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New powers to tackle extremism

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 attitudes.

"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 October.

08/08/2014

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.