and it is a great pity that Ofsted is paying it no attention.

“Instead of exploring research evidence, Ofsted has chosen to play politics with young children’s learning based on a small-scale survey. This report risks strengthening moves towards the formal teaching of content to young children, in ways that are not appropriate to their age and interests.

“The youngest children in our schools should not be fed a narrow curriculum diet of synthetic phonics and rote memorisation, but encouraged to explore their world through play. Play-based learning is not a soft option, but the best way to ensure rounded development of young children. Done well, a play-based approach will help children to develop the broad vocabulary, self-regulation, and the fine motor skills to thrive when the time is right to begin more formal learning. This is something that other countries grasp, but we are in danger of forgetting in England.”




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Press release
30 November 2017