Children's Play

Department for Education written question – answered on 7th April 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the importance of strategic local approaches to play, and what plans they have to require authorities to submit regional play strategies to the Department for Education.

Photo of Lord Nash Lord Nash The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

I refer the noble Baroness to the answer given on 8 March to PQ 29737, which I have also set out below:

The Department for Education recognises that play has an important role in supporting all young children to develop and prepare for later learning.

Play is integral in the early years and is covered in the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage framework which states: “Each area of learning and development must be implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity.”

The staff working in early years settings as Early Years Educators (level 3) and Early Years Teachers (graduates) are required to have an understanding different pedagogical approaches, including the role of play in supporting early learning and development. The criteria for the Early Years Educator and standards for Early Years Teacher Status qualifications are set by the department.

Ofsted registers childcare provision on the Early Years Register and the General Childcare Register and conducts a regular cycle of inspection to ensure that provision meets the required quality and safety standards.

In judging the quality and standards of early years provision, Ofsted inspectors must assess the extent to which the learning and care provided by the setting meets the needs of the range of children who attend, including the needs of any children who have special educational needs or disabilities. At August 2015, 85 per cent of providers on the Early Years Register were rated good or outstanding for overall effectiveness. This is an increase of 11 percentage points since 2012.

Local Authorities provide and offer Continuous Professional Development and training to early years settings; some of which may include training on play. However, it is not a requirement for local authorities to deliver regional play training as it is already a requirement in the Early Years Foundation Stage to cover play in a setting.

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