Head teachers and school leaders have called for early years education to receive the same status and investment as other phases of education.
As Ofsted delivers its annual report into early years education today (Thursday 03 April), NAHT said it hoped to see recognition by the schools’ inspectorate of the contribution made by the early years sector in laying the foundations for future success. NAHT also set out its members' recommendations for raising standards still further.
In a recent poll of its members, NAHT found that 90 per cent of respondents agreed that early years teachers should receive equal status in pay and qualifications to their colleagues in primary and secondary phases.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of NAHT: “High quality education and care in the early years are the foundation of the education system. It should be a real priority. This means equal status in terms of funding, career paths and qualifications - warm words are not enough."
NAHT's recommendations include:
· Giving early years teachers access to full qualified teacher status and the same pay scales;
· Making full investment in this highly skilled workforce by applying the pupil premium from the age of two and ending the Age Weighted Pupil Unit.
Mr Hobby said: “At the moment funding per pupil increases with age. This does not reflect the reality of education, where early investment creates the most benefit; Getting the foundations right makes everything else so much easier. And getting it right depends on the skill and motivation of those who work with young children.
"High quality early education narrows the gap. This does not necessarily mean formal 'schooling' - it also means exploring the world through play, building physical skills, learning to share and work with others, developing communications skills; and a love of reading can be built from the very start.
"We would like to see all political parties making a commitment to transform the early years sector by making investment in the workforce a key part of their manifestoes. Politicians should not see this as a question of extending childcare but as a way of demonstrating a genuine commitment to narrowing the gap in attainment."
Page Published: 03/04/2014