More research is needed on how the £2.7 billion spent on early-years education is affecting school standards, the public spending watchdog has said. The report from the National Audit Office, Entitlement to free early education and childcare, said there had been a rise in the number of children assessed by teachers as having reached a good level of development at the end of reception, but a large gap remained between the proportion of disadvantaged children reaching this level compared with their peers. There was also no way of assessing whether different early-years providers had different impacts on children.
Primary children can paint, draw or make something for a new international art competition – judged by a selection of their peers. Entries for the competition, run by the AccessArt charity with support from Cass Art, must be on the theme “My World”. There are two age groups – ages 5-7 and 8-11 – and five categories for each age group: painting, drawing, printmaking, collage and making, plus an additional category for best teacher or school. A shortlist will be drawn up by AccessArt, but it will be a small team of schoolchildren that decides on the winners. The deadline is 27 May. See bit.ly/AccessArt for more information.
A review into effective teaching practice in primary schools has been launched by the Teaching Schools Council. The review is being led by Dame Reena Keeble, former head of Cannon Lane Primary in Pinner. A group of teachers, school leaders and educational experts aims to report back in the autumn.
A free Gruffalo Teachers’ Pack to help young children explore woodlands has been made available by The Forestry Commission. The online resource, for children aged 7 and under, contains a series of lessons based around the popular character invented by children’s author Julia Donaldson. It is aimed at teaching children about forests and how they are looked after – but can be used in parks or even school grounds. See bit.ly/GruffaloTeachersPack to download the free resource.