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Pre-School Education

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what discussions he has had with representatives of the (a) Steiner and (b) Waldorf Foundation on the early years framework. (199479)

Officials in the Department have met representatives of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship on a number of occasions following the development of the Early Years Foundation Stage, and the Department has had regular informal contact.

As my hon. Friend knows, the Early Years Foundation Stage is designed as a flexible, play-based framework for early learning and care from birth to five. It contains developmental milestones which many, but not all, children can reach by the age of five, but the pace and approach through which practitioners support children towards those milestones is left to their professional judgment.

I can reassure my hon. Friend that practitioners of Steiner Waldorf educational philosophy will be able to work within the Early Years Foundation Stage without compromising their educational principles, and that no school or setting would be penalised by Ofsted simply for following any particular philosophy.