Photo of Sarah Teather

Sarah Teather (The Minister of State, Department for Education; Brent Central, Liberal Democrat)

I have asked Dame Clare Tickell, chief executive of Action for Children, to carry out an independent review of the early years foundation stage (EYFS). I have written to Dame Clare today to set out the remit of this review and I would like to take this opportunity to provide the House with further details.

I recognise that the EYFS has helped to promote a consistent approach to early learning and development of children aged 0-5, and has done much to raise standards, and keep children safe. However, I am concerned that the framework is too rigid and puts too many burdens on the early years workforce. I have asked Dame Clare to consider what the evidence tells us about how children can best be supported in their early learning, particularly children from disadvantaged backgrounds, and how all children should be prepared to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by more formal learning in primary school. I have also asked her to consider how to reduce the burden of the EYFS on those who have to deliver it.

The review will cover four main areas:

Scope of regulation-whether there should be a single framework for all early years providers;

Learning and development-looking at the latest evidence on how children are best supported in their learning and development and what is needed to give them the best start at school;

Assessment-how young children's development should be assessed;

Welfare-the minimum standards to keep children safe and support their healthy development.

We need a framework that raises standards and keeps children safe. But we also need framework which is responsive to the needs of parents and supports a diverse and flexible childcare market.

I am delighted that Dame Clare has agreed to lead this important review of the EYFS. Her knowledge of the needs of children and families, especially those from more disadvantaged areas, and the importance of early intervention means she is well placed to advise on how young children can best be supported, and how we can free up the system so that it works for both childcare workers and parents.

The review will start in September this year, and I have asked Dame Clare to produce her final report in spring 2011. We will be looking to implement any changes from September 2012 onwards.

I have placed a copy of the letter sent today to Dame Clare in the Libraries of both Houses.

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