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Volume 60 Number 3 2018

Archive

CONTENTS [click on author's name for abstract and full text]

 

BETTER BEGINNINGS: an early years special issue

Rachel Marks & Patrick Yarker. Editorial. Better Beginnings: an early years special issue, pages 267-270 FREE ACCESS VIEW FULL TEXT http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.267

Jenifer Smith. Reading I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. Encounters over Seven Months: one child, one book, one adult, pages 271-277 FREE ACCESS

Agnieszka Bates. In Search of Bold Beginnings: ‘good early education’, ethics and moral responsibility, pages 279-288

Wendy Scott. Still Not Listening? Ofsted’s Influence on the Shape of the Reception Year, the Teaching of Early Years Reading in England, and Other Concerns from an Early Years Perspective, pages 289-299

Pam Jarvis. Simplistic Beginnings? The Invisibility of Sustained Shared Thinking in Ofsted Advice Documents, pages 301-311

Colin Richards. Bold Assertions: a comment on the Bold Beginnings debate, pages 313-315

Mary Briggs. Mathematics in the Early Years: a bolder start, pages 317-326

Louise Kay. Bold Beginnings and the Rhetoric of ‘School Readiness’, pages 327-335

John Hodgson. Reading in the Reception Classroom, pages 337-344

Helen Trelford. Bold Beginnings: what is at stake?, pages 345-353

Eve Lumb. Terrorism in the Nursery: considering the implications of the British Values discourse and the Prevent Duty requirements in early years education, pages 355-364

Laura Williams. Bold Beginnings or Pressure from the Start?, pages 365-374

Kathryn Spicksley. The Value of Inexperience: young teachers in post-2010 English education policy, pages 375-386

James Park. Turning the Tide on ‘Coercive Autonomy’: learning from the Antidote story, pages 387-396

Michael Fielding. On the Promise and Poverty of Quality Teaching, pages 397-405

BOOK AND FILM REVIEWS VIEW FULL TEXT http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.409

Developing the Expertise of Primary and Elementary Classroom Teachers: professional learning for a changing world (Tony Eaude) reviewed by Amanda Ince, pages 409-410

Factories for Learning: producing race and class inequality in the neoliberal academy (Christy Kulz) reviewed by David Taylor, pages 411-414

Educational Justice: teaching and organizing against the corporate juggernaut (Howard Ryan, with Debra Goodman, Joel Jordan & Joseph Zeccola) and Precious Knowledge (a film directed by Ari Luis Palos & Eren Isabel McGinnis) both reviewed by Patrick Yarker, pages 415-419


 

Reading I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. Encounters over Seven Months: one child, one book, one adult

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.271

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The author describes and reflects on seven months of sharing one book with a child who is coming at reading in her own way.

 

 

In Search of Bold Beginnings: ‘good early education’, ethics and moral responsibility

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.279

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The Ofsted report entitled Bold Beginnings: the Reception curriculum in a sample of good and outstanding primary schools is part of a research programme aimed at reviewing the primary curriculum and its implementation. Although the report highlights the ‘uniqueness’ of the Reception year, it also undermines the principles of Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and much independent research on early education by heavily privileging synthetic phonics and number work. Serious concerns have, therefore, been voiced about the report, in relation both to Ofsted’s recommended approach to ‘good early education’ and to aspects of itsresearch methodology. This article focuses on the absence of explicit ethical reflection in the report and proposes an alternative approach to early education that arises from the notion of ‘moral responsibility’ as the foundation of good education.

 

Still Not Listening? Ofsted’s Influence on the Shape of the Reception Year, the Teaching of Early Years Reading in England, and Other Concerns from an Early Years Perspective

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.289

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There is widespread concern about aspects of government policy relating to early years education. Current proposals for baseline assessment and changes to the early learning goals reveal a lack of insight into the nature of early learning, and little understanding and respect for effective early years pedagogy. Indeed, it is apparent that the Reception year in primary schools is now explicitly seen as preparation for Year 1, instead of being celebrated as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The role of Ofsted in reinforcing this development is regrettable, reflecting as it does the politicisation of education and the loss of informed impartial professional advice both to schools and to policymakers.

 

Simplistic Beginnings? The Invisibility of Sustained Shared Thinking in Ofsted Advice Documents

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.301312

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In December 2017, a highly critical report entitled Bald Beginnings was prepared by the early years association TACTYC in response to Bold Beginnings, Ofsted’s latest (2017) bulletin on early years practice. In a subsequent meeting with early years leaders, Ofsted proposed that Bold Beginnings should be seen as one component in a set of complementary reports. This article undertakes a review of all four reports to consider the overview of early childhood practice that they provide, specifically with reference to the concept of ‘sustained shared thinking’ which emerged from nearly a century of research in developmental psychology and which was considered to bear the relevant level of importance for specific identification in the Early Years Teacher Standards. The conclusion drawn from this review of the relevant ‘suite’ of Ofsted reports is that sustained shared thinking is not referred to by name in any of the documents, nor is any implicit indication given that the authors had any effective understanding of the concept. It is also proposed that Bold Beginnings is in fact very different in tone to the previous documents and suggests an underlying policy shift in Ofsted’s orientation to early years education.

