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Help us create a manifesto for early years and primary education

Dear Supporter,

In the run up to the general election, there will be a big debate around education and what it should look like in this country.

The National Union of Teachers’ has launched a fantastic manifesto for education that can be downloaded here.

We would like to follow this example with a manifesto that looks in detail at the changes we would like to see made to early years and primary education.

We are therefore inviting as many people as possible to attend our “creating a manifesto for early years and primary education” meeting on Saturday 8th November, venue tbc.

At this event, we will also discuss how we can move towards a boycott of “baseline” tests for four year olds.

More details, including speakers will be sent out shortly but please put this date aside in your diary!

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Parliamentary seminar on Early Years a huge success.

Over 90 people attended the Charter for Primary Education and Working Towards a National Campaign for Education parliamentary seminar on the Early Years on the 10th June. The seminar was packed full of teachers, Early Years Advisors, Early Years Professionals and others with an interest in Early Education.

The message from the seminar was clear. Current government policies are undermining children’s early educational experiences, forcing the youngest children in to overly formalised education at an age where they are simply not developmentally ready to cope with it.

The highlight of the seminar for many, was the talk from Neuropsychologist Sally Blythe who gave an excellent presentation in to dangers of focussing on the “academic” aspects of learning at the cost of focusing on children’s physical development. She talked about the necessary physical development that must take place before children are ready to sit still or to listen and concentrate for prolonged periods, to hold a pencil or count using their fingers. The PowerPoint presentation that Sally used is available to download here.

The Charter for Primary Education plans to call an open activists meeting early in Autumn term to discuss our next steps. Watch this space.

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Fair Test?

Freeing the Angel

I know what I think about the standardised testing of tiny children, and it’s not pretty. However, if the ‘powers that be’ are determined to bring in a baseline test for children at the start of school, then it is important that they design a fair test. I have some questions, and I am not sure that anyone can actually answer these questions. Certainly, I am not convinced that these questions can ever be answered in a way that leads to a test which is reliable, accurate and ethical. One that is of value for children, parents and teachers, as well as for the system.

1. A baseline is most useful to practitioners and teachers when it is done at the point at which a child begins in a setting. That way it can inform the child’s learning right from the start. But if a baseline test is done at the…

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