…well, Qs, anyway, some of which have been FA, and some just A…
- Is Open EYE connected with the Toxic Childhood campaign? – A number of the signatories to the well-received open letter are involved with Open EYE. We believe that the push towards an ever-earlier start to formal education is a major cause of what has become known as Toxic Childhood.
- Is Open EYE really just a veiled attack on the synthetic phonics approach? – No. Open EYE as a group holds no common opinion on the best way to teach reading. Our only concern is that children should not be taught academic, abstract skills too early.
- Is ‘Open EYE’ a fringe, “alternative education” campaign? – No. ‘Open EYE’ is a broad and rapidly growing coalition spanning the whole of the early-years field, whose prime movers and supporters include many ‘non-aligned’ educationalists, early years specialists and academics from a wide variety of approaches and settings, as well as people with connections to Steiner, Montessori, humanistic, small-school and home-education approaches .
- Is Open EYE anti-EYFS and asking for de-regulation? – No. We do not want total de-regulation and we have no problem with most of the principles which underpin the framework. Open EYE is not campaigning against the whole of EYFS, but only against the statutory nature of the Learning and Development requirements in the EYFS. We believe, and research shows, that these requirements are developmentally inappropriate.
- Isn’t the EYFS just a flexible framework, as the government and its advisors claim? – No. The educational programmes lay out what teachers, nursery staff, childminders and so on ‘must’ do. It is clear what sort of approach must be taken in order to deliver at least some of the early learning goals. To refuse to implement any part of the educational programmes for any reason will be unlawful. There is no flexibility on these issues.
- Are any of the EYFS goals mandatory? – It is not, as far as we know, expected that every child will achieve every goal, so they are not mandatory in that sense. However, it is fair to assume that failure of children to attain the goals will be seen as failure of the setting to deliver the programmes, which is mandatory.
- The government says it has the wholehearted support of most early years specialists. Does it? – Open EYE is doubtful, especially since some of the government’s own advisors have publicly expressed reservations about some of the early learning goals. We have challenged Children’s Minister Beverley Hughes to provide proof of this claim, and intend to test it with a detailed survey of the Early Years field.
- Do all child-minders have to comply with the EYFS or does it depend on how many children you have in your care? – All child-minders looking after children covered by the EYFS (from birth until the end of the school year in which they turn 5) must comply. The number of children being cared for does not affect this.
- Will this affect home educators? – No. Children younger than 5 do not legally have to be schooled, and we do not believe the government has quite reached the point of telling parents exactly how they must bring their own children up within the home. Yet.