News - Debates

Should teachers boycott baseline tests for four-year-olds?

(01-Dec-14)

Dr Richard House, Co-founder of Early Childhood Action, education campaigner, trained Steiner Kindergarten and class teacher
YES From 2016, all primary schools in England will have to test children when they start school at the age of four. High-achieving schools will be able to opt out of the testing from 2023 and will be judged on Year 6 attainment. Critics of the policy claim it could lead to more...

David Laws, Minister of State for Schools and the Cabinet Office
NO The Government claims that a baseline assessment of children’s literacy and numeracy as soon as they start school will enable their progress through the school to be measured better. Schools Minster David Laws said: “The new system will mean higher standards, no hiding...


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Poll: Should teachers boycott baseline tests for four-year-olds?

Yes

No

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!

Should nurseries allow parents to watch their child using webcams?

(02-Jul-14)

Dan Powick, owner, Rendlesham Day Nursery and Bridge Farm Day Nursery
YES - When Dan Powick opened Rendlesham nursery with his wife Tina in 2005, one of the first things they did was to fit webcams into the nursery. Mr Powick only wanted to employ staff members who felt confident enough in their own skills to be happy to work with...

Karen Quinton, manager, Bright Stars Childcare Services
NO - Karen Quinton operates Bright Stars Childcare Services in her family home in Sutton-in-Ashfield and believes the use of webcams in childcare settings are “obtrusive.” Ms Quinton said: “My staff and I work hard to build strong relationships and trust with...


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Poll: Should nurseries allow parents to watch their child using webcams?

Yes

No

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!

Should the Government provide free universal childcare?

(06-Mar-14)

Dalia Ben-Galim, associate director for families and work, IPPR (Institute of Public and Policy Research)
Currently, the Government funds 15 hours of free childcare for all three to four-year-olds and disadvantaged two-year-olds in England. Wales and Scotland follow similar policies. However the think tank IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research) is calling for the Government to...

Dr Richard House, senior lecturer in Early Childhood at the University of Winchester and founder of Early Childhood Action
Dr Richard House believes universal childcare would be bad for both children and family life and is being proposed for the good of the economy rather than for children’s wellbeing. He says: “In 'The Condition of Britain' report, the IPPR has recommended moving towards universal...


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Poll: Should the Government provide free universal childcare?

YES

NO

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!

Should schools take children from the age of two?

(04-Feb-14)

Elizabeth Truss, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare
YES The Government is pushing for more school nurseries to take toddlers. Currently 375 school nurseries in England offer funded places for two-year-olds. It is encouraging schools to do this by removing red tape so they don’t have to register with Ofsted to take two-year-olds. It...

Neil Leitch, chief executive of Pre-School Learning Alliance
NO Critics opposed to the plan claim the Government is just trying to provide childcare on the cheap. They also argue it is leading to a ‘schoolification’ of the early years, and the money that is being spent on a pilot scheme to explore the success of schools unused to working...


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Poll: Should schools take children from the age of two?

Yes – it will give parents more childcare options

No – two-year-olds are too young for a formal school environment

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Should nurseries ban superhero costumes and toy weapons?

(09-Dec-13)

Dr Sharon Lamb, professor of mental health at University of Massachusetts
YES Some nurseries have banned superhero costumes, toy swords and guns claiming ‘they encourage aggression and violence’. This move seems to be backed up by research by Dr Sharon Lamb, professor of mental health at University of Massachusetts, who believes today’s superheroes...

Mini MoHo Nursery, Eastbourne
NO A nursery has warned that banning superhero costumes and toy weapons could have a ‘negative impact on children’s development, particularly boys’. Mini MoHo Nursery in Eastbourne, has drawn up a policy explaining why it encourages weapon and superhero play, stating ‘historically,...


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Poll: Should nurseries ban superhero costumes and toy weapons?

Yes

No

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!

Should Early Years Teachers have Qualified Teacher Status?

(29-Nov-13)

Professor Cathy Nutbrown, head of the School of Education at Sheffield University
YES Professor Nutbrown wrote the Nutbrown Review, which called for an increase in the number of qualified teachers with specialist early years knowledge. She has said she is “disappointed” with the proposals in ‘More Great Childcare’ which was intended to be a response to her...

Elizabeth Truss, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare
NO In the Government’s report ‘More Great Childcare’, Elizabeth Truss said “we will introduce graduate-level Early Years Teachers specifically trained to teach young children. The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education Project – known as the EPPE report – showed that children...


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Poll: Should Early Years Teachers have Qualified Teacher Status?

YES - they should have parity with primary and secondary school teachers

NO - it isn't necessary

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!

Is it beneficial for children to use ICT in nursery?

(14-Oct-13)

John Siraj-Blatchford, honorary professor at the University of Swansea centre for child research
YES John Siraj-Blatchford argues that there is substantial research evidence supporting the use of ICT in early childhood. He says: "I am keen to promote the use of mobile touch screen technologies in early childhood because all the evidence points to it being the most appropriate...

Sue Palmer, literacy expert and author of the bestseller Toxic Childhood
NO An increasing number of nurseries have got interactive boards and computers whilst a small but growing number have even gone as far as buying iPads for their children to use. However former head teacher, Sue Palmer believes too much early exposure to screen-based technology...


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Poll: Is it beneficial for children to use ICT in nursery?

Yes

No

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!

Should the Government change legislation so parents decide whether summer-born children start school later?

(09-Oct-13)

Dr Richard House, senior Lecturer in Education (Early Childhood), University of Winchester and chair, Early Childhood Action (ECA)
Dr Richard House would like to see every parent being given the choice of when their summer-born child starts school. Currently it is up to the local authority, which means parents have to battle to get a decision in their favour, as it is decided on a case-by-case basis. Bringing...

