Letters extra: A profile as good as its users

23rd May 2003 at 01:00

I really had hoped that initial concerns about the foundation stage profile had diminished. The response to the Warwick University survey sadly shows otherwise ("117 ways to Waste Time", TES May 9).

Working with foundationnbsp;stage practitioners across the country, I hear different messages. Mostnbsp;teachers are delighted to have observation-based assessment formally recognised and valued. Theynbsp;appreciate the benefits of being able to assess a child's development and learning over a period of time.

These teachers are not simply ticking boxes, and theynbsp;are certainly not assessing every child against 117 discrete measures. The practice I see is mainly of staff who note significant achievements,nbsp;use one observation to collect evidence for a range of learning,nbsp;who involve their teaching assistants in making assessments and have professional discussions aboput how the information gathered informs their teaching.

These teachers have grasped the key principles of the foundation profile and refused tonbsp;get bogged down with detail, andnbsp;they are positivenbsp;about the overall benefits of the process for children's learning and progress.

Our association, Early Education, has a membership of 7,000, many of whom work in the foundation stage. Talking with a number of them at our recent 80th anniversary conference, they expressed a similar positive view. Of course, the process can be improved - it isnbsp;still very new - but as with anything, use of the profile will only be as successful as the practitioners who work with it.

Marion Dowling
President of Early Educationnbsp; (The British Association for Early Education)
Bridport, Dorset

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