The Learning Curve

BBC Radio 4’s The Learning Curve did an excellent, albeit short feature, on the Open EYE campaign yesterday evening. Graham Kennish of the Open EYE steering group explained very clearly the flawed nature of the EYFS, likening it to a bright red, rosy apple with a worm in it. He also highlighted the harmful and compulsory nature of the curriculum and the seriously flawed consultation process that led to it. For those who missed it, do take the opportunity to listen again here – fast forward to the last 4 minutes of the programme.

Action Required – A CHANCE TO RESPOND
In 4 minutes it is obviously impossible to say everything and I am sure that there are lots of further points you would like to hear made. Well, here is your chance! The Learning Curve is always keen to hear from interested callers who wish to respond or add to something they heard on the last week’s programme.

Therefore, please e-mail the Learning Curve –  there’s a link on the programme’s web-site, here – in the next few days, as quite apart from anything else this will help convince Libby Purves to cover this issue again in May. This is a seriously good forum for Open EYE to be involved in, and I believe we must make as much noise as humanly possible to keep the pressure up!

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2 Responses to The Learning Curve

  1. Mo Newland says:

    This affects out of school clubs too!

  2. Alison Harris says:

    I was very relieved to hear about the Open Eye campaign on the Learning Curve.

    I contacted the Dept of Children, Families etc several months ago, asking for the names of the contributory authors to the Foundation Stage Guidelines. I have yet to receive a reply. It is glaringly obvious to me that whoever did compose the Foundation Stage documents has little understanding of how pre-school children learn and develop.

    I would like to know on what evidence the targets in the Foundation Stage are based. All the evidence I have encountered suggests that they are, at best, ineffectual and at worst, harmful. If you could send me any references of evidence supporting these targets, I would be grateful.

    Several years ago I tried to find out who had actually started this apparently unturnroundable juggernaut and only one name cropped up – Chris Woodhead (whose background is secondary and tertiary education). I would be most interested to ascertain if this is, indeed, the case or, if not, who did start this off.

    Closer to home, I have yet to meet one person working in the pre-school field who is happy with the targets and the prescriptive way they are required to work with this age group. There is now an added danger, in that the government is funding children to start pre-school education at increasingly earlier ages (two and a half is the latest in some areas). Staff working with these children are not only teachers, but classroom assistants and others who have limited training, and whom I have myself seen incorrectly interpreting and applying the Foundation Stage targets to these very young children.

    I would like to suggest that the BBC does a proper one hour programme covering a) the history of this mad endeavour – who started and supported it, and how, against all the teachers’, educationalists’ and parents’ own views, it has continued for so long and b) a thorough assessment of the evidence for and against these Foundation Stage targets (using proper child development experts – not bureaucrats from the Dept of Children, Families etc). Lastly, I suggest a discussion about how things should be changed.

    I have to say that what has moved me to write was hearing a heart-rending discussion between Penelope Leach and some bureaucrat from the Dept of Children Families etc on Radio 4 discussing this issue. Penelope Leach was valiantly trying to communicate with this glaringly uninformed and ignorant young man, who could only reply with meaningless government gobbledigook. It was then that I realised just how bad the situation has become.
    Alison Harris (retired paediatric speech and language therapist)

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