Elizabeth Truss, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare
In a recent Westminster parliamentary debate, Elizabeth Truss agreed with many campaigners who have been advocating parental flexibility in terms of summer-borns. However she is not in favour of a legislation change which would give vital support to parents and is still giving local...


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Poll: Should the Government change legislation so parents make the decision whether their summer-born children start school later?

Yes

No

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!

Should there be more formal testing of young children?

(04-Jul-13)

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Ofsted
YES Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, would like to see more nurseries carrying out regular assessments of children as he believes the most effective nurseries are those which regularly assess children and set high expectations. He said: “When children arrive...

Dr Richard House, senior lecturer in Early Childhood Studies, University of Winchester
NO Dr Richard House sees Sir Michael’s push for more testing of young children as “the creeping ‘schoolification’ of early childhood in England” and questions Sir Michael’s evidence for the “best nursery and primary schools”, asking on “what criteria he bases his 'best' label”. ...


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Poll: Should there be more formal testing of young children?

YES

NO

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!

Do you agree with the childcare minister that British nurseries are ‘chaotic’ and need more structure?

(09-May-13)

Elizabeth Truss, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare
YES Childcare minister, Elizabeth Truss, recently launched an attack on nurseries in Britain, saying many are “chaotic”, “where children are running around” and “there’s no sense of purpose”. She made the comments in an interview with the Daily Mail, where she said, in the...

Sarah Steel, managing director of the Old Station Nursery chain
NO Ms Steel found the childcare minister’s comments on nurseries in the UK “so disappointing”. She said: “Ms Truss seems to have fallen in love with all things French and the latest assertion is that French children have lovely manners – determined solely by their nursery –...


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Poll: Do you agree with the childcare minister that British nurseries are ‘chaotic’ and need more structure?

YES

NO

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!

Two-thirds of councils are failing to ensure there is enough affordable childcare. Who is to blame?

(08-Mar-13)

Anand Shukla, chief executive of Daycare Trust and Family and Parenting Institute
The Government needs to help as councils are struggling with budget cuts The Childcare Costs Survey 2013 by the Daycare Trust and Family and Parenting Institute revealed that two out of three local authorities in England and Wales are failing to provide enough...

Spokesperson, Department for Education
It is up to councils to ensure there is enough affordable childcare in your area A Government spokesperson said: “By law, councils must make sure there are enough childcare services in their area. “Many parents are concerned about childcare costs. We are...


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Poll: Two-thirds of councils are failing to ensure there is enough affordable childcare. Who is to blame?

Central Government

Local Councils

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!

Would cutting staff ratios reduce the quality of care in nurseries?

(10-Jan-13)

Stephen Twigg, Labour's Shadow Education Secretary
YES Childcare minister, Elizabeth Truss, wants a deregulated childcare system similar to that of France which could see early years practitioners being responsible for up to eight children. Currently in nurseries and pre-schools, there has to be one adult to three children...

Elizabeth Truss, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare
NO Childcare minister Elizabeth Truss wants to reform the way childcare is organised and provided in order to offer parents a more flexible and affordable system. One of her solutions is to increase the child to adult ratios in nurseries with staff caring for more children as...


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Poll: Would cutting staff ratios reduce the quality of care in nurseries?

Yes

No

Maybe

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!

Should nurseries shun traditional nativities and put on secular plays that are more inclusive?

(12-Dec-12)

A secular nursery, based in Scotland
YES Britain is becoming increasingly multicultural with a diverse range of religions and cultures. In order to be inclusive many nurseries have gone down the path of putting on secular plays at Christmas time. The latest Census showed a quarter of the British population describe...

Zoe Raven, managing director of Acorn Childcare
NO Zoe Raven who runs nine nurseries in Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire believes it is political correctness that has gone too far and says: “Children from all cultural backgrounds can enjoy the Christmas story as well as other seasonal festivals, and we shouldn’t be afraid...


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Poll: Should nurseries shun traditional nativities and put on secular plays that are more inclusive?

Yes

No

Maybe

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!

Should early years frameworks have second-language teaching included among their key objectives?

(07-Nov-12)

Dr Frank Monaghan, vice chair and senior lecturer, Open University in London
YES The early years forms a critical stage in children’s development. If children are to become and remain bilingual, early years settings have a role to play in providing opportunities for ‘additive’ rather than ‘subtractive’ bilingualism, says Dr Monaghan of the National Association...

Dr Fiona Copland & Dr Sue Garton, senior lecturers in TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), Aston University
NO “We should state clearly from the start that we are in favour of introducing languages into schools at all ages. However, both the theoretical issues and the practical implications of formally learning languages at an early age are numerous. First, the jury is still out...


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Poll: Should early years frameworks have second-language teaching included among their key objectives?

Yes

No

Maybe

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!

Should nurseries be able to pay to be reinspected by Ofsted if they get a Satisfactory rating?

(03-Oct-12)

Neil Leitch, chief executive of Pre-school Learning Alliance
YES “At the start of September Ofsted announced some changes to how it inspects day nurseries and pre-schools, including giving them a judgement on how well their provision meets the needs of the range of children who attend. But the childcare inspectorate did not include any...

Kathy Brodie, early years trainer and Early Childhood Studies lecturer at Stockport College
NO “It can be devastating to a staff team when their Ofsted inspection rating is not as high as expected. It means that, for the next three years, or possibly more, that the nursery may be deemed to ‘require improvements’ (from January 2013) and to potential parents wishing to...


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Poll: Should nurseries be able to pay to be reinspected by Ofsted if they get a satisfactory rating?

Yes

No

Maybe

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!