Early years

Children should emerge from the early years as inquisitive and confident learners. The NUT supports an early years play-based curriculum that promotes the development of children’s intellectual, physical, personal, social and emotional skills.

In many countries children do not begin formal education until much later than in England and Wales to enable children to learn in a way that is most suited to their stage of development. The Union believes that children in England and Wales deserve an education at every stage of their development. The early years in a stage in its own right that needs to be valued and deserves respect.

early years

Campaign against Baseline Assessment

Campaign against Baseline Assessment

The NUT, as part of the Better Without Baseline campaign, successfully campaigned against the introduction of baseline assessment for school accountability purposes in September 2015.

The policy was withdrawn in April 2016 following the publication of NUT-ATL commissioned research into the impact of the policy on schools (read the full report here), as well as DfE commissioned research that showed the data produced was not reliable.

The DfE is now seeking to reintroduce baseline assessment as a school accountability measure. The DfE’s response to the consultation on primary assessment will be published in the Autumn of 2017.

The Better Without Baseline campaign is working alongside More Than a Score to oppose the reintroduction of baseline assessment and to promote an alternative vision of assessment. Find out more here.

Other Early Years Policy Areas:

Time to Play: NUT play policy

The importance of play in the Foundation Stage is embedded in its curriculum guidance. However, from the earliest stages of education the emphasis has increasingly been placed on formal learning and assessment, particularly of literacy and numeracy.

This narrow vision of education is squeezing play-based learning out of the curriculum, despite the fact that children are still in their early years of development.

In some of the best education systems in the world, such as Finland, children do not begin formal education until much later than children in England and Wales. Instead they follow a play based, developmentally appropriate broad and balanced curriculum. This allows children, through a combination of child initiated and adult led activities to develop their intellectual, physical, personal, social and emotional skills. Children become curious about the world around them and confident in their abilities as a learner.

Time to Play, the NUT’s play policy, sets out a vision of a play based approach to early years and primary education that should form an integral part of learning. Time to play sets out the NUT’s vision for a holistic, evidence based, and developmentally appropriate play based curriculum in primary school and the early years.

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