Penny is beginning to wonder – Is there something wrong with her ability to read and understand research and other documents?   3 comments

As a very busy person, Penny admits to often only having time to scan documents in the first instance – and not being able to read in full until much later. Penny also acknowledges that she has difficulty with scanning due to problems with this eye function – and so may not always pick up on all aspects and even miss something important.

However Penny knows that on the whole she does have a certain ability to make a fair summary of research and documents, and to be able to comment effectively. Others have commented on this, on this blog and in emails etc – so Penny knows she is not just ‘patting herself on the back’.

So when this morning Penny was sent the report from the Wave Trust called ‘Tackling the roots of disadvantage’ by a friend – Penny thought two things 1) Not seen this before,  2) Oh Elizabeth Truss has written the forward.

Penny went straight to the forward and read;

I am delighted to be given the opportunity to write a forward for this report, which I believe represents a very important step in achieving earlier intervention for families who need the most support.
As our understanding of the brain development of babies improves, so too must our policies, to reflect this critically important period of life. If every single child is to benefit from the positive changes we are making to the early child care and education settings, then every single child has to receive ‘good enough’ parenting.
The ‘Age of opportunity’ report provides many of those evidence-based answers as to how we can practically implement support for women and families, and promote a generation of improved infant mental health.
Elizabeth Truss MP
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Childcare

My goodness thought Penny – here it is then the report that backs Ms.Truss’s views – how could I have not seen it before?  – and why has Ms.Truss not made sure everyone see’s this report if it backs her views?

Into scanning mode went Penny and straight to the relevant bits – the bits about attachment and emotional well being – the bits about the importance of getting it right in the early years, and the consequences of not getting it right – the bit about how investment in early years repays itself many times over – the bit about everyone working with children needing to understand child development , the bit about practitioners needing support, training and supervision – even the bit about the need for better qualified staff.

Penny stopped reading at this point and made a coffee – wondering if somehow Ms.Truss had read a different document or that some mistake had been made and the forward for this document written by Ms.Truss was intended for a different report?

A while later  – (after an enjoyable button sorting activity with the children), Penny went back to reading (and the children to playing with the train set) – it seemed that Ms.Truss’s forward was for the document that Penny was reading – one very confused Penny!

Maybe Penny does not have the skills mentioned at the start of this blog ? Maybe Penny has missed that important bit of information in this report – you know the bit that says higher ratios will support children to make secure attachments – and the bit about support services (LA’s) not being needed – the bit about children being able to achieve all the outcomes the government expects to make them ‘ ready for school’ in large groups.

However try as she might – Penny could not find reference to any of those things that might have supported the proposals in More Great Childcare.

Therefore – Penny would be very grateful if all the readers of her blog would read the report Wave Trust report 2013  and let her know just where in the report is the information that supports either Ms.Truss’s forward or the proposals in More Great Childcare

After all Penny is willing to accept that she may be wrong – and maybe Ms.Truss will be able to admit she is wrong,  if Penny is right and this report does not support More Great Childcare

3 responses to “Penny is beginning to wonder – Is there something wrong with her ability to read and understand research and other documents?

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  1. Like Penny, very busy but the Executive Summary seems to show fairly concrete evidence of the need to improve adult:child ratios as opposed to reducing them.

    Debbie Greatorex
  2. Hi Penny, reading Ms Truss’s comments then led straight into the executive summary that immediately contradicts everything Ms Truss’s current policy making is going to create.

    1. A wide range of research now shows that conception to age 2 is a crucial phase of human
    development and is the time when focused attention can reap great dividends for society. **** So how are these children going to receive this focused attention when the current policy changes will mean less individual time for children with early years professionals *****

    2. How we treat 0-2 year-olds shapes their lives – and ultimately our society. Loving, secure
    and reliable relationships with parents, together with the quality of the home learning
    environment, foster a child’s:
    o emotional wellbeing (sometimes referred to as infant mental health); **** Children’s emotional wellbeing will suffer in early years settiings when they have to share attention with more children *****

    o capacity to form and maintain positive relationships with others; ***** Again developing relationships will be affected by increased ratios *****

    o brain development (c.80% of brain cell development takes place by age 3);
    o language development, and
    o ability to learn (the ‘soft’ skills that equip a child to relate to others, thrive and then go
    on to learn the ‘hard’ cognitive skills needed to succeed academically are embedded
    in the earliest months of life. Poor support, particularly a failure to prevent abuse or
    neglect, at this stage can have a lifelong adverse impact on outcomes). ****** As for these last three points, the whole of the More Great Childcare will affect children. Increasing ratios, adding stress to early years professionals and expecting children to learn in classrooms rather than through play within small well supported groups will significantly reduce children’s school readiness and likely turn them off learning rather than fostering a love of learning and exploration. Children’s safety will be at greater risk as less staff with added stress will not provide an environment that supports an ability to identify possible signs of abuse or neglect, with more children slipping through the cracks. As for the training staff will get with LAs having the responsibility for providing it being removed to make way for a market place of training providers – it will be a lottery situation with staff knowledge being dependent on how importantly it is rated by the setting and the quality vs price that will definately happen.

    I really dont know how Ms Truss can be so hypocritical, or maybe she has yet again underestimated us as a profession and not credited us with the brains to research and understand these documents!!!!!

    • Thank you Dawn

      From your comments and those of Debbie (and those commenting outside this blog) it seems that it is not me that does not understand the research documents.

      Your summary does sum up very nicely; the apparent complete misunderstanding or is it lack of knowledge or is lack of listening skills or is it in fact a desire to push through these proposals at whatever cost?

      I only hope that those who care and educate Ms.Truss’s children – their Nanny and their teachers – understand child development more than Ms.Truss and do not take ill informed ‘gambles’ with the Truss children’s well being and future.

      No children should have to suffer the consequences of one persons ideas – such as we have seen in history time and time again.

      I hope (but it is a fading hope) that Ms.Truss – and those in government supporting her ideas – can find it in themselves to do the ‘right thing’ – would it really hurt to say – ‘Actually we are listening and there is so much concern about MGC that we are going to take the time to consult fully and to ask a early years professional task and finish group to review our proposals and to put forward their opinion of how to best move forward with this’

      In fact – personally I think if the government do this they will increase their chances of staying in government as we will think much more of a government that listens than we currently do about a government who don’t seem to care about the children of this country.

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