Oxford experts assess new government early years guidance

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Category: News

A child playing in fallen leaves

Three Oxford researchers have delivered their verdict on the government’s new ‘Development Matters’ guidance document for the early years foundation stage.

Writing in ‘Nursery World’, Professor Kathy Sylva, Professor Iram Siraj and Dr Sandra Mathers also explore the independent supplementary commentary on the guidance, written by headteacher Dr Julien Grenier.

The early years foundation stage is described as ‘setting standards for the learning, development and care of your child from birth to five years old’ in England.

The Oxford Department of Education team writes: ‘Last month saw the publication of “Working with the revised Early Years Foundation Stage: Principles into Practice” by Dr Julian Grenier, who led on the revised “Development Matters”. This independently written document acts as a companion to the revised non-statutory guidance and is to be welcomed.

‘The great strength of “Development Matters: Non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage (September 2020)” is its non-technical language, which will be accessible to both parents and all early years practitioners. At the same time, its weakness is that straightforward language cannot contain nuance – which is needed for a deep understanding of child development and pedagogy.

‘For this reason, we applaud Dr Grenier’s independent document because it delves deeper into theory and the evidence base, while providing rich guidance about the “how” as well as the “what” of early years best practice. As a standalone document, the revised curriculum guidance (CGEYFS) is far from perfect.’

Read the full think-piece, including an assessment of the guidance document’s strengths and weaknesses, on the ‘Nursery World’ website.