Sightlines Initiative

promoting creative and reflective practice in early childhood education


This Blog (or Diary) section has a broad mix of articles, reflections, comments, position pieces, as well as requests and information from Network members. It is becoming quite a comprehensive library. You can browse using the categories and search modules to the left.

Do contact us with your suggestions for new articles - and we really appreciate comments and other feedback.
Robin Duckett

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"Dear Justine Greening, PLEASE suspend primary testing in Yr2 and Yr6 for 2017 ..."

Our parents campaign colleagues are making this appeal to the Secretary of State for Education - do please support this campaign: it is an important step in the broad efforts to achieve an education fit for human imagination and enquiry.

"We believe that the DfE is damaging the mental health of children through its excessive testing and is devaluing education by promoting rote learning of age-inappropriate grammatical concepts.

If we do not suspend tests this year then we are setting our children up to fail by forcing them to be part of a system that does not consider them individuals, but instead data on a page to be analysed.

We are creating children who are stifled and demotivated due to continuous and unnecessary teaching to the test. We are setting schools up to fail and leaving them open to academisation ...

We want teachers, unions and mental health experts to be able to work together with the Government to create a curriculum that encourages our children to develop inquiring minds and a love of learning.

This takes time... We are very concerned that adequate time has not been taken in the current political climate to ensure another assessment 'car crash' does not take place in 2017."

Read their full statement and sign their petition HERE.

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More than a Score ...

Shortly before Christmas 2015, the Parliamentary Education Committee announced that they would address the question: 'What are the purposes and desirable qualities of education?'. Fantastic. We contributed, (see Diary article) and attended their conference. It has all now gone very quiet.

But not outside of Westminster. 

We were delighted to find that a coalition is emerging, and we are now members. It is called 'More Than a Score'  and its campaign is to re-enliven education. It too is addressing the question 'what are the purposes and desirable qualities of education': and it is a group of determined organisations and people. 

 At MTAS 2016 conference, author Tanya Landman posed the question "Are we in sinister territory? Do politicians actively want to switch children off from learning, from thinking for themselves?"

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Today - International Children's Day

Well, that caught me up short! Did you know? Google told me, no-one else.

So here is Wikipedia:

"Universal Children's Day takes place annually on 20 November.[8] First proclaimed by the United Kingdom in 1954, it was established to encourage all countries to institute a day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world's children."

Is this forgotten now in the UK? Is it buried in the same drawer where we will find the iconic phrase from the 1989 Children Act: 'The children's interests are paramount'?

Wikipedia continues:

"Universal Children's Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children's rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for Children."

Whatever the day, let's take the opportunity, delight and opportunity, not only promote society as fit for children but also a place where children's voice is heard: 

The image is from  the 'Planetary Messages' video of the children of Reggio, and they have something to say, as do all of ours - can we listen? Here it is: I know we've shared it before, but ...

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