Welsh education department must not cut corners when implementing Foundation Phase



Plaid Cymru Shadow Education Minister Simon Thomas has warned the Welsh Government not to cut back on funding for the Foundation Phase education policy.

He raised the issue during a debate on the evaluation report of the statutory curriculum for all 3 to 7 year olds in Wales where children learn through play.

The intention of the Foundation Phase is to encourage children to be creative, imaginative and aims to make learning more enjoyable and more effective.

The Foundation Phase for infant class pupils is having a positive impact says the review.

Concerns were raised that the core concept of learning through play does not prepare children adequately for annual exams later in education.

Mid and West AM Simon Thomas said:

“Plaid Cymru has always supported the Foundation Phase as part of the Welsh Government and in opposition since 2011. However we wanted to see whether it had a positive impact on a child’s education.

“We therefore welcome the findings of the evaluation report that it significantly improves children’s attainment when well-implemented.

“It is crucial that the Welsh Government does not cut corners in its implementation of the Foundation Phase. The evaluation report shows if we are to reap the social and economic benefits of investing in early years’ education the Foundation Phase has to be properly funded and well-implemented.

“The full implementation of the Foundation Phase is very expensive. Capital investment is needed to improve school buildings; high adult to child ratios need to be in place; and investment is needed in teachers’ Continuous Professional Development.

“The report finds no evidence that the Foundation Phase has yet had an impact on raising the attainment of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. This is disappointing. The Party of Wales will be demanding answers from the Welsh Government why this is the case.”

“It is also important all primary school head-teachers and Foundation Phase practitioners receive training and guidance on implementation and how the Foundation Phase works with other Welsh Government policies such as the Literacy and Numeracy Framework.”