This page was last modified on 17 July 2015, at 11:47.

United-Kingdom-Wales:Early Childhood Education and Care

From Eurydice

Jump to: navigation, search

Overview United Kingdom (Wales)

Contents

United-Kingdom-Wales:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

United-Kingdom-Wales:Historical Development

United-Kingdom-Wales:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

United-Kingdom-Wales:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

United-Kingdom-Wales:Political and Economic Situation

United-Kingdom-Wales:Organisation and Governance

United-Kingdom-Wales:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

United-Kingdom-Wales:Lifelong Learning Strategy

United-Kingdom-Wales:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

United-Kingdom-Wales:Organisation of Private Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:National Qualifications Framework

United-Kingdom-Wales:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

United-Kingdom-Wales:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

United-Kingdom-Wales:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

United-Kingdom-Wales:Funding in Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

United-Kingdom-Wales:Higher Education Funding

United-Kingdom-Wales:Adult Education and Training Funding

United-Kingdom-Wales:Early Childhood Education and Care

United-Kingdom-Wales:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

United-Kingdom-Wales:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

United-Kingdom-Wales:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

United-Kingdom-Wales:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

United-Kingdom-Wales:Primary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Organisation of Primary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Assessment in Primary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Types of Higher Education Institutions

United-Kingdom-Wales:First Cycle Programmes

United-Kingdom-Wales:Bachelor

United-Kingdom-Wales:Short-Cycle Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Second Cycle Programmes

United-Kingdom-Wales:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

United-Kingdom-Wales:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

United-Kingdom-Wales:Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Wales:Distribution of Responsibilities

United-Kingdom-Wales:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

United-Kingdom-Wales:Main Providers

United-Kingdom-Wales:Main Types of Provision

United-Kingdom-Wales:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

United-Kingdom-Wales:Teachers and Education Staff

United-Kingdom-Wales:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Wales:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Wales:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Wales:Management and Other Education Staff

United-Kingdom-Wales:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

United-Kingdom-Wales:Management Staff for Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Wales:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Wales:Quality Assurance

United-Kingdom-Wales:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Wales:Educational Support and Guidance

United-Kingdom-Wales:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Wales:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

United-Kingdom-Wales:Mobility and Internationalisation

United-Kingdom-Wales:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Mobility in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Wales:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Wales:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

United-Kingdom-Wales:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

United-Kingdom-Wales:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

United-Kingdom-Wales:National Reforms in School Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

United-Kingdom-Wales:National Reforms in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Wales:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

United-Kingdom-Wales:European Perspective

United-Kingdom-Wales:Legislation

United-Kingdom-Wales:Glossary

This chapter outlines the organisation, structure and the main policy and general objectives for early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Wales. It also provides information on teaching and learning in ECEC. 

Early childhood education and care is known by a variety of terms In Wales – early years, nursery, pre-school or pre-primary education. It is available from different types of setting in the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sectors including registered childminders as well as the publicly funded schools sector (maintained nursery schools and primary schools). Some providers cater for a limited age range while others cater for different ages and funding regimes.

The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 placed a statutory duty on local authorities to ensure the provision of nursery education in their area. The Act defines nursery education as full- or part-time education suitable for children who have not attained compulsory school age (the term after a child’s fifth birthday), whether provided at schools or elsewhere. The Children Act 2004 required local authorities and key partners to cooperate across the range of functions to improve children’s well-being in their area and placed statutory duty on local authorities to prepare and publish a Children and Young People’s Plan (this duty is now discharged through a single integrated plan). The Childcare Act 2006 placed a statutory duty on local authorities in Wales to:
  • secure sufficient childcare within their areas (when determining whether provision is sufficient, they must have regard to the needs of parents in their area for Welsh-medium provision); and
  • ensure that parents have access to adequate information on childcare and other children’s services. 
The main provider of Welsh-medium early years care and education is a voluntary sector organisation, Mudiad Meithrin.

In 2010, the Welsh Government’s ‘Welsh Medium Education Strategy’ highlighted the need to encourage increased access to Welsh-medium education from the early years onwards, in order to develop future bilingual citizens. In 2013, it brought together its different policies and programmes impacting on and influencing early years provision to form a ten year plan for early years, including actions and timescales for delivery, entitled Building a Brighter Future: Early Years and Childcare Plan.

For babies and infants up to age 2, there is no entitlement to free provision. Parents can choose to pay for early childhood education and care using privately-run or voluntary sector day nurseries, childminders or nannies.

For children aged 2 to 3, there is targeted free provision. Part-time childcare is available for some two-year-olds in deprived areas of Wales, under the Welsh Government’s ‘Flying Start’ programme, which includes family support and child and family health services. The Government’s Parenting Action Plan and the childcare strategy Nurturing Children, Supporting Families, published in 2011, also include a comprehensive suite of programmes to help improve outcomes for the most disadvantaged and aim to target the needs of very young children and parents. These programmes are based on the Welsh Government’s belief that the support and stimulation children receive in their early years fundamentally affect their abilities and potential throughout life. Outside these programmes, parents can choose to pay for early childhood education and care using privately-run or voluntary sector day nurseries, childminders or nannies.

For children aged from 3 onwards, there is universal free provision. The Welsh Government has set targets to expand and develop government-funded pre-school education and childcare over recent years, so all three- and four-year-olds are now entitled to free part-time place. From age four, most children attend the reception class of a primary school for the full school day and full-time education becomes compulsory in the term after a child reaches the age of five. Parents can choose to pay for additional provision on top of the free part-time provision they receive.

Major providers of pre-school education include stand-alone nursery schools or maintained primary schools (in nursery classes for children aged three to four and reception classes for children aged four to five), both of which are fully government-funded. Early childhood education is also provided by the private and voluntary sectors (supported by government funding, subject to meeting certain requirements) and by integrated children’s centres, which also offer childcare, open access play and community education and training.

The curriculum framework from age three to seven years is provided by the Foundation Phase, which spans both pre-school provision and primary education. The Foundation Phase is based on the principle that children learn better through first-hand practical experiences, play and active involvement (see the subheading on ‘Curriculum/Steering Documents and Types of Activities’ in the article on the ‘Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2–3 years’). The Phase also incorporates other key goals for early childhood education which were established in the late 1990s, which emphasised early literacy, numeracy and the development of personal and social skills. 

Further information on legislation referenced in this article is available here, and a glossary listing items referenced in this article can be found here.