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Review aims to detangle early years red tape

A review of the early years foundation stage (EYFS) will be carried out this year with the aim of making it less bureaucratic, the Government has announced.

Dame Clare Tickell, chief executive of the Action for Children charity, will conduct the review with a final report due in spring 2011.

The Labour government had already promised a review of the EYFS in 2010 and researchers have begun gathering evidence for it.

The EYFS covers all settings that cater for children under the age of five. It includes play-based learning, welfare requirements and 69 learning goals, which are assessed at the end of reception year.

Two controversial goals - a child being able to write their name and use phonics to attempt complex words - have already been reviewed once but left untouched.

Critics have claimed the EYFS is overly bureaucratic, particularly for reception teachers. There are also concerns that its demands have led to a decrease in the number of child minders.

The Government has said that the review will look at four areas: whether there should be a single framework for all providers; the evidence about children's development; whether it should be formally assessed; and welfare standards.

Megan Pacey, chief executive of the charity Early Education, said the review should be about fine-tuning rather than revolution.

"While many practitioners admitted to having been daunted by the EYFS when it was first implemented, our evidence showed that after the first year, the majority were embracing it," she said.

"Early Education hopes that this review will provide the opportunity to fine-tune the outstanding issues."

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