Ofsted has published its Annual Report 2016/17, which contains a section on Early Years in England.
The report acknowledges that the quality of early years providers has continued to improve, with 94 per cent now judged to be good or outstanding: a marked improvement from 2012 when this proportion was just 74 per cent.
At the launch of the report, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Amanda Spielman, acknowledged the importance of play in the early years. However, the report repeats assertions from Ofsted's recent controversial report on the Reception year, Bold Beginnings, that the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), does not adequately prepare children for the Year 1 curriculum. The report claims that if it did so, "inspection outcomes across the sector might not be as high".
In this same vein, it emphasises the need for good providers "to focus on developing teaching in mathematics, literacy and phonics, as well as on raising attainment."
Commenting on the report, PACEY’s Chief Executive, Liz Bayram, said:
“It’s good to hear that the Chief Inspector has today acknowledge that play is vital in a child’s early education and has an important role to play in Reception classes too. The EYFS has served our youngest children well, and any changes to it should be based on the wealth of evidence we have on what supports the best outcomes for children. We look forward to continuing an active dialogue with Ofsted and others as the Government reviews the EYFS and considers its context within primary education. Through this, we will be championing the important contribution of early years practitioners, and how best to ensure we build on the strong foundations a high quality early education provides to all children.”