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It gets warmer near the top

Doing your job well is not enough when it comes to getting top grades for teaching foundation stage pupils. You have to look like you are enjoying it as well.

Bemused teachers piloting the Assembly government's new play-based curriculum for three to seven-year-olds were given the low-down this week on how their work was evaluated.

Professor Kathy Sylva, co-author of the latest foundation phase evaluation, said teachers were rated from a "hopeless" 1 to an "excellent" 7.

"If a teacher showed warmth to a pupil, and they really looked like they meant it, then they would score a 7," she said. "But a teacher who did these things and didn't look genuine would score a 5."

One teacher said:"How would you know the difference?"

The best foundation pilots had detailed and focused planning, clear and dynamic leadership, invested in staff development and better qualified staff, and did not adhere "slavishly" to official guidance, said Professor Sylva.

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