The recent media focus on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) that becomes law next September has required the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship to make clear its view of the EYFS, as in the statement below.
The SWSF respects the sincerity with which the government has tackled issues around childhood and education over the last ten years and does not support a blanket condemnation of the EYFS.
We recognise that the new EYFS introduces a much needed single body of regulation for the care and education of young children from birth to five and that this integrated framework is the result of a fundamental overhaul of the regulation that followed the death of Victoria Climbie.
We also recognise the progressive nature of the 4 principles that the EYFS framework is based on and that these principles have the potential to bring improved practice into the care and education of all young children.
We acknowledge that the EYFS is not a curriculum and that the Minister has given assurance that the implementation of the EYFS will accommodate and encourage different approaches to the care and education of young children.
We are concerned, however, that the progressive nature of the EYFS is overshadowed by
· the statutory nature of the learning and development requirements
· the statutory nature of the requirement to submit data about each child’s learning and development in the Early years foundation stage profile
The fact that the EYFS contains certain statutory requirements that are in direct conflict with the Steiner Early Years curriculum is causing alarm. The concern is that, without a legal solution, the statutory nature of these requirements has the potential to undermine the very basis of the Steiner curriculum which is recognised world-wide. We therefore are continuing to seek reassurance from DCSF and OFSTED that the implementation of the EYFS will not compromise the Steiner EY curriculum. We intend to explore with the DCSF how the regulations pertaining to exemptions might be drafted to resolve these two issues without jeopardizing the right to funding. A legal solution of this nature would uphold the principle of diversity of approach and parental right of choice