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Schools: Primary Curriculum

Volume 703: debated on Monday 30 June 2008

Today my right honourable friend the Minister for Children, Young People and Families (Beverley Hughes) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I announced to the House on 9 January that I had written to Sir Jim Rose setting out the remit for the review of the primary curriculum. I am today announcing that as part of that remit I have asked Sir Jim to review two of the early literacy goals for five year-olds included in the early years foundation stage (EYFS) and in the existing foundation stage. In carrying out this work, Sir Jim will consider how we can make sure that the early learning goals for literacy set the right foundation for transition into the new primary school arrangements.

The EYFS is a framework for the early learning and care of children from birth to five. It was created, and debated in Parliament, through the Childcare Act 2006, and comes into statutory force from September 2008. The regulatory impact assessment for the EYFS announced that there would be a post-implementation review of the EYFS from 2010, and my right honourable friend the Minister for Children is today announcing further details of this review. Work will begin immediately to make sure arrangements are in place to monitor and improve early delivery and to gather the necessary baseline data to measure the impact of the EYFS two years on.

Pending the outcome of the 2010 review, we will be making regulations to allow childcare providers to apply for exemptions from the EYFS for two years in circumstances where a majority of parents agree with the provider’s assessment that the established principle which governs their practice conflicts with elements of the EYFS learning and development requirements. This reflects the commitment we have already given to keep under review the case for exemptions. We have taken on board our discussions with representatives of childcare providers and experts in reaching this decision. This process will be administered by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority as part of the role we will give it in advising on children’s learning and development in the EYFS. To ensure public confidence in the process, I have appointed Dorian Bradley, former director of children at Ofsted, as an independent adviser on applications for exemptions.