Why do we need to measure quality and progress in early years? – Reflections after attending the TACTYC conference 2015

Penny's Place Childminding

I have of course written before  about my views on assessment both in this blog and in articles for Childcare magazine, so no one will be surprised at my personal view point.

However on 31/10/2015 I attended by first ever TAYTYC conference (details about TACTYC can be found HERE ). I knew that TACTYC as an organisation share many of my views about assessment and in particular about baseline assessment as they are part of an alliance of organisations challenging why we need baseline assessment. All the speakers and the discussions at the conference were excellent and all seemed to come back to the same thing – ‘What are we doing to our children, though all this assessment and measuring?’ There was also a lot of debate about just what is important in early years, and consideration of how we can make changes. On that point everyone was clear –…

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Tory Children’s Books

Love these

Pride's Purge

I’ve been asked by a few people if I could put all of the Tory children’s books in one place. So here they all are in one blog post (click to enlarge).



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Please can someone tell me why gathering information about cohorts of children is good – for children or schools?

Penny's Place Childminding

This is a follow on blog to my previous blog which explained why I don ‘t personally like baseline assessment. If you have not read that blog yet, you can do so by Clicking HERE

Although my blog about baseline was my personal view, lots of people have shared it, and lots of people have commented both publicly and privately. What did surprise me were these three things;

a) The number of people who contacted me privately to say they agreed with me, but where unable to comment publicly due to their current employment / contract. Some also said that they could not wait until contracts ended so they could have freedom of speech and be able to say what they really thought about baseline assessment

b) The number of people who have commented publicly in person and online to say they would prefer NOT to have to do baseline…

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Horses for Courses

Love Learning....

I must have been mad answering a tweet on a Sunday morning in bed. Instead of enjoying the breakfast my husband had brought for me and reading the paper, I ended up in a twitter fight about posters. My egg went cold. And then today, faced with a to-do list as long as Pinocchio’s nose, I ended up doing it all again. So I thought, in the interests of procrastination, that I would blog. Not just about posters. Frankly, I rarely used them myself; I just take issue at being told what I can and can’t do. No, this is about the increasing misuse of what people like to call “the real world” in justifying practices in school life.

Let’s start with uniform. My eldest son was one of those kids who looked like he’d been dragged across a rugby field, face down, with the entire scrum stamping on his…

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The Women that Science Forgot Part 4: Ada Lovelace

Athena SWAN

This series explores women in science who have made significant contributions to their field and yet are relatively unknown. The first part of the series (here) explains why this is the case and explores the idea of cultural femicide. In this fourth part of the series we will meet Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.

 ada lovelace

Ada Lovelace was the daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron, she was born in 1815 into a wealthy family. She described her approach as ‘Poetic science’ and described herself as an ‘Analyst’. Ada was privately educated in maths and science by William Frend, William King, and Mary Somerville. Her remarkable aptitude in mathematics emerged when she was around 17 and mathematics and it’s study dominated much of her adult life.

In the 1840s Lovelace worked on Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a very early and primitive computer. Between 1842 and 1843 Lovelace translated an article…

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Balancing the Scales

Visible Child

scale2I don’t usually do this.  This is not a political blog.  It’s a child development and parenting blog.  But this time, I feel like i have to take this little departure off the main road.  Bear with me.  Or skip it–there’s freedom of choice here. See that little “x” up there in the corner?  Click on it if you want.  I won’t be hurt.

I feel like this needs to be said.  Partially because I’m feeling frequently and strongly misunderstood in conversation.  Partially because I’m feeling frustrated (as ever) by the insistence, so prevalent in our culture these days, that “if you don’t believe x, you must believe the opposite of x”, as if there are no options in the middle.  Partially because it’s something that’s important to me personally, and in this one little area, it seems to be bubbling up in my work with parents with ever greater…

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Wherefore Art Thou Wilshaw?

Freeing the Angel

“Let me be clear: what the poorest children need is to be taught,
and well taught, from the age of two.”
Michael Wilshaw

I’m not really sure where to start with Michael Wilshaw’s speech, made as he announced the publication of Ofsted’s Early Years Report for 2015. The report itself makes interesting reading, and the way that Mr Wilshaw chose to speak about it does not necessarily reflect its contents. You might have assumed he would be happy, given that 85% of early years registered providers got a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted. (This despite the fact that our sector is chronically underfunded and is staffed by dedicated practitioners who work for a pittance.) But no, as with the schools sector, the early years sector needed an ear bashing too, although at least we didn’t receive it via the Sunday Times. I’ve been asked by quite a few…

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