Too many nurseries are chaotically organised, warns Childcare Minister Elizabeth Truss
Monday 22 April 2013
Too many nurseries are chaotically organised and failing to teach young children good manners, a Government minister has said.
Childcare Minister Elizabeth Truss said many pre-school units needed a more structured approach and more teachers with a graduate-level education, in an interview with the Daily Mail.
She praised the French system for caring for youngsters, using a teacher-led daily routine which she said resulted in a calmer atmosphere in the classroom.
It comes days after Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said failing nurseries and pre-schools will face closure if they do not rapidly improve.
Mrs Truss, a 37-year-old mother of two, told the Mail the Government wanted children "to learn to listen to a teacher, learn to respect an instruction so that they are ready for school".
"This isn't about two-year-olds doing academic work - it's structured play which teaches children to be polite and considerate through activities which the teacher is clearly leading," she told the paper.
"At the moment fewer than one-third of nurseries employ graduate-level teachers and have structured, teacher-led sessions. We know that's very beneficial.
"What you notice in French nurseries is just how calm they are. All of their classes are structured and led by teachers. It's a requirement.
'They learn to socialise with each other, pay attention to the teacher and develop good manners, which is not the case in too many nurseries in Britain."
Under a major shake-up of early years inspections announced by Sir Michael last week, those nurseries that fail to raise their game will have their registration cancelled.
Sir Michael announced on Friday that from September, Ofsted will only consider a rating of good or outstanding to be acceptable for nurseries and pre-schools.
The satisfactory judgment will be scrapped and replaced by "requires improvement" - a change already made to school inspections in England.
Sir Michael also raised fresh concerns about qualifications among those working with babies and toddlers, saying it is an "absolute nonsense" that more exams are needed to work with animals than young children.
Mrs Truss also questioned the qualifications of nursery staff, telling the Mail: "Free-flow play is not compulsory, but there is a belief across lots of nurseries that it is.
"I have seen too many chaotic settings, where children are running around. There's no sense of purpose.
"In these settings where there aren't sufficiently qualified staff, and children are running around, we are not getting positive outcomes."
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Ian Thorpe gay: Olympic swimmer comes out in Parkinson interview
Stephen Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli air strike destroys home for the disabled killing two women residents
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli PM says conflict may 'continue for a long time' as hundreds of Palestinians flee their homes
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Emergency data law: David Cameron plots to bring back snoopers’ charter
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Dynamics CRM D...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Web Developer ...
£50000 - £67000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# R&D .NE...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...