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Building a brighter future

Building a Brighter FutureBuilding a Brighter Future is the Welsh Government’s Early Years and Childcare Plan. The Plan defines what the Welsh Government means by the early years, brings coherence across different policies and programmes impacting on and influencing the early years and sets out action and activity for delivery over the next 10 years.

The key themes are:

  • Children’s health and well-being
  • Supporting families and parents
  • High-quality early education and childcare
  • Effective primary education
  • Raising standards

The Plan is jointly sponsored by the Minister for Education and Skills and the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty and fully supported by Cabinet. Ministers recognise that delivering the ambitions in the Plan will require the whole sector to work more closely together to improve the life chances and outcomes of all children in Wales.

The Plan can be accessed at the following link: Building a Brighter Future. At the launch of the Early Years and Childcare Plan the Minister for Education and Skills announced that there will be a stocktake of the Foundation Phase. 

In his speech the Minister said: “Raising standards and improving quality are at the heart of this Plan. This is why I am also announcing today that we will undertake a stocktake of the Foundation Phase. We are committed to the principles of the Foundation Phase and we know that much of what happens across this phase of learning is good. However, our early evaluation evidence suggests that we need to take a closer look at how the Foundation Phase is being implemented across Wales

  • to better understand how language development, literacy and numeracy skills are being embedded,
  • to identify where there is variability in the quality of leadership and the workforce and
  • to look at how the it supports effective transitions from Flying Start and onto Key Stage 2. 

The stocktake, with recommendations on how the Foundation Phase can be strengthened will be completed by the spring and I will announce who will be taking this forward in due course.”

A welcome focus on quality

PACEY Cymru is glad to see the focus on high quality education and childcare within this plan. As an association we have long understood and promoted the importance and benefits of quality education and childcare provision, especially for those children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In particular, we would welcome the introduction of a Voluntary Childcare Approval Scheme for over-8s childcare to support a drive in quality improvement across Wales.

Whilst recognising the need to ensure better outcomes for children around numeracy and literacy, we feel that it is of great importance that the ethos and philosophy of the Foundation Phase and in particular the emphasis on learning through play is not lost.

PACEY Cymru believes that the current choice of provision in Flying Start and early years education settings across Wales needs to be addressed, with many small scale childcare settings unable to access funding to provide Flying Start or Foundation Phase education. Access to smaller group settings can be particularly important for children from vulnerable families or children with additional needs who may not settle well into larger group settings. We are calling on Welsh Government to allow greater choice for parents in choosing which setting their child enters for funded Flying Start and Foundation Phase provision

We look forward to supporting the Welsh Government to ensure the success of these new proposals in bringing professionalism and higher standards to the early years sector in Wales.