Ofsted’s report: Bold Beginnings

Ofsted Bold Beginnings

RoS’ Emma Bishton is asking for your thoughts on the Ofsted report, Bold Beginnings.

Bold Beginnings was intended to inform what happens in schools, what happens in inspections, and future government education policy about early years. The report, based on a survey of a tiny minority of primary schools, makes recommendations for four groups of people about reception teaching. Please read our full statement here.

We would like to hear what you think by 16th February so we can publish them in our response to this report.

 

7 Comments on “Ofsted’s report: Bold Beginnings

  1. Please raise compulsory school age . At four years old and the curriculum getting tougher it’s too much for our youngsters to manage .
    They will have many years to learn . Let them be young !

    Speaking from experience .

  2. As a parent about to send my summer born (so still only 3) twins to reception this September the increasing academic focus on the early years at school concerns me. I say this as someone who loved school. There is so much evidence that play based learning and even no formal school at all is best until 6/7 I cant understand why the uk is going in the opposite direction. I cant see my boys being ready for long sat down sessions in 8 months. Their nursery does 30 minutes of formal teaching time a day and they are already asking lots of questions about phonics – we spot letters and numbers when out walking. They are imaginative and tell amazing stories. I dont want them to lose that or to feel like failures because at just turned 4 they wont be ready to sit and be taught for hours. I dont care how well they are performing compared to their peers. They need far more skills in adult life than simply racing through academic knowledge.

  3. Pressure on young children to the degree that they loose their childhood is wrong. Yes children need to learn maths and literacy, but why does it have to be done in such an obvious and intrusive way, so that OfSted can see it in a 30 to 60 minute observation. If children don’t learn to read and write and complete basic maths, parents would notice and be upset. This doesn’t happen, yet still we forge forwards claiming they don’t know enough, early enough. What many children no longer know thanks to changes in the year 1 and above curriculum is imagination, creativity and problem solving. We have really young children suffering mental anxiety about school as they feel like a failure at 5. Children who don’t know any playground games because no one has the time to teach them fun games to share with friends. Anxiety ridden children who don’t have time to talk about and understand their feelings as that is not timetabled into the day. Okay, emotional well being and social skills could be eradicated in the early years as skills learnt at home (although secondary schools have recently reinvented the wheel and reintroduced it) but when? Young children spend very little time awake at home outside of school hours. We have a broken society at the moment, and far too much pressure on schools to conform and tick boxes, with a complete disregard to children’s emotional well being. Society and businesses will not thrive with robots who can dole out the facts but lack empathy or social skills. We are already seeing the impact of the dramatic changes of the national curriculum, the main one being younger and younger children being told they are not at the required standard. We are not creating high achievers, we are creating self conscious worriers.

  4. My child attends an “outstanding school” he is lucky that they use a creative curriculum. They seem to achieve very good results whilst achieving a balance between maths, literacy, phonics taught in a traditional way and child led play. I don’t know how they do it! I am a teacher and have visited many Primary schools where this just isn’t happening though. Senior leaders are so focused on results (understandably so!) that all else seems to go out of the window. The children are bored, uninspired and clearly do not enjoy learning! It’s shocking. We need our curriculum to focus on developmental milestones and cognitive theory of how children learn best, to focus on a holistic and child centred approach, on social and emotional learning and helping children become independent and resilient. The progress and the numbers will sort themselves out if we get the basics right. It’s such a transparent political tactic by the government to respond to educational underachievement in this way. Isn’t it about time we focused on a cross party approach to education, along with a MDT approach, planning an inclusive and child centred approach that delivers better outcomes for our children?

  5. As a mother of two children I have enjoyed watching how much both children thrived and enjoyed reception. My youngest is still in reception and I marvel and appreciate (as a primary teacher myself ) at how much time and effort the reception teacher puts into the learning environment. My daughter loves it she is able to play but is also able to learn phonics through for example painting letters on clingfilm wrapped around table legs ! She has made rainbow sandwiches and eaten rainbow toast ! She also just recently got her first reading book with words and is loving it. What is sad to see is the increased pressure on reading and writing and maths as they move through the year groups. My son who is in y2 has lost some of the enthusiasm for learning he had in reception. As a y1 teacher I would love it if y1 could emulate the early years curriculum. Making the curriculum formal for 4 and 5 year olds is wrong !

  6. As you obviously know the Bold Beginnings document is hugely flawed. It’s premise is entirely devoid of any actual creditable Early Years reseach. Not only this, this document advocates practice that will cause irreparable damage to children as they are only just beginning their school journey.

    • Thank you for your comments. We will incorporate them into our response.

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