Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced
this morning that local authorities will be able to refuse funding
for early years providers found to be holding extremist views or
"not promoting fundamental British values", which
the Government has said includes “democracy,
the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and
tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
Commenting on this announcement, PACEY
Chief Executive Liz Bayram said:
"We understand the decision to grant local
authorities additional powers to remove funding from bodies that
are promoting extremism. This is a reasonable thing to do.
"However, proposals to change the Early
Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) are of concern. The government is not
recognising that the existing early years curriculum already
requires nurseries and childminders to develop key skills such as
teaching children to take turns and challenge negative
"We need to be realistic about what is age
appropriate for young children. Childcare providers already set
boundaries and help children to know right from wrong.
"Robust Ofsted inspections should assess
how a childcare setting is delivering the EYFS, and identify if
this is not being done effectively. Ofsted can already tackle these
concerns by judging a setting as requiring improvement. We need to
ensure that inspectors are making effective judgments in childcare
settings every day. However, the Government's introduction of
childminder agencies in September will mean that Ofsted is no
longer required to individually inspect childminders who choose to
join an agency.
"It is important to remember that the vast
majority of settings are doing a really good job, and no evidence
of extremism has been found. This is a big reaction to an issue
that may not even be there, and that could be tackled by the
inspection framework that is already in place."
The Government is
consulting on this and other changes to school and early years
finance in England, with responses due by Friday 17
Liz Bayram spoke on Larry Lamb's LBC radio show at the
weekend on this issue. Listen to the interview
(around three minutes long) here.