National Association of Head Teachers
Clare Majury – Nursery Principal and Chair of the NAHT Nursery Education Sector Committee.
Ray Cromie – Primary Principal and member of the NAHT Nursery Education Sector Committee.
Major issues regarding the Strategy include:
- The Range of the Strategy – The Strategy does not address the full age range it is supposed to cover. The age range 0-3 is barely addressed with only scant reference made to Sure Start. The Strategy concentrates mainly on pre-school with some consideration given to Key Stage 1. This is a missed opportunity to bring real continuity of approach to children’s formative years.
- The Focus of the Strategy – We are concerned that the focus of the strategy is on the workforce rather than the children. By concentrating on addressing equity between sectors the strategy fails to work towards excellence for the children. This strategy should focus on quality of learning opportunities and provision for the children. The matters of perceived inequity between sectors should be the focus of a separate document as it relates to changes in terms and conditions of employment.
- The Use of Research – The Strategy’s choice, use and interpretation of research is questionable.
- Missed Opportunities – This Strategy should have been more forward thinking and innovative. It was an opportunity to bring together services for children and families and has not achieved this. Ideas such as including pre-school in the Foundation stage to ensure true continuity were not explored.
- The Absence of Costing and Financial Projections – This invalidates the Strategy totally as it is impossible to establish if it will use funding available to improve children’s opportunities and experiences. No consultation can be considered fair and informed if stakeholders do not have opportunity to examine the finance that supports it especially considering the financial constraints ahead.
- The Lack of Knowledge of the current practice – The Strategy displays no understanding of current practice and lacks acknowledgement that the best practice is in the Statutory Nursery Schools and Units.
- NAHT consider this Strategy to be unacceptable and not in the best interests of children and families in N. Ireland.