Foundation Phase in Wales compared to KS1 in England(8 Posts)
DD is in Y1. We are from Wales originally but only moved back two years ago, so I have friends and a family member with DCs in England.
For what it's worth, I think the new curriculum in England is far too intensive for such young children and Wales hasn't adopted them, or many of those at KS3/4 either. The focus is on play-based learning until 7.
However, I am starting to feel a bit jittery. It already seems to me that DD couldn't transfer into an English school if we moved back - I don't really want to any more, but I have to commute due to lack of work here - because the basics are drilled so early and quickly in England. I am also a little concerned about the lack of pace in her current class. For example, she's been reading band 2 books for months now - I thought we'd be moving on a bit having read the original Biff, Chip and Kipper books and the Songbirds ones in Reception, but no - there's a whole load more ORT band 2 books that we're still trawling through. It just seems a bit dull.
In terms of spelling, DD has just brought her first list home. They are the simplest short vowel a words you can imagine - man, van etc. I'm well aware that again, English children at this stage in Y1 are working significantly beyond this.
I'm feeling a bit conflicted. While I genuinely don't agree with more and earlier being better (I'm thinking Finland), I do want my DCs stretched. DD is no prodigy but her vocabulary and communication has been great for years now. I think she is capable of more than what she's doing.
Does anyone else feel that the Welsh Foundation Phase is a bit limiting?
I've only had one experience of teaching a welsh educated child. When he arrived ( in year 5) I would say he was around 6-12 months behind the rest of the cohort. Because he was a bright boy he picked things up quickly and soon closed the gap ( it wasn't that he didn't understand, he simply hadn't been taught!) But I would have been concerned had he NOT been bright, I do think he would have been further behind and found it more difficult to catch up.
My DS is in Year 2 in Wales. My nephew is in Year 2 in England. From my general observations, they are pretty similar in terms of ability (teacher - just can't help ourselves) and, looking at the completed books that came home at the end of Year 1, they are pretty similar. However, I teach further up the school and so my knowledge of early years is pretty basic. Having taught children who have come into my class from England, I'd say that they vary, like all children, between those who are ahead and those who are behind. I'd say that the school is key here, rather than the system.
My major concern with the Welsh system is the compulsory administration of national tests (numeracy, reasoning and reading so far) every year from year 2. There is so much pressure on schools to perform well that I fear that a culture of teaching to the test may develop - think SATS in each year group from the age of 7. That, in my view, will have an impact on the breadth of the curriculum in Wales.
I absolutely agree it is about the school. When my English born son moved from year 1 in England to Wales the difference was marked. He spent his entire reception year in England choosing to play outside, in line with his recently qualified teacher's understanding of choice in learning. He couldn't read a word and struggled with phonics.
I told his Welsh HT about this when he showed us around the foundation stage and he said that children in his school got choice between activities, not the choice to opt out of learning to read. This new Welsh school was very formal and in many respects old fashioned.
He's in year 4 now and we are still in contact with his best friend from his English school and they appear to be very similar, although there seems to be a bigger focus on our Welsh school on being able to do presentations. Oh, and of course there's the whole learning Welsh thing which my younger son has embraced and my older one finds utterly ridiculous.
It can also depend on how well the teacher understands "learning through play". My eldest had a teacher in reception who thought this meant playing, my son on the other hand had a teacher who kept them busy all day - the children thought they were playing but they were learning all the time!
Sorry should add - both same school, ini Wales.
I checked back in DD's reading diary earlier. We did actually go onto level 3 readers at the beginning of the summer hols, but went back to band 2 in Septenber and have stayed there ever since. She's even been given one book that she'd already read (several times).
We've done the spellings - they were a walk in the park. I'm just not getting any sense of differentiation.
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