IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


What if… we wanted a world-leading early years sector?

13 June 2019, 5:45 pm–7:00 pm

IOE debates early years provision

We want to take stock of where England is heading on early years provision, and think about what our longer-term goals should be for the form and ethos of the early years phase.

Event Information

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Kate Thomas


Jeffery Hall
UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
United Kingdom

Watch the debate

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The early years have now got the recognition they deserve as a pivotal stage in our lives. It’s one that lasts a lifetime – setting us up, or not, to face the joys, but also the challenges, trials and tribulations to come. With that recognition has come a whole host of initiatives, from, in England, the Early Years Foundation Stage, to interventions on the ‘home learning environment’ and early years workforce.

In the process, the early years is being re-shaped around the project of ‘school readiness’ and there is growing interest in measuring early years outcomes. Nationally, standardised assessments are moving steadily but determinedly down the age range, while international comparisons of early years attainment are coming on stream via the OECD’s ‘Baby PISA’ survey. These developments have not gone unchallenged, with many commentators voicing concerns about the over-formalisation of provision for young children.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of the attention now being paid to this phase and the environment it has created for our children’s formative years? Do we have the workforce and services to deliver policy as it stands, let alone a different vision? And what should be our longer-term goals for the form and ethos of the early years phase?

Listen again

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  • Jan Dubiel, Independent Early Childhood Education (ECE) Consultant
  • June O’Sullivan MBE, Chief Executive at the London Early Years Foundation
  • Helen Ward, Reporter in Early Years and Primary Education at TES
  • Dominic Wyse, Professor in Early Childhood and Primary Education, UCL Institute of Education
  • Chair: Professor Becky Francis, Director of UCL Institute of Education

Join the conversation on Twitter at #IOEDebates


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