On Wednesday 17th October…
…We had the pleasure of attending Achievement for All’s ‘Every Child Included in Education’ Conference – to ensure no child is left behind. From early childhood development to the later stages of academic life, this conference brought together people working in a variety of educational roles. Despite the severe British Rail disruption, it was a well-attended and successful event which we were happy to have the opportunity of supporting. It is great to know that there are so many organisations and individuals working towards the ‘every child included’ agenda.
With a focus on the vulnerable and disadvantaged, this congregation of early years workers: practitioners, researchers, consultants and many more, were brought together to discuss the ways in which we can improve current practice, services and support networks available to disadvantaged children throughout education.
AFA’s CEO, Sonia Blandford, introduced the event. She covered the following priorities:
- Kindness and wellbeing – building inner core strength
- CPD for teachers to support SEN children
- Minimising exclusion – aim for no exclusion
- Parents and carers involvement
The speakers that came after reflected this, discussing both opportunities and challenges. With regard to early years, the biggest challenges spoken of consisted of high turnovers and the lower wage in comparison to other teaching positions; the need for early years practitioners to be greater valued for the important work they do in supporting development through play at this crucial stage.
Early years are an immensely crucial stage of life
It was recognised that early years are an immensely crucial stage of life. Developments made in all areas including maths, literacy and communication are pivotal – and interweaving them with parental involvement is even more effective in laying the foundations for life. It is when these aren’t addressed to the extent they deserve that we find the school ready attainment gap.
Introducing the breakout discussion about ‘Terrific Twos’ Maureen Hunt, Achievement For All, stated that there was a 19% gap at school ready stage and as yet there is no sign of impact as a result of Govt funding for this age group. There was a general consensus that the focus should be more around a community approach, engaging with the families rather than solely focusing on filling the 2-year-old funded nursery places.
Much of the emphasis in the afternoon breakout sessions that we attended was based on parental involvement and the ways in which practitioners can best encourage and support parents. Boogie Mites Director Sue Newman contributed to the panel discussion: Managing Transition in Early Years. She even led a Boogie Mites classic ‘Let’s Tap a Word’ to show a music activity in action!
Boogie Mites support the annual AFA campaigns to raise awareness and support reading and promote use of music and parent involvement in early learning activities.
For enquiries contact Sue Newman, Boogie Mites Director, on 023 9281 7274, or email her: [email protected]