There has been increasing concerns from academic
professionals about the over use of the term quality in education; and what
does the term quality mean? Or how do we measure/ evaluate quality? (Dahlberg et al.,1999). The term ‘quality’ is
defined in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘the standard of something as measured against
other things of a similar kind (Oxford University Press, 2018). According to Sayed
(1997) the term quality in education is often elusive, used often and, yet not
ever defined. This assignment will focus on what are the indicators of quality;
how quality is measured and evaluated in early years education within England. In
terms of education when quality is mentioned does this require us to measure
education standards against other institutions, or pupils’ outcomes, teachers’
performance, or is it the combination of all? In England childcare institutions
are regularly inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s
Services (OFSTED) to ensure ‘high quality’ educational standards. The areas of
inspection by OFSTED are as follows; quality of teaching, pupils’ achievement,
the effectiveness of leadership, pupils’ behaviour and safety (Scully, 2014). The outcomes of the
OFSTED inspections are published onto local government websites and school
websites for the public to view. When defining quality Barrett et al suggests that there are important distingushes between
education and schooling and uses Hirst and Peters (1970) example as the
definiation of education being the process of adding required qualities in
people (Hirst and Peters 1970; cited in
Barrett et al,. 2006, p.2). Although,
there are debates about what are desireable qualities, and how these can be
achieved. Barrett et al (2006) labels schooling as the service of education
through different institutionalised and universalised structured learning.
However, universal provision in recent years has been severely criticised, but
still remains a dominate pedagogical discourse within England (Wells, 2015; Dimmock and
Walker 2005; Rogoff, 2003,Dahlberg et al.,




Over the last decade there has been major shifts in
social and cultural development; mainly due to globalisation with subsequent
environment change and population growth (Sammons, 2007). Technological
advances have greatly impacted on the way information is obtained and how
people communicate largely due to the internet (Wells, 2015). Technology has led
to a greater awareness and understandings of economic interdependence of
societies and destabilising impact of poverty and environmental deprivation;
resulting in many governments and international organisations focusing on
promoting equity and equality within their policies (Sammons, 2007). In terms of early
years education in England; early intervention has been a means to help tackle
equity and equality with other family concerns along with protecting children
whom may be ‘at risk’ (Dahlberg, Moss, & Pence, 1999). Children health and
wellbeing policies may have been influenced by neuroscience discoveries; which advocates
that the first 1001 days of a babies’ life is not only critical for optimal
brain development but has a significant impact on being successful adults (Gerhardt, 2014). Lowe et al (2015) state that neuroscience
influences on policy have allowed parental determinism, which produces an idea
of children at risk to justify a culture of surveillance and monitoring into family
life. In addition, government policies failing to recognise neuroscience
understandings that the brain is adaptable notable for its ‘plasticity’ rather
than being ‘hardwired’ (Lowe, Lee, & Macvarish, 2015). Nonetheless, in
2008 the UK government role out a new Statutory Framework named the Early Years
Foundation Stage (EYFS. DfE, 2017).

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The EYFS aims are to ‘provide quality and
consistency… equality of opportunity, anti- discriminatory practices and ensure
that every child is included and supported’ (DfE, 2017, p. 5).  The EYFS has imbedded with current democracy,
equality and anti- discriminatory legislation and policies and was a welcomed
addition (Robertson & Hill, 2014). According to
Robertson and Hill (20014) they are also terms used inversely within several different
political situations. For example: equality has been used as equal to the
business agenda that advises much of the current early years procedures (Robertson & Hill,
Children are now seen as measurable, and are graded too, this boosts
competition between individuals, institution and educators (Dahlberg, Moss, &
Pence, 1999).
Competition allows children to be marked as winner and failures very early on.  In practice, quality, equality and so on, can
have many different meanings or ideals from different people. Not all
educators, leaders, managers will foster the need for competition some will
have their own ideals which are also subjective and will contain their own life
experiences, morals, and interests; these ideals (Robertson & Hill,
However, The Effective Provision of Pre-school Education Project (EPPE), was
the first major longitude European study that focused on children’s development
between the ages of three and seven (Sylva et al,. 2004). The EPPE report found that high quality provision
improved children’s intellect and social/behaviours at the end of Year 1 and
Year 2 regardless of families’ social backgrounds (Sylva et al,. 2004).


Sammons (2007) states that an effective institution
is usually defined as one where pupils progress further than is expected from
the point of intake; in comparison to other school with the same context.
However, there are arguably many different factors to consider when
establishing how effective institutions are and whether they are of high
quality (Sammons, 2007).