Staff training vital to success of new early years curriculum

All early years staff must have access to appropriate training if they are to successfully implement the new curriculum for under-fives, the Pre-School Learning Alliance has warned.

Last week the government launched a consultation on its plans to create a compulsory “development and learning framework” by September 2008 for all children aged five and under.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) – part of the Childcare Bill currently going through Parliament – will bring together the existing Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage, the Birth to Three Matters framework and the National Standards for Under-8s Day Care and Childminding. 

It will apply to all early years providers that have to register with Ofsted, as well as to independent, maintained and non-maintained special schools with provision for children below the age of five.

Education charity the Pre-School Learning Alliance welcomed the unification of the existing guidance, insisting that concerns about it leading to an overly-prescriptive curriculum were “misplaced”.

However, the charity’s training and quality assurance director Michael Freeston, warned that the success of the new framework would now be determined by the government’s approach to its introduction and the support given to staff in relation to the increased planning that would be required.

“Staff will need training to do this effectively,” Freeston said. “We welcome the increased importance placed on self-reflection – where practitioners get together to look at their progress – and support for this is essential. But it must be made available to all workers in the sector. Previous training programmes have not necessarily reached everybody.”

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