Open letter to Ofsted following early years report
January 26, 2018
On Tuesday, an open letter organised by ‘Keeping Early Years Unique’ was published in the Guardian. The letter expressed shared concern about Ofsted’s ‘Bold Beginnings’ report, which was released in November 2017. The report had been critical of the status quo in education in reception, claiming that it was a “false start” for many.
The letter argued that ‘Bold Beginnings’ would lead to a narrowing of the curriculum due to additional focus on numeracy and literacy. Concerns were also raised about an increase in formal teaching in reception, consequently lessening the opportunity for play. The report was described as both ‘biased’ and based upon “flawed evidence”, while the letter predicted that its implementation would be a “potential disaster.”
Notable signatures included TV presenter and academic Robert Winston, and the shadow early years minister Tracy Brabin. The National Education Union’s joint general secretaries, Kevin Courtney and Dr Mary Bousted, also signed the letter alongside more than 1,850 others.
Governing boards should ensure that they have knowledge of the approach to early years teaching in their school, and the other options available, so that they can effectively challenge senior leaders.