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Amanda Spielman at the Pre-school Learning Alliance annual conference

Ofsted 's Chief Inspector discussed the importance of the early years and developing a love of reading at the 2018 Pre-school Learning Alliance conference.

Thank you for making me so welcome! It's a real pleasure to be here today and to be speaking alongside Neil, Alastair and Guy. Today's agenda has a very important theme.


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House of Commons Health Committee. Childhood Obesity: Time for action. Eighth Report of Session 2017-19. 30th May 2018

Have a look at page 22. Point 62 - to claim it as an ‘ideal’ that EY should be properly funded to address this issue – is frankly insulting. Suggesting that we take a lead from Manchester simply because their scheme is ‘cost neutral’ and that everything can be changed by engaging with ‘digital growth charts’ as they require ‘no more time and no more effort’ -says it all really. Then it gets even more absurd on page 23 ‘Evidence based training should be made available...’ – well where is the funding going to come from for this – when ‘ideally’ the EY would cost nothing??!


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New research into the link between obesity and Cortisol

This paper is very clear on the stress-cortisol-obesity links, along with associated alterations in circadian rhythms. It is absolutely fascinating. The research may not be specifically associated with infants, but the principles outlined here will surely apply to infants under constant stress with raised cortisol levels during the day, with also their levels rising further towards the end of the day, whereas normal levels for children not under stress in the home will be falling at this time, we know that.


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The Case for Physical Education becoming a Core Subject in the National Curriculum

An interesting paper by Jo Harris – making a very clear case for PE to become a core subject – not just for health reasons – but because the learning opportunities inherent in this subject – across all developmental domains - are in danger of being overlooked and ignored. Although the focus here is on Primary and beyond – there is much here for our field to consider.


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Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (0-4 years)

This is an interesting development in the activity guidelines field. As our CMO/EY/PA guidelines continue to have minimal impact – perhaps this approach may work better?

Making them 24 hour guidelines is sensible – this enables parents and carers to be involved – and including sleep is a welcome addition.

Definitely worth serious consideration.


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Early Years Foundation Stage Profile Results 2017

Yet again the scores for moving and handling – health and self care – the two components of the PD domain – are ludicrously high – over 90% of children gained an ‘expected’ level.

How can this possibly be a true reflection of the current state of young children’s physical development, health and wellbeing?


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The Importance of the Right Technique When Children Brush their Teeth

There’s a refreshing piece of good news for parents in the UK: according to official government statistics, the number of five-year-olds with tooth decay dropped to an all-time low in almost 10 years! However, don’t start celebrating just yet - around 25% of these children do suffer from tooth decay, and as Dr. Sandra White, Director of Public Health at Public Health England notes, “one child with tooth decay is one too many and there is still much inequality in dental health around the country.” Cavities are painful and extraction can result in big problems, including the need for implantation and bone augmentation in some cases, in adulthood. To avoid these painful and pricey consequences, make sure your child uses the right technique when cleaning teeth and gums.


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New appg report on EY/PA has just been published

This new appg report on EY/PA has just been published. A comprehensive document that covers all the main issues – please read the recommendations if nothing else! Policy –makers now have a report that may inform their decisions regarding funding and provision for young children’s physical activity.