Special Parliamentary Commitee meeting on EYFS

May 23, 2008

On May 21st, the Children, Schools and Families Parliamentary Committee (chaired by Barry Sheerman MP) held a special evidence-gathering meeting on the EYFS, arising in part from Open EYE’s meeting with Mr Sheerman in January. Coming hot on the heels of 70 MPs having signed EDM # 1031 raising Open EYE’s concerns, a welcome window of opportunity now exists for a comprehensive, dispassionate investigation into EYFS.

The Times newspaper of May 22nd reported that in a document ‘shelved’ by her Department, Ms Hughes’s advisors recently strongly advised the revision of EYFS’s more developmentally inappropriate literacy Learning Requirements. Every Committee meeting witness expressed shortcomings about the age-inappropriateness of some EYFS Learning Requirements. Other press reports of the event were released by the Press Association, by the Daily Telegraph, and by the Daily Mail (please scroll down to second article – Ministers press ahead with toddler curriculum – on the Daily Mail page).

Needless to say, Open EYE will let our website visitors know when there is more news about these exciting Parliamentary developments.

A video of the meeting is available at the UK Parliament website, although it appears that video accessibility is limited on this site.

A helpful and comprehensive report on the concerns raised at the Select Committee meeting has been published in Nursery World magazine.

The magazine also reports on a new Open EYE initiative to devise an alternative, more child-centred and developmentally appropriate framework that could replace the EYFS; and in a published letter, an up-to-date perspective is given on the campaign’s hopes in the light of the Select Committee’s special meeting on EYFS.

Meanwhile, a report by Melanie Defries in the latest issue picks up on the human-rights issues raised by the EYFS.



The Childminder Connection, as EYFS Continues to Unravel

May 19, 2008

This week, data showing a disturbing and consistent trend of decline in the number of registered childminders have precipitated a spate of media stories speculating about the link between this decline and the impending EYFS – e.g. in Nursery World magazine, the Daily Mail, and in the Daily Telegraph. In addition, a feature on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on 16 May (listen again here)
has precipitated a cascade of postings on the Woman’s Hour messageboard.

These reports are entirely consistent with our own experience at Open EYE, with many childminders having contacted us over recent months, some in despair, about the unnecessary over-bureaucratisation of the EYFS, and their intention to give up their childminding careers altogether.

Commons Select Committee

May 13, 2008

CSF Committee Meeting Next Wednesday, 21st May, at Westminster

As a direct result of the representations made by Open EYE in January to Barry Sheerman MP, the Early Years Foundation Stage will come under scrutiny from the Children, Schools and Families Committee next Wednesday, 21st May. The review, which will be chaired by Mr Sheerman MP, will consider the curriculum, pedagogy and assessment arrangements under the EYFS. It will also look at the statutory nature of the EYFS, whether its birth to five remit is appropriate and the implications for the early years and childcare workforce. Two representatives from Open EYE have been invited to attend together with Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood. The other two members of the Panel will be Early Years Advisers, Bernadette Duffy and Anne Nelson, National Chair and Chief Executive of the British Association for Early Childhood Education.

The meeting is open to the public and will take place in Westminster at Portcullis House on Wednesday, 21st May between 9.30 am and 11.30 am. Letters and written evidence will also be considered. All supporters will be welcome. However, since the object of the meeting is to consider whether there is sufficient concern about the EYFS to justify convening a full blown CSF Select Committee review it is ESSENTIAL that as many of us as possible either write in with our concerns or submit written evidence, however small or paltry they may seem!

The person to send your letter and/or evidence to is Susan Ramsay, Committee Secretary, at our Committee address: csfcom@parliament.uk

Thank you very much for any help you can give us. Please contact any other organisation/people who might be prepared to submit written evidence, and then ask them to send something in. Do refer them to this website for more information.

Petition and EDM

The petition is now approaching 7,000 signatories making it the 2nd largest education and skills petition out of 403. Please sign up if you have not already done so at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/OpenEYE/. Also the EDM is now up to 69 signatories including, Michael Meacher, so we are now attracting some big guns! Please check and see if your MP has signed, and if not, write to ask for their support.


On a related point, BBC’s Panorama this week was entitled Tested to Destruction and examined the effects of the audit culture on today’s schoolchildren. You can see it on iPlayer, here, until next Monday [or here on the Panorama archive for considerably longer – thanks to Derren for pointing this out].

The campaign continues…

May 5, 2008

The problem with Toddler Technology

The Open EYE campaign co-organised a sell-out event in Stroud, Gloucestershire last week, in which Dr Aric Sigman presented the research-based evidence that suggests the EYFS’s ICT requirements might be developmentally harmful to young children. The event was picked up by The Times in an article entitled  ‘Technology for toddlers’ scheme risks creating a screen-addict generation. One of the attendees kindly submitted a summary of the talk, which you can read here.

Early Day Motion

The Early Day Motion on the EYFS is now up to 67 signatures. Please check and see if your MP has signed, and if not, write to ask for their support.


The Open EYE petition on the Downing St website is slowly climbing towards a top ten position (currently at number 17 out of well over 6,000). Please sign it if you haven’t done so, and spread the word!

Steve Biddulph

Big thanks to childcare expert Steve Biddulph, who has given us permission to post on the web the address he recorded for the Open EYE conference. You can find it on the Conference page of this site.