There has been increasing concerns from academicprofessionals about the over use of the term quality in education; and whatdoes the term quality mean? Or how do we measure/ evaluate quality? (Dahlberg et al.
,1999). The term ‘quality’ isdefined in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘the standard of something as measured againstother 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 notever defined. This assignment will focus on what are the indicators of quality;how quality is measured and evaluated in early years education within England. Interms of education when quality is mentioned does this require us to measureeducation standards against other institutions, or pupils’ outcomes, teachers’performance, or is it the combination of all? In England childcare institutionsare regularly inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’sServices (OFSTED) to ensure ‘high quality’ educational standards.
The areas ofinspection by OFSTED are as follows; quality of teaching, pupils’ achievement,the effectiveness of leadership, pupils’ behaviour and safety (Scully, 2014). The outcomes of theOFSTED inspections are published onto local government websites and schoolwebsites for the public to view. When defining quality Barrett et al suggests that there are important distingushes betweeneducation and schooling and uses Hirst and Peters (1970) example as thedefiniation of education being the process of adding required qualities inpeople (Hirst and Peters 1970; cited inBarrett et al,. 2006, p.2). Although,there are debates about what are desireable qualities, and how these can beachieved. Barrett et al (2006) labels schooling as the service of educationthrough different institutionalised and universalised structured learning.However, universal provision in recent years has been severely criticised, butstill remains a dominate pedagogical discourse within England (Wells, 2015; Dimmock andWalker 2005; Rogoff, 2003,Dahlberg et al.
,1999). Over the last decade there has been major shifts insocial and cultural development; mainly due to globalisation with subsequentenvironment change and population growth (Sammons, 2007). Technologicaladvances have greatly impacted on the way information is obtained and howpeople communicate largely due to the internet (Wells, 2015).
Technology has ledto a greater awareness and understandings of economic interdependence ofsocieties and destabilising impact of poverty and environmental deprivation;resulting in many governments and international organisations focusing onpromoting equity and equality within their policies (Sammons, 2007). In terms of earlyyears education in England; early intervention has been a means to help tackleequity and equality with other family concerns along with protecting childrenwhom may be ‘at risk’ (Dahlberg, Moss, & Pence, 1999). Children health andwellbeing policies may have been influenced by neuroscience discoveries; which advocatesthat the first 1001 days of a babies’ life is not only critical for optimalbrain development but has a significant impact on being successful adults (Gerhardt, 2014). Lowe et al (2015) state that neuroscienceinfluences on policy have allowed parental determinism, which produces an ideaof children at risk to justify a culture of surveillance and monitoring into familylife. In addition, government policies failing to recognise neuroscienceunderstandings that the brain is adaptable notable for its ‘plasticity’ ratherthan being ‘hardwired’ (Lowe, Lee, & Macvarish, 2015). Nonetheless, in2008 the UK government role out a new Statutory Framework named the Early YearsFoundation Stage (EYFS. DfE, 2017).The EYFS aims are to ‘provide quality andconsistency… equality of opportunity, anti- discriminatory practices and ensurethat 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 welcomedaddition (Robertson & Hill, 2014). According toRobertson and Hill (20014) they are also terms used inversely within several differentpolitical situations. For example: equality has been used as equal to thebusiness agenda that advises much of the current early years procedures (Robertson & Hill, 2014).Children are now seen as measurable, and are graded too, this boostscompetition 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, canhave many different meanings or ideals from different people. Not alleducators, leaders, managers will foster the need for competition some willhave their own ideals which are also subjective and will contain their own lifeexperiences, morals, and interests; these ideals (Robertson & Hill, 2014).However, The Effective Provision of Pre-school Education Project (EPPE), wasthe first major longitude European study that focused on children’s developmentbetween the ages of three and seven (Sylva et al,. 2004). The EPPE report found that high quality provisionimproved children’s intellect and social/behaviours at the end of Year 1 andYear 2 regardless of families’ social backgrounds (Sylva et al,. 2004).
Sammons (2007) states that an effective institutionis usually defined as one where pupils progress further than is expected fromthe point of intake; in comparison to other school with the same context.However, there are arguably many different factors to consider whenestablishing how effective institutions are and whether they are of highquality (Sammons, 2007).