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Reception year is critical - but policy must be evidence based, says NAHT

According to school leaders’ union, NAHT, the positive, long-term impact that high-quality Early Years’ provision can have on children is well-known, especially when it comes to those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, but we should not be too prescriptive about how Reception teachers achieve this. 

Responding to Ofsted’s new report Bold Beginnings, launched today, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT said, “A spotlight is being shone upon Reception year at the moment, by both the government and by Ofsted. A recognition of the importance of Reception is certainly welcome – it is a critical and pivotal year.

“However, when looking at outcome data for the Reception year, we shouldn't forget that children start school at different stages of development and data reflects more than just that year’s experience.

“Nine out of ten primary schools are rated good or better by Ofsted. Overwhelmingly, the school system serves the youngest learners very well. This report should not cast unnecessary doubt on that record, undermining the good work done by Early Years professionals.  

“There is a wealth of evidence-based research showing which teaching methods make the most difference in the Early Years - we need to make sure that policy-making, advice and guidance for professionals is firmly rooted within that, and that Early Years experts are fully involved.

“The profession has welcomed Ofsted’s recent clarification that they have no preferred style of teaching, and it would be a shame if this report clouded or obscured that message.

“One thing is clear, schools need well-trained, highly qualified professionals to lead the learning in Reception. It is hard to see how the government’s current plans to remove the requirement for Reception teachers to hold QTS will lead to better provision and ultimately higher standards.”

Page Published: 29/11/2017