The Welsh Government’s flagship Foundation Phase has led to overall improvements in pupil’s educational achievements, their well being and their engagement in learning according to new research published today.
The findings follow a three year programme of independent evaluation, commissioned by the Welsh Government and undertaken by researchers at Cardiff University and the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD).
The Welsh Government is today publishing the final report of the programme which includes previously unpublished findings and brings all elements of the comprehensive research and evaluation programme together.
The report finds that:
- Pupils in the Foundation Phase are more likely to achieve Level 4 or above in Key Stage 2 English
- Schools using high levels of Foundation Phase pedagogies are more likely to achieve the Foundation Phase Indicator
- Greater use of Foundation Phase pedagogies leads to increased pupil engagement and wellbeing
- The Foundation Phase improves school attendance across the board and delivers improved attainment, including for those pupils eligible for free school meals
- Practitioners and key people involved in the delivery of Foundation Phase believe it is having a positive impact on children and learning and that it delivers improvements in literacy and numeracy
In light of the success of the Foundation Phase, the report encourages the Welsh Government to continue to develop its flagship curriculum. It also encourages schools and other settings to do more to implement the principles and teachings of the Foundation Phase in their classrooms.
Education Minister, Huw Lewis said:
“ With the introduction of the Foundation Phase we have moved to a new method of learning for our 3 to 7 year olds, one that is very much focussed on learning by doing and finding different ways of solving problems.
“ I very much welcome this report. It follows a three year, comprehensive and credible research programme led by Cardiff University and WISERD and tells us that the Foundation Phase really is delivering for our youngest learners, in terms of attainment, attendance, well being and engagement.
“Of course we must keep working hard to ensure the Foundation Phase delivers the very best for our youngest learners and I welcome the report’s 29 recommendations around how we can further develop and enhance this vital curriculum area.
“The recommendations apply not just to Welsh Government, but also to Estyn, our Regional Consortia, local authorities head teachers, practitioners and others, and I look forward to us working collaboratively to deliver the very highest standards of learning for our youngest pupils.”
Professor Chris Taylor, Co-Director of the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD) said:
“The Foundation Phase, and its underpinning approaches to teaching and learning, has been widely welcomed amongst practitioners and parents in Wales.
“We find compelling evidence to suggest that the Foundation Phase can benefit young children in Wales in a wide range of ways, including their involvement in learning and their levels of achievement in literacy and numeracy. However, the Foundation Phase is still developing and evolving, and there remains a great deal more that everyone involved in early years education can do.
“I hope too that we have demonstrated through this, and the other seventeen reports from the evaluation, the importance and need for detailed research and evaluation to ensure Wales has a high quality education system that serves the interests of children, parents and wider society.”