Nurseries: ‘we are not letting tots down’
Reporter: Marina Berry
Date online: 04 April 2014
NURSERY bosses in Oldham have hit out at “unfair criticism” from schools chief Sir Michael Wilshaw who has called for two-year-olds to go to school.
The chief inspector of schools says too many early years education providers are failing to teach youngsters social, emotional and learning skills to prepare them for primary school.
He said pupils from poorer backgrounds also too often fall behind more privileged children by the time they reach school age.
And he said “structured” early years provision in a school setting would help put them on an equal footing.
Cheryl Connell, the owner of Smart Start daycare nursery in Oberlin Street, Greenacres, hit out at the criticism, saying: “We have structures and we have boundaries.”
The 140-place nursery has an “outstanding” Ofsted report, and Mrs Connell said staff monitored children every 12 weeks to identify those who were falling behind and needed a higher level of support to meet national targets.
She said its children came from a wide range of backgrounds, including both advantaged and disadvantaged, and all either met national targets or were above them.
The nursery has a degree-educated early years practitioner who co-ordinates the curriculum, and the nursery offers weekly Spanish, music, drama and sports sessions.
“The teachers are all fully qualified,” said Mrs Connell.
Sir Michael made his comments ahead of Ofsted’s first Early Years annual report which calls for a radical shake-up of early years education.
It highlights the continuing gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and more affluent youngsters, saying too many children are not ready for school.
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