Media reaction to Monday’s piece (which I commented on here) continued. The New Statesman, for example, pointed out discrepancies in a couple of statements and claimed she “appears to be making it up as she goes along” and there was an (unsubstantiated) claim on the ever-reliable (hem hem) Twitter which claimed that the only nurseries she had visited were all rated good by OfSTED – but another side to this appears as we dig deeper.
It could be that, in an effort to sell the notion of graduates in Early Years settings to a resistant party, Liz Truss is putting a particular spin for the Mail and its readership on her vision of effective, thoughtful graduates working with children. The speech on the Gov UK website gives a slightly different edge to this, and, while I still share reservations with a number of people who have joined the debate both on this blog and elsewhere, her speech to the Nursery World conference on Two Years Olds is much more thoughtful, and deserves a careful read.
Four short extracts are cited here. I know they stand in stark opposition to some of the other sections, but I’m putting them here just to allow some pause for thought.
Crucially, not only are trained teachers the most effective in their interactions with children, but their supervision of less well-qualified staff made those staff better as well.
Play and structured learning are not opposites and nor does one stop at age five and the other one start. Rather, they are complementary.
It would also be wrong for people in schools to take the view that life doesn’t begin before the age of 5. In fact, what we have learned about the brain shows that this is very far from the truth. I think we have a lot to gain from seeing early education and primary school as a continuum rather than as 2 completely separate things.
I want to see confident practitioners, availing themselves of the best available evidence to deliver the early years foundation stage (EYFS) in the way they see fit, so long as outcomes for children are good. I also want to see practitioners well-versed in the evidence.
Still, I’m sure, to be treated with care on some points, but also a worthwhile perusal at more leisure.