Committee's Main Areas of Concern - 24 June 2010

List of Main Areas/Concerns Raised by the Committee for Education on 9 June 2010 regarding the draft Early Years Strategy.
  1. The complexity of Early Years provision with multiple providers; the potential for overlap in provision; the lack of equity in standards and variability between providers e.g. qualifications; underprovision and overprovision in some areas.
  2. The absence of an evidence base on the benefits of early years education and assertion that ‘there is an income-related gap in school readiness’ (paragraph 1.1) without reference to other possible factors related to school readiness, such as the number of books in the home.
  3. The absence of an evidence base for ‘focus more clearly on acontinuum of play-based learning and development’ (paragraph 2.23) and an assessment/evaluation of the Foundation Stage of the Revised Curriculum.
  4. Clearly set out, current legislative provisions and an indication of any future legislative proposals, including the reason for an element of non-participation in the Pre-school Education Expansion Programme and the inclusion of two-year –olds in the Programme.
  5. The focus of the Strategy on structure and the need for more emphasis on pedagogy.
  6. The issue of potential change to the school starting age not being addressed (paragraph 3.10) – including the lack of information on the implications of a potential change.
  7. The absence of any costings to implement the draft Strategy.
  8. The absence of any mention of a recommended pedagogy for Irish Medium 0-6 provision.
  9. The extent to which ‘The effective Pre-School Provision in Northern Ireland’ (EPPNI) project influenced the draft Strategy.

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