Authors: Dr Samuel M. Waldron et al, Cardiff University

Day One – Tuesday 25th June

Strand – Education

Session Three: 4.30pm – 6pm

The Foundation Phase – the Welsh Government flagship early years education policy for 3-7 year olds – has been progressively rolled-out since 2008, and this paper reports on initial findings from the second year of the independent National Evaluation, funded by Welsh Government from 2011-2014 (conducted by WISERD and Cardiff University).

The Foundation Phase marks a radical departure from the more assessment-driven competency-based approaches often associated with the former Key Stage 1 curriculum, thus the main focus of the Evaluation has been on assessing implementation and impact. Initial findings are discussed within the context of our: i) Policy Logic Model; ii) Local Authority Telephone Interviews; iii) National Head Teacher Postal Survey; iv) Secondary Analysis of the National Pupil Database; and v) Randomly Selected School Case Study Visits (which have so far included lesson observations, staff interviews and a pupil survey).

Although tentative, preliminary evidence suggests that there is wide support for the Foundation Phase amongst Local Authority personnel and practitioners. There is also some evidence suggesting that the pupils who attended Foundation Phase ‘pilot’ and ‘early start’ settings may have been advantaged by doing so (in terms of Key Stage 2 outcomes). However, there is considerable variation in the way the Foundation Phase in being implemented across schools, and significant concerns have been raised by stakeholders regarding assessment procedures and the future status of the education policy itself.

Presentation not available.