Department for Education written question – answered on 7th April 2016.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the call in the new report from the charity Sense, Making the Case for Play, for play to be part of the ministerial brief for the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Childcare and Education.
I refer the noble Baroness to the answer given on 8 March to PQ 29735, 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. The importance of play is already recognised within the early years legislation covered by Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Childcare and Education’s portfolio.
Play is covered in the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage framework and 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.”
Staff working in early years settings as Early Years Educators (level 3) and Early Years Teachers (graduates) are required to have an understanding of 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. However, it is the responsibility of early years settings to provide play opportunities for their children and pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.
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.
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