 

Bold Assertions: a comment on the Bold Beginnings debate

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.313

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The Ofsted report Bold Beginnings was met with virulent opposition from the early years community. It tried to foreclose, rather than open up, debate about the Reception year; its wording was particularly incendiary. Almost a year on, straws in the wind suggest that the community’s reaction was justified and that a battle for the soul of Reception is well under way.

 

Mathematics in the Early Years: a bolder start

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.317

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With the publication of Bold Beginnings, Reception teachers and educationists felt their principles and practices were under attack. The main focus of the debate that ensued targeted the formality of learning, and especially teaching writing sitting at desks. The comments about the mathematics practices of the good schools incorporating Year 1 expectations into Reception classes largely went unchallenged. This article offers a commentary on the findings from Bold Beginnings in relation to mathematics and contrasts them with the recent announcements for the draft expectations at the end of the Reception year.

 

Bold Beginnings and the Rhetoric of ‘School Readiness’

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.327

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The ‘school-readiness’ agenda is becoming increasingly dominant in recent policy discourse, and this article explores how the Bold Beginnings report builds on this agenda. By focusing on the curricular gap between the end of Reception and Year 1, and on the importance of mathematical and literacy outcomes, it is argued that Bold Beginnings clearly establishes the Reception year as a site to ‘ready’ children for school. Using a rhetorical analysis approach,this article considershow the text is constructed as a persuasive discourse advocating the further formalisation of the early years.

 

Reading in the Reception Classroom

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.337

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Ofsted’s 2017 review of the Reception year curriculum, Bold Beginnings, asserts that reading is the core purpose of the Reception year, and advocates ‘systematic synthetic phonics’ as the teaching method. This article challenges this precept by reference to recent research into the nature of reading, the way children learn in the Reception class of a primary school, and the actual practice of early years teachers.

 

Bold Beginnings: what is at stake?

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.345

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This article offers a critique of Ofsted’s Bold Beginnings report based on the author’s own experience as an early years practitioner. It draws attention to the growing ‘readiness’ agenda of the Department for Education (DfE) and to its focus on a primarily transmission-based model of teaching. It reaffirms the necessity of an approach to the Reception year which keeps the meaning-making child at the centre, allowing inquiry to develop and thrive and creativity to flourish.

 

Terrorism in the Nursery: considering the implications of the British Values discourse and the Prevent duty requirements in early years education

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.355

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This article explores some of the implications of the British Values discourse within early years education and the consequences of the Prevent duty requirements. It highlights some of the ethical dilemmas imposed as a result of the potential securitisation of early years education, and also explores the very ethos of British Values within early years pedagogy.

 

Bold Beginnings or Pressure from the Start?

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.365

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In November 2017, Ofsted published Bold Beginnings, a report on its findings about teaching in the Reception year. Like very many practitioners in the early years, the author of this article believes this report to be of concern, as the recommendations it proposes would be so damaging for the early education of young children. She believes its recommendations are not developmentally appropriate for four- and five-year-olds, as insufficient importance is given to the prime areas of learning and development; the suggested curriculum would be too narrow and formal for such young children, and would remove opportunities for deep learning through play. There are also concerns about its impact on the professionalism of teachers and practitioners in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

 

The Value of Inexperience: young teachers in post-2010 English education policy

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.375

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This article explores how the expansion of the Academies Programme and Teach First, combined with a political programme of economic austerity, has repositioned the role and expectations of young teachers since 2010. Specifically, rapid promotion to leadership has become normalised in policy discourse, which has the effect of raising expectations placed on new teachers. It argues that the effects of this repositioning have an impact on both new and experienced teachers, and could be contributing to the current recruitment and retention ‘crisis’ in teaching.

 

Turning the Tide on ‘Coercive Autonomy’: learning from the Antidote story

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.387

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This article argues that the mental health crisis affecting children and young people can only be addressed by putting in place a radically different model of school accountability from the one we have now. It explores what might be learned from the history of Antidote – an organisation set up to foster more emotionally supportive school environments –to inform the development of such a model.

 

On the Promise and Poverty of Quality Teaching

http://doi.org/10.15730/forum.2018.60.3.397

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This is an edited version of a presentation Michael Fielding was invited to give in April 2006 at the Post Primary Teachers’ AssociationProfessional Conference. The conference, entitled Quality Teaching – Leading the Way, took place at the Wellington Convention Centre, Wellington, New Zealand. In his presentation, Michael contrasts two approaches to consideration of the idea of ‘quality’ in relation to teaching: performance quality and educational quality. The former is a disciplinary device designed to control at a distance. The latter requires rigorous reflexive thinking from which emergesjudgement of values. The ways in which both approaches, and their implications, continue to resonate are examined.

 

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