National Curriculum in Primary Education

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Until 2002 in England, baseline testing was the method followed in early education. It was first introduced by the Government in the mid 1990s, and was defined by Charles Calorie, then under secretary of state for school standards, as being about "teachers assessing strengths and weaknesses when children start school and identifying development" (NLT: Baseline, 2000, par.


It was evident that a single plan was needed.
In 2000, it was reported by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NLT: Early Debate, 28.1.00) that English children were falling behind Japanese children because English children started school earlier and didn't have sufficient development of behavioral and social skills. Teachers found they were spending more time on bad behavior and less time on teaching than did their Japanese equivalents. A study of play-based learning in Nursery School has shown it to be important for preschoolers, and this type of learning might be extended to children up to 6 years old and perhaps even 7 before formal teaching takes over. This thinking was first developed by Rudolph Steiner of Austria, whose Steiner Waldorf approach was instituted in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1919, with many Steiner early years centres presently located throughout the world. The centres focus on three stages - birth to 7 years old, 7 to 14 and 14 to 21. Gareth Lewis, author and advocate of home schooling (2001), lists the following principles as part of the approach:
The Foundation Stage became part of the English National Curriculum in October 2002, and its profile has replaced baseline testing. ...
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