Category Archives: Education

1 in 10 Schools in England deemed in need of improvement…

Recent research by has considered official Ofsted reports, released at the end of September, to determine which regions in England have the most highly rated schools, and where parents are happiest with the schools their children go to.

  • Just over 1 in 10 schools in England were deemed ‘inadequate’ or ‘requiring improvement’ by Ofsted last month.
  • The Ofsted region with the most unsatisfactory schools was the combined area of North East, Yorkshire and Humber.
  • 15% of parents feel they do not receive valuable information about a child’s progress at school

The Super Geek Heroes… having fun in turn with a mission to learn.

The SUPER GEEK HEROES are a unique group of super-kids… having fun in turn with a mission to learn! Their seven friendly ‘super-powers’ are derived from the three prime and four specific development areas of the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’.

Personal, Social & Emotional Development, Understanding the World, Communication & Language, Literacy, Numeracy, Physical Development, and Creative Arts & Design are uncovered with the help of Jake Jotter, Millie Maths, Ronnie Rock, Vicky Voice, Suzi Smiles, Peter Planet and Ant Active.

We tested a few episodes out at Breakfast Club…

“I really like Peter Planet’s cool outfit and the Rainbow song (Ayda, aged 5)

“Millie Maths telling the time was good fun – we counted to twelve” (Jayden, aged 5)

More info for parents here.

Watch the episodes and subscribe to the YouTube channel here:

Guest Post: June O’Sullivan MBE, CEO of London Early Years Foundation writes an open letter…

Re: Recruitment in the Early Years sector

Over the past ten years there has been a general agreement that childcare and early education combined can provide a range of support for families including helping reduce child poverty by improving parents’ ability to work whilst also providing children from poorer families access to early education which as we know can make a significant difference to their long term life prospects.  Indeed, this was the premise for the 15 hours funded childcare supported across the political spectrum.

However, to do this, childcare organisations need staff and here we face a major problem driven entirely by another Government policy from 2014; the requirement that all childcare students and apprentices wanting to complete their Level 3 Diploma in Childcare must have a GCSE Level A to C in English and Maths.

The sector warned the Government that there were insufficient numbers of students available to complete a childcare qualification with both those grades. The sector can’t fix in a short time what 11 years of schooling have failed to achieve. We suggested a practical solution which was allowing us to use the Functional Skills as an alternative entry requirement.  These qualifications are Government approved and the acceptable entry requirement for all other apprenticeships.

Sadly, this was refused and the consequence is a catastrophic decline in available qualified staff.  There has been a 72% drop in students enrolling in Level 3 courses and a 96% drop in apprentices.   The sector has now reached crisis point. The pipeline for new staff is dry and those who replace staff leaving through natural attrition are few. We certainly cannot meet our growth targets for the 15 hours or the 2 year old offer (80,000 places short) let alone plans to increase to 30 hours.

There is no benefit to having this barrier to entry. In fact it will lead to a reduction in quality as nurseries are forced to take more unqualified staff as they can be employed without the A to C GCSEs.  However, to maintain quality we must have a balance of qualified staff.  Right now, our committed staff are tired, worried and at breaking point.  Depending on agency staff is unsafe, expensive and not conducive to quality for children.  We need to be able train and recruit staff who want to work with children and who can be supported, developed and retained to provide the quality service that every child deserves.

The irony is that the solution is simple.  Change the wording of the regulations to include the option for Functional Skills as the entry requirements and do it before the 1st September so new students can be enrolled on their courses. But who can intervene on our behalf? We have neither a strategy nor a Minister for Childcare.

Today nurseries are part of the infrastructure of a modern society. We merit the support of a government and politicians who, instead of spending time on their ideological battleground, should be supporting those people trying to run businesses which enable ordinary working families to work.

June O’Sullivan

CEO, London Early Years Foundation

121 Marsham Street London SW1P 4LX