Book reviews: Early years - Dangers of uncritical acceptance

13th June 2003 at 01:00

Achieving QTS: teaching foundation stage
Edited by Iris Keating
Learning Matters pound;15

Working with Children in the Early Years
Edited by Jane Devereux and Linda Miller
David Fulton in association with the Open University pound;15

I sometimes wonder if the benevolent bureaucrats at the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (remember them?) cunningly fashioned the (highly undesirable) Desirable Learning Outcomes document in 1996 to soften us up for what replaced it: the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage, issued by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in 2000. If they did, their stratagem has paid off: so incensed was the early years community by the inadequacies of the 1996 publication, so loud were the protesting voices, so united were early years practitioners against the proposals, that whatever came next was guaranteed to be an improvement.

And so it turned out. The foundation stage guidance has been widely received with open arms. And few have seen fit to comment on the way in which a whole generation of educators has uncritically accepted a document that sets out to cover every aspect of three, four and five-year-olds' educational experience - what's more, a document that now has statutory force. Why can't we be more like professor of education Ted Wragg, who alone has ridiculed the foundation stage profile process since it was announced.

Mary Jane Drummond is a lecturer in primary education in the faculty of education, University of Cambridge

Read morenbsp;in this week's TES Friday magazine

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