May 13, 2022
Early Childhood Learning
Our first theory of the day was about early childhood learning that encompasses ages 0-5. Once a child is 5, attendance is legally required in school called reception class. Currently in England, parents receive 30 hours of free childcare funding from age 3 to 5. This was mind blowing to me because childcare in the States is so ridiculously expensive. I have been a babysitter for the last 2 years, so I have seen firsthand the demand for childcare providers. The similar role to babysitting that they have in England is called a childminder. Childminders provide home based care, however, the organization is more structured and they are required to have certain qualifications and certifications. I have many additional questions about the childminder role. I want to know what level of education they need, whether they are self-employed or work for a company, and how satisfactory the job is. If I ever travel abroad and cannot practice nursing there, I think that this would be a role I would be interested in. Other questions I have about early education is the role of the local authorities. I am still unsure about who or what the “local authority” does. Do they regulate funding for schools? Do they enforce curriculum? How do they help low income or ethnic minority families?
Continuing on, we learned about the education of older children. The contents from the lecture are best summed up in this table. I am still confused about who funds which kinds of schools. I would like more clarification on what state funded is versus direct from central government.
|Type||Selectivity||Ages||Funding||Follow National Curriculum?|
|Grammar Schools||Selective, children must pass a test at age 11||11+||State funded||yes|
|Faith||Associated with a religion, can have admission criteria||5+||yes; have freedom with religion ed|
|Free||Depends||5+||Anyone can set up a free school||no|
|Academies||Non-selective||5+||Direct from central government, no regulation||no|
|Special||Specifically for children with special education needs||5+|
The National Curriculum (NC) in England is very similar to ours. Something I learned that was very interesting was that religion is a required subject to teach; however, the content is up to the individual school. For example, a school affiliated with a religion will most likely teach 1 religion, but a public school may touch upon many. This is very different from the US public school system. You do not really see religion classes in America unless you go to a religious school.
Similarly to the United States, England has a large test culture. As you can see in the chart below, children are tested with standardized testing nearly every year. While we have different names for them based on states, we have the same idea here. For example, as a Pennsylvania resident, I have taken the PSSAs and Keystone exams. Due to COVID, both countries have seen a decrease in the amount of standardized testing. Especially for college entry in the US, many schools have decided to go test optional. I will be interested to see if the UK eventually takes this approach as well.
|Year 1||5-6||Phonics screening test|
|Year 2||6-7||Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs)|
|Year 4||8-9||English reading, grammar, punctuation, spelling, maths|
Times tables test
|Year 12-13||16-18||A-levels if they decide to|
Special Educational Needs
Earlier this week, we got a glimpse of the resources available for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in the schools. Today we dove deeper into this subject beginning with the changes that have been made over time such as the revised SEND code of practice in 2015. Students with more profound forms of SEND might be eligible for an Education, Health, and Care plan that will detail the support the child needs. Under the NHS, it can take years for a student to visit their GP, get a referral, go through the waiting list for the educational psychologist, and finally get to planning. Due to the lengthy wait time, parents that are able to may pay for private services such as speech and language therapists.
Another perspective we got on this topic was from Jo Gibbs. She has been working in Stockport, UK to test out a Team around the School (TAS) model. The purpose of this research is to encourage families to take control of their life and to limit referral of low-medium level cases to social workers. So far this intervention has improved school attendance and decreased the amount of cases and stress on social workers.
Due to my interest in adolescent mental health, I was curious about if the SEND code of practice includes mental health services. When I asked, I learned that the system in place for that is actually called Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMS). I still have many questions about what CAMS does and how long it takes to get access to services. We will be doing more research this weekend when working on our final presentation.
Overall the social care systems are struggling under the same pressure in post-covid times. There is such a high demand for social and mental health services that there are not enough people to help. This is scary to me because I am going into a field that is in desperate need of workers, but those that work get burned out so quickly.
In between classes today we took a tour on the canal. Here are some lovely photos from our trip: