Nappy curriculum to be simplified

Dame Clare Tickell proposes Early Years Foundation Stage be radically reduced to help parents, childcare professionals and education providers

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The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), or so-called “nappy curriculum”, set up by the previous Labour government, may be drastically scaled back after new recommendations from Dame Clare Tickell.

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Dame Clare, who is chief exec of the charity Action for Children, was commissioned by the new government to undertake a comprehensive review of the EYFS. The full report is due this summer but the charity chief already recommends slimming down the processes to help streamline the targets.

“We had enormous feedback from people during the review – 3,300 responses. What came back is that practitioners felt a lot of time was taken up filling in boxes and not enough with the children,” Dame Clare said in an interview on the Today programme. “Much of this work isn’t actually in the early years goals, but it is the way it has been interpreted. What we have tried to do is make it slimmer and more simple.”

The report recommends reducing the number of early learning goals from 69 to 17, and putting a bigger focus on three key areas – education, social and communication skills and physical development. Dame Clare also recommends keeping parents in the loop about their child’s educational development and working with them to identify any potential problems early on.

“Dame Clare Tickell and her team have produced an incisive and intelligent report which takes into account the overwhelmingly positive responses they received about the EYFS, whilst also understanding the need to make the framework more user-friendly,” said Sue Owen, from the National Children’s Bureau (NCB).

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“Her recommendations, if accepted, should ensure that services for young children continue to improve over the coming years and that parents can be confident of their quality and safety,” Sue added.